I have been writing and publishing books on child sexual abuse since 1999. With so much police and media attention being paid to the subject, in December 2016 it would be easy to assume the topic is now being dealt with. This is over optimistic. Family, institutional, and political structures, in terms of power and ideology, all have a vested interested in keeping the subject unaddressed.
The title of the most comprehensive biography of Jimmy Savile, In Plain Sight by Dan Davies, makes it clear. Paradoxically, just because people are aware of an issue, it does not mean it is being faced. Savile made sure his behaviour was known, to a degree, so people were complicit. Some tried to say later they didn’t know; many admitted they did but claimed their hands were tied. Papers were continually threatened by Savile’s lawyers. The Football Association was aware of their situation in this regard 14 years ago.
The media has always been full of salacious material, with transgressions packaged as entertainment. Now tales of child sexual abuse are becoming a form of entertainment. Whether real or imagined, the top news items contain these stories, often with explicit detail proferred. Do editors believe the public have a desire to know the details, or do they believe it is their duty to spell things out?
The police have recently been clear in high profile cases: let us do our job, this is not a witchhunt. But the police have been under investigation as well. Former lead singer of the Welsh band Lost Prophets, Ian Watkins, was convicted of extreme levels of child sexual abuse. This was reported 5 years before action was taken. Officers in forces in Wales, Yorkshire, and Bedfordshire are being investigated for collusion.
The independent inquiry has struggled, perhaps because there are so many cases, and no one person has stayed in charge long enough. Some still think this is all a distraction led by fantasists. That argument has been a mantra for a long time. To face the facts plus cease spreading rumours of a conspiracy in either direction has to now be the aim.
On the police and Ian Watkins
On child abuse and ideology