Friday, 19 October 2012

Jimmy Savile is Dead

Before I begin, just to clarify, I think it's right that this story is out in the media. If, and I believe there was, a systematic coverup, then it needs to be exposed, brought to light, lessons learnt, convictions if necessary.  Victims overcomers need to have their voices heard whatever the case, and I know that the story was due to break before Jimmy Savile died. This piece is personal reflection not a political statement.


When it first broke, that Jimmy Savile story, I quivered. I knew what was to come. An opening of the floodgates. And it happened. Story after terrible story, being told by adults, who inside are still children, terrified of a man now dead. You see, when you think about the things you have kept locked away, your not a rationale grown up. In that moment you are back where you were, a vulnerable, frightened child. Jimmy Savile is dead.

And the media,  the armchair commentators speculating about why it took so long, why these people chose now to speak up, why they didn’t say no, why wasn’t something done. And the answer is complex, but it’s simple too. Jimmy Savile is dead.

So many of these stories are written and spoken by people who weren’t around in the 1970s. It’s easy to dismiss things like CRB checks and safeguarding protocols as politically correct nonsense. We take it for granted. Now, there are systems in place that protect children. Do they fail? Yes of course they do, we only have to see recent news coverage to tell us that. But they are there, and they do, by and large, work.

Let me tell you what the 1970s was like. I heard my first talk on stranger danger at primary school, at the age of 5 in 1977. But no one told me. No one told me that you were far more likely to be a victim of a family member, a family friend, someone known to you. And when you did realise that those advances, those touches, the things he did to you and asked you to do weren’t right, you realised he had created a world where you just would not be believed. And he made you believe it was all your fault, not his.

Clever abusers don’t just grab a child off the street and molest them. No clever abusers work systematically. They isolate their victim, build a world where the child becomes convinced that no one will believe them. They blur the lines between right and wrong. And that is the true twisted genius. If a hug is ok, then a touch on the bottom is too, yes? If a kiss is ok, a kiss below the waist isn’t so bad is it? That is how they work. Their perverted logic. 

People, and specifically men, who abuse children are not just evil. They are also master manipulators. They build themselves up as the friendly neighbour who will watch your children, fix your car, build that tricky slide or trampoline you have just had delivered. They will, very quietly, threaten your children. “You can tell your mum, but she won’t believe you”. “If you tell your parents, I will hurt your sister”. They cleverly construct an outside world that hides what lies within.

Add to that mix a culture, that like it or not, existed in the 1970s, that adults are believed over children, and you have a recipe for a huge cover up, a scandal, that will take years to deconstruct. People will speculate, wonder how it could be allowed to happen. People like Savile manipulate all those around them, not just children. They use their power, prestige, and paying power to keep their minions quiet. And to them, everyone that is not them, is a minion. 

I have struggled to know what to share, how to share it. I can’t stay silent anymore. These people who have bravely gone to the police and the papers are showing us the way. They way to break the silence. For by staying silent, we allow these perpertrators to win. 

My instinct is to share it all. To tell you just what that man, thousands of miles away from Jimmy Savile, with none of his money or influence, did to me. But it’s too private, too poignant and too disturbing. Sometimes it all feels like a nightmare. 

These brave people  are people like me. Sat with their heads in their hands, memories coming back, tears flowing, anger rising, that old fear and shame cloaking us once more. We are not victims anymore. We are not little children lying in hospital beds, or television studios so happy to be chosen to be on telly or playing in the neighbour’s hen house. We are survivors. We are overcomers. For Jimmy Savile is dead. And we are not. 

To all those who have come forward, I thank you. For now we can talk about it. We can break our silence. We can inform law makers, and the media and most of all our families, our children. We can break the cycle. 

Jimmy Savile is dead. 

And he can’t hurt us anymore

This post is only possible through the love and support of four special Twitter friends

And a big thank you to to Nickie at Typecast.

 If you have been affected by this post and need support NAPAC are there to help as are Victim Support 

For a very sensible, balanced article that gave me the impetus to write this piece, please read The Guardian article.  

This piece by Suzanne Moore is what I wished I had written, please read this and share. 


