Jimmy Saville – the price of staying silent

Jimmy Saville

Untouchable ?

Oh my god, it’s all over the TV and radio – that image of the man with the mad hair, the big glasses and the ever present giant cigar.

Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, OBE, KCSG was an English disc jockey, television presenter and media personality who passed away at the age of 84- this is how he is described on Wikipedia.

No doubt the description and the extra information that is generated about him on that site will expand and change quite substantially as the next few months unravel.

The investigations into the case will continue and no doubt the level of revelations will increase exponentially. This is a truly shocking case and it seems unbelievable that so many victims and witnesses stayed silent allowing this behaviour to continue over and over, drawing more and more innocent victims into his net.

Now that “Jim Will Fix It” is dead many victims and witnesses are prepared to divulge the most sordid of information about him.

Why could people not have opened their mouths earlier is an obvious question to ask? How many victims would have been saved from the most horrible, sordid, predatory experiences if this was the case?

The truth is people are and were frightened – would they be believed, would they be supported, would they be crushed for “speaking out” without sufficient proof, would they find themselves in trouble, would it be better to just stay silent? Even better .. I don’t want to get involved!

Some of the “silent many” were innocent and vulnerable victims. Others were senior media figures, his friends and his peers who lived through this period and in many cases according to reports actually witnessed some of the incidents.

Many innocent people paid a huge price for this silence in the case of Jimmy Saville. We are seeing so many other instances of people paying a huge price for silence in some many other areas. We help them to get away with their behaviour, we help them to be untouchable. The vulnerable must feel safe enough to talk and everyone else who knows better must be compelled to.

We need to look carefully at our legal systems, our values, our structures and figure out who we are really protecting ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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6 Responses to “Jimmy Saville – the price of staying silent”

  1. David Says:

    I think the fact that it mostly happened in a period where this was unspoken of and the fact that if it were to be spoken of parents wouldn’t possibly believe it due to the shame on the family, much like the Catholic Church situation perhaps.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      The Church is a great example and even the whole saga about Lance Armstrong could be another one. Everyone knows what is going on but no one says anything ..incredible!

  2. Jim Says:

    We find the very same in business, think of Anglo, Lehman and other banks over the years, and what about the increasing abuse of the elderly in care homes. This is supposed to be dealt with by Whistleblowing policies and the law protecting those who see wrongdoing and encouraging disclosure.
    But what happens, the one that comes forward is alienated, shunned or even sacked.

  3. Joan Twomey Says:

    Industrial Schools, Magdalene Laundries, Mental Hospitals, Church owned/run facilities, Dr. ‘Blood’ Neary, Symphysiotomies, St. Patrick’s Institute for Young Offenders… the list goes on and on…and the list of people who worked, visited, saw all of these crimes/injustices taking place and doing nothing goes on and on…

    • Greg Canty Says:

      You are right Joan – we have systems, legalities, social norms, lack of confidence, lack or responsibility that leads so many to making lousy decisions that allows bad people get away with what they are doing. I would add business to your list as well!

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