Towards the end of October last year, I blogged about the death of Sir Jimmy Savile, TV celebrity and disc jokey. He was someone who seemed to be universally loved and admired. In his life, he had raised over £40 million pounds for charity, and it is for this work that he received his knighthood. He was friends to Royalty, to the Prime Ministers over the last several decades. He moved in very high circle.
Fast forward a year. In a documentary aired on ITV in early October, it was alleged that Jimmy Savile had a darker side to his nature. It was alleged that he had molested a number of women and girls, many of them under the age of sexual consent (16). Since that documentary has aired, the number of fresh allegations coming to light has been hard to keep up with.
Disabled children, including boys, have come forward in adulthood to allege that they too were molested by Jimmy Savile many years ago, but they had never said anything. Or, more disturbingly, they had said something, but their complaints were not believed because Jimmy Savile was held by all to be such a good man.
The Police have been pursuing over 300 lines of enquiry, and have even gone so far as to state that “Jimmy Savile was was a serial sex abuser of teenage girls“.
Although the number of people who claim to have been abused by Savile in one way or another leaves one in little doubt that there must be truth to the allegations, they are still under investigation by the Police. In addition, two independent investigations initiated by the BBC will look into how his molestations at the BBC never came to light earlier, given that there were apparently numerous rumours of them.
As I am no legal expert, I will refrain from saying too much until more is officially known, in case I get into some legal trouble.
So, instead, I thought I would talk about something about which I know next to nothing, psychology. Talking about things about which I know next to nothing is not new to me, in fact some would say I make a habit of it.
Quite early on in this unfolding drama, it occurred to me that maybe Savile’s commitment to fundraising for charity was done as a means of balancing the wrong he felt he was doing in molesting young girls (and some boys). Maybe I think this because I cannot imagine someone doing that and not feeling they were doing wrong. But, maybe I am deluding myself; maybe for some people who commit such horrendous acts, they feel no guilt as they see nothing wrong in what they are doing.
I wonder how much research has been done on the psychological make-up of people like Savile, who clearly do a lot of good in their lives (raising over £40 million pounds for charity is admirable), but who have a much darker side. Was Savile a slave to his darker side, something he found he was not able to control? Did his charity work come about in a desire to make him feel better about himself as he felt ashamed of his compulsion to molest young girls?
This, to me, is fascinating.
An hour or so after posting this blog, it was reported on the news that the 1970s pop star Gary Glitter had been arrested for questioning by the Police on suspicion of sex offences as part of the ongoing investigations into Jimmy Savile. Gary Glitter has a history of sex offences, having being found guilty of having thousands of images of child pornography on his computer in 1999, and in 2006 he was imprisoned in Vietnam for having sex with under-age girls.