Rolf Harris' family - Why so loyal?

(29 Posts)
Migsy1 Tue 01-Jul-14 12:03:46

I have been intrigued by the apparent loyalty of his family. This is in the Mail www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2675261/How-abuse-claims-tore-apart-Rolf-Harris-daughter.html
Why would his wife stand by him after all he has done? His daughter seemed to be completely dependent on him.
Totally weird. How is it that people can have public persona for decades which totally contrasts with real life?

Maleducada Tue 01-Jul-14 12:09:49

God, I read that email she sent him. He kept her dangling a bit. She was trying to secure a roof over her head (her father a millionaire) and it sounds like she had to ask in the right way, not spend on things he didn't approve, she felt guilty buying clothes (she mentions guilt about buy a few tops).

Good grief. Financial dependence is a big part of abusive relationships.

NigellasDealer Tue 01-Jul-14 12:10:49

financially dependant yes .
and if /when she inherits it will be like 'winning the lottery' (quote)

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 12:12:40

Well that's two issues you're asking about. The answer to the first is that being an abuser does not necssarily kill people's love for you. Additionally dependance on somebody is not rational and you may argue the worse that person is, the harder it is to be independant of them.

Secondly - many, many public figures have private lives at odds with their public face.

Migsy1 Tue 01-Jul-14 13:20:46

I just cannot imagine asking my parents about what they will leave to me. I guess it might have been something that was held over her. What a very odd family environment (to me anyway) and yes, it does seem as if she has been controlled.

The thing about leading a double life though - amazing that "word" doesn't get round.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Jul-14 10:06:34

It's not weird at all. We all apply subjective morality and we all have different tolerances. If no-one ever stood by a criminal there would be no need for a visitors' room in a prison.

Migsy1 Thu 03-Jul-14 12:00:18

Well, yes, Cogito. That is very true! Personally, I couldn't bear it and I would want to be as far away from the man as possible but perhaps she sees some good in him and clings to that.

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 03-Jul-14 12:02:19

Word it however you want. It's greed.

HecatePropylaea Thu 03-Jul-14 12:26:36

abusers are very manipulative. If they weren't, do you think people would stay in abusive relationships? Why do they do that? Because of fear but also because they are manipulated and the abuser