My dad once asked me why I write a blog. “Who will read it?” he asked. Not in a way intended to hurt my feelings, but because he was genuinely interested in why I spill out the workings of my brain online where anyone could find it and judge me for it. I’ll tell you guys the same thing I told him.
I tried to keep a journal for a while. I think everyone did. But it just didn’t work for me. With a journal it’s very personal and very private and you want to hide it from people. One of my worst nightmares was someone finding it and reading it and judging me for it. I didn’t like feeling that I needed to hide part of myself away in a little book, so I stopped writing. When I stopped writing, all the thoughts and feelings I had started to bubble up inside me and I couldn’t quite find a healthy way to vent what was going on in my head. So I started blogging. This isn’t my first blog, but it’s the first one I’ve felt comfortable sharing with people. Anything I say on this blog is 100% uncensored me. It’s what I’ve experienced, it’s my genuine opinions on things and it’s nothing I wouldn’t say to someone I knew in conversation if it were appropriate. So I’m not hiding a part of myself, but at the same time I’m getting these thoughts in my head into some coherence. So, that being said, on with your regularly scheduled blog post.
What I’m about to say and talk about is a very difficult thing for me. So that’s just a head’s up that it may be a difficult thing to read.
The Jimmy Savile case is one that impacted me possibly more than it has done the general populace. That’s because when I was around 6 or 7 years old I was a victim of sexual abuse. I don’t know if I was the only victim of my abuser, but he is now married and has had two of his own children. I rarely, if ever, see him anymore. Which makes my life slightly easier. But I know that he remembers, because I see it in his face whenever I do have the misfortune of seeing him.
In my situation there is no proof, there’s no evidence, and if I’d even tried to take it to court it would probably have killed me. Because our country’s treatment of sexual abuse victims is disgusting. For some reason, we always seem to side with the abuser. Sorry, to be entirely correct I should say ‘alleged abuser’. “But Becca,” I hear you say, “in our country we operate an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ system.” You’re correct, we do. But do you want to explain to me how we go about proving sexual abuse. If it’s rape, and it’s reported immediately, of course there is DNA evidence and a full body examination. If it’s any form of other sexual abuse (which I’m not comfortable going into more detail on that one) or a rape that isn’t reported immediately, then it becomes very difficult/impossible to get solid evidence to convict someone. Now I’m well aware that there are people who try and accuse someone of rape or sexual abuse when in actual fact that’s not the case. And it’s a very difficult subject and there obviously needs to be some kind of process to try and determine the actual victims from the fraudsters.
However, our society still has a very disgusting opinion on sexual abuse and rape victims. In many cases suggesting that the victim could have done something to stop the abuse happening. How? I’m genuinely interested in how somebody who thinks like that justifies their opinion. I was a child in a school uniform. How could I have stopped my abuser? I also didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t understand how inappropriate it was. I just knew that when I was told to not tell my mummy or daddy or I’d be in a lot of trouble, and when it was coming from someone I viewed as an authority figure and the look in his eye when he said that was enough for me to keep quiet. And keep quiet for thirteen years.
In the Jimmy Savile case, people are constantly hitting out with the line “Why now? After he’s gone, what can be done?” Well, why now? Possibly because they finally feel safe enough to say something. A man with the power Savile had could easily have destroyed someone. And what can be done? Those people can get answers, and can get counselling to help them try and come to terms with this trauma. And maybe, just maybe, it starts to wake the world up slightly. For every report of rape or sexual abuse to be followed up on, regardless of who is being accused. For appropriate punishments to be given to those found guilty. For the abusers to not be let out of prison early on ‘good behaviour’. For victim blaming to end.
A police officer discussing the Savile case today said “The victim is always under scrutiny about what they may have done to cause it, when you wouldn’t ask someone who was robbed if they left their front door wide open.” And I’m so glad it was a male police officer who said that.
I wish I could say more, but I can’t right now. Maybe some time in the coming months when I’m finally able to say something I’ll post a “Part 2” to this. Maybe not though.
However, I’ll end on this:
You are not entitled to sex. People are not required to provide you with sex, and in no way is it ever acceptable to take it by force.