90 comments:

  1. Once again your honesty is amazing Kylie. I'm lost for something to say... Huge, huge hugs xxx

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  2. Hugs from us. Very brave and honest x

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  3. Kylie, you are amazing and brave and this piece has had me in tears. I love that you scrub the word victim and put survivor. You are an absolute inspiration. X

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  4. Kylie- you are a brave and beautiful soul. Do not let your past define you. <3 and hugs
    Atyourcervix78

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  5. Very brave Kylie, you inspire me with every blog. sending you a hug, thank u for this blog xxx

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  6. Donna O'Donoghue19 October 2012 at 08:58

    You are a wonderful woman, i don't know you personally but i follow your blog and other posts you seem blessed to know empathy and have the ability to express it so greatly on a number of different subject matters. It saddens me to learn of your past but you are strong now and you truly are a survivor. Kylie Hodges an inspiration!

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story and being that brave - I can only imagine how much courage that took. I hope that your honesty gives other people the courage to come forward and share too. x

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  8. What a wonderful and brave post x

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  9. This post really helped me. I've tried before to explain just why I never said a thing about my childhood and could never find the words but you just summed it all up in one post. My step-dad is dead and has been for 14 years but that fear stays with you along with the doubt of never being believed. I'm sure your post will help many x

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  10. Brilliant post Kylie, and incredibly brave xx

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  11. This is the most powerful post I've read in ages. Kylie, so many people will thank you for having the courage to post this. It can't have been easy. You've done absolutely the right thing. xx

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Kylie. I am very thankful to not have personal experience of this, but I have friends who have and I can see what it does. You are an astoundingly brave woman. T xxx

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  13. That must have been a difficult post to write and yet you've done it brilliantly. Thank you for sharing, and I hope it might have helped you in some way. x

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  14. Oh my Kylie. I am so sorry to read this. It's just not fair. I don't really know what to say, having never been through anything like this myself I can't seem to find the words. Just know that I am here if you need me x

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  15. Well done for writing this Kylie. I can only imagine the amount of courage it took. Abuse is about power. The physical aspect is such a minor component in comparison to the power they hold over your emotions. The way they can make you feel you are to blame. The way they can make you feel about yourself. Abusers do not wear badges or tshirts, they can often appear charming. Of course they can - they are master manipulators. They manipulate you and everything and everyone around them. It is hard to read these stories in the papers when it means so much more than words to you. But the spell can be broken by speaking out as you have said. When your words are out there with those of others you can see the common thread in the story is not you but the abuser - meaning it was never about you and always about the sick, twisted abuser.
    It is possible to move on. To break the spell. Nothing needs to be the way it's always been. Saville may be dead but that is another spell that is broken.

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  16. Well done on writing such a brave post. It must have been difficult to write, but hope it helped get it out there and help others. Hugs xx

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  17. I think you've put this brilliantly. I wonder if schools do now tell children that it's more likely to be someone that you know and your family trusts?

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  18. I'm sorry, my dear one, and well done. Proud of you.

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  19. Dawn, dear Dawn, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this. Abuse is about power, its so true, Having the Savile story out there, as painful and as hard as it is, has made it easier to talk about. I just hope now that perhaps we can all make this about us as survivors and get proper support in place for us all.

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  20. Thank you so much, what you have said is just enough, to know you are here if I need you x x

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  21. It really has helped, I feel so much lighter in my heart. Thank you so much for commenting. I have never sent a post to people before writing, but this time I did and I really struggled with it. But so glad it is done.

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  22. Oh darling girl, it's at times like this that horrific memories resurface, it all comes back. This is an amazing post, so brave. Dawn is right, abuse is a power thing. Luckily when something happened to me I told my parents and they believed me and he was put behind bars. I am stunned that so many people covered up for Saville. Be kind to yourself. Much love, Sx

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  23. Oh my Kylie, you brave lady. You really are. I am here if you need me, you know that x

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  24. Kylie you are so brave, I'm so sorry to read this but i know this will help so many other xx

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  25. So brave of you to write this post. Well done for publishing it too. And no need to thank me - this was all your own work. I hope more people shout loud and proud and don't leave it until it's too late.

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  26. no word other than power, you have taken your power back and long may others do the same x

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  27. Brave post, well written as always and terribly sad. Thinking of you xxx

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  28. I don't comment on as many posts as I should but I couldn't leave without saying something. Good for you in having the courage to speak up, being abused is not our shame, it's theirs.

    "To all those who have come forward, I thank you. For now we
    can talk about it." I love this.

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  29. This is such a brave and important post, Kylie. I'm glad you felt that you can share this with us all. I hope lots of women feel inspired by this and notice that it is alright to speak up, no matter what other people say. Big virtual hug xxx

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  30. This is a beautiful post, and I thank you for posting it. I, too, have long-held secrets that will remain secrets. But if I had the strength that these women have had, I would be proud.

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  31. So sorry this has all been dragged up for you again. Much love.

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  32. Big love to you. Stand tall, you are amazing.

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  33. A very brave and courageous post Kylie. It is both tragic and astounding the sheery number of people with stories to tell. It is very powerful "Saville is dead and we are not"-let's hope people sharing and winning a battle they should never have had to fight will ensure fewer of our children ever experience this. x

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  34. Kylie what a brave but important post. Thank you for writing it even though it must have been the hardest thing in the world to do xx

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  35. Sometimes there are no words and then sometimes there is a blog like this! *hugs* you have amazing strength to write a post with such clarity xx

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  36. A beautiful, well-written and brave post. Well done, Kylie for having the strength to write this. I hope that your bravery will inspire others who have been silent for a long time to come forward. If nothing else, let something positive come from the terrible legacy that Jimmy Saville has left.

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  37. A very well-written and brave post. Well done, Kylie, for having the strength to write this. I hope that your bravery will inspire others who have been silent for a long time to come forward. If nothing else, let something positive come from the terrible legacy that Jimmy Saville has left.

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  38. Donna@MummyCentral19 October 2012 at 23:30

    I think people forget, when they look at grown women now, that these were children. Helpless and frightened. Feeling powerless and without a voice. I cannot begin to say anything that will seem enough. Except to send you my love xxx

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  39. Kylie: thank you so much for sharing. I am hoping more talk means parents/schools communities are more open to sexual abuse prevention education (SAPE) for our kids. So what happened to you won't happen to the next generation. I have written a children's book entitled Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept. I think you will really identify with it. See : www.somesecrets.info There is a Youtube clip of the book and a free body safety song for kids as young as 3. Also free body safety tips for parents. Please share far and wide. We SO need to teach SAPE to our kids No more silence!

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  40. Kylie, thank you - sharing your story must have been so hard but it is so empowering for others who have been/are in the same situation. It's a really thought-provoking piece - hugs xxx

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  41. Kylie,
    I am so sorry to hear you story, there is no words that are enough!

    Nobody should have experiences like this, my thoughts and prayers to you and others that are coping with their own experience.


    You are such a inspiration to so many, I am in awe of your strength and power!


    Sending you all my love x

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  42. Kylie, huge hugs. Thanks for sharing this. You are very brave. Don't really know what to say but this post will certainly help others x

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  43. I personally know how brave you are to write this post...I dont have that much courage to write about an abusive situation that happened to me. I know why people take so long. Very powerful piece xxx

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  44. Kylie, I dont have any words for this, I can not imagine how hard this is for you. So just sending a big virtual hug and a well done for speaking up xxxx

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  45. hey there,
    i understand how tough this was for you to write, and have much respect and love for you, even though we have only very very recently connected online. This whole Jimmy Savile thing has resonated with so many people, aside from the victims, because anyone who has experienced abuse, or something happening to them they did not want, can appreciate and understand the issues, perhaps differently to those who have not. As I wrote about on my blog at the beginning of the week, I have been shocked at the huge amount of vitriol towards those who speak out, because as I discussed with work friends the other day, people who have not had the experience cant always comprehend what it is like. Its easy to say 'they should have spoken sooner' but as I wrote in my 'imagine' part of the blog on my site, its so simple is it?
    Anyway, lots of of love to you and well done on taking the brave step of speaking out too. Those of us who have/are able to have a voice speak on behalf of those who dont x

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  46. Thank you for writing this. I cried reading it. I don't have your eloquence so I resort to art to express myself. http://leedsplaylist.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/listen-to-your-art-2-tongue-tied-at-lightnightleeds/ There are hundreds of thousands of us who were not believed.

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  47. Bless you and your family. This post shows that you are a SURVIVOR! Thank you for sharing your story. Moving and brave.

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  48. I have no good words to say but sending you a big hug xx

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  49. Love you Kylie and very proud xx

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  50. Very brave post lovely, and very wise to know that you are stronger than a 'victim' and are not going to let someone from your past ruin your future. TBH I've always wondered what held you back a little, I do hope that you will blossom and heal even more now that you have shared this, because you are beautiful inside and out.

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  51. I think you are very brave for speaking out and I hope that it aids your recovery process which I can only think must be a life long struggle.

    I think the isolation must in many respects be worse than the abuse. To think you are alone and no one will believe you must be the most horrendous thing in the world.

    I already tell my 5 year old that he can tell me anything and I won't be cross. Anything at all. I sincerely hope he will never be in that situation but the idea of either of my children suffering without being able to tell me breaks my heart several times over. I will tell my 2 year old too when she's older.

    Big love. X

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  52. What a courageous woman you are. So very brave and I will end by sending you a huuuuuge (hug) xx

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  53. I keep coming back to this post, Kylie. I must have read it five or six times now and am finally leaving a comment. Just wanted to say a big wow. I am so proud of you, because I know it must have been really scary to hit publish, but you've managed to write about something very difficult for with such dignity, honesty and eloquence. There so much truth in everything you say here - I hope it provides some food for thought for those who have been quick to judge. You will have helped so many fellow overcomers by writing it, and I hope that you feel some weight has lifted off your own shoulders too. Every time one person speaks out, it makes it a little easier for the next person to do the same. Well done for showing such strength and taking a big brave step - Joseph is lucky to have such an awesome Mama :) xx

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  54. You are so brave, and I am glad you have crossed out the word victim and educated me on that. I hope the survivors get the support that they need. xx

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  55. Incredibly brave and incredibly moving. These stories that live inside us hidden are not just there through fear, but as people ask why it took so long for people to come out SURVIVORS also know that part of the secrecy is about protection, not wanting to hurt the people who should have protected you, who never saw it coming. Much remains hidden because of this. Certainly for me. Bless you for your bravery. I'll live it vicariously.

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  56. Wow Kylie, I'll be praying for your healing and for all those affected everywhere. Thanks so much for your honesty. Mich x

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  57. Thank you for being so brave, thank you for educating me and thank you for leading the way for so many others

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  58. Rest assured Kylie that your brave post did a huge amount to help me write my views on child abuse and to get the BritMums post up too. I thank you.

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  59. Kylie you are such an amazingly strong woman. Thankyou for sharing this xxxx

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  77. I found this through the Swan finalist page, such a powerful post, and you are a very brave woman. Must have been a very hard one to write. Well done for speaking out and hugs. x

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  79. I'm sorry I hadn't read this before Kylie. A powerful and very important post. I had an encounter in the 80s with an ill intetioned piano teacher, and no, noone believed children back then. Thank you x

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  81. wow honey! this is very brave of you to put it all out!
    And you are right! Take back your life!

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  82. “...just what that man...did to me. But it’s too private, too poignant and too
    disturbing.”



    This was so eloquently put, because somewhere - no matter how much you share or find the words - there is a part that cannot be communicated. A bit like family dynamics or a marriage.


    A beautifully courageous post, Kylie.


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  83. You do right to share this , brave you are. X

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  84. Kylie, what a brave and strong woman you are. And such an honest and empowering post. It seems you are an inspiration to many.
    Lots and lots of love to you xxx

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  85. I really don't know what to say, but you are so brave, so strong *hugs*

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  86. Very well written and bravely done so too. I should know. I can't write about mine. Maybe one day...

    Even just today earlier prior to reading this I was messaging with an online twitter pal who has also been victim to similar and talking of how I still can't deal and its effected my whole life. I am now 31. It happened when I was just 9. That's about all I feel I can say so publicly.

    Maybe if he was dead.

    Anyhow this online friend talked about counselling but the thought of it going on my GP file... I just couldn't. I went to one counselling privately paid for session but realised I couldn't afford it so that was that. Up where I am there's not really any resources that I have ever found. Even your links. The first there's none and the second doesn't have Scotland. Such is the way of things I guess.

    Found you via urbanvox post on your photoshops. Bloody WELL DONE for that!! You are brave and you are stronger for that shoot I bet.

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  87. I was sexually assaulted by my uncle when I was 7 or 8 and I had forgotten. I remembered again when my own daughter was the same age but then I forgot again. Now that My mother and grandmother are dead I have remembered again, properly and this time I have not forgotten. I am struggling with the concept that I forgot. How could I forget? I know why I didn't tell, that part is easy, but to forget? The forgetting baffles me.

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  88. This is selective memory and a great person to contact is Paula from Best Life for Children because that is exactly what happened to her. Her FB page is: https://www.facebook.com/BestLifeChildren?fref=ts All the very best and I am so sorry this happened to you. Jayneen Sanders www.somesecrets.info

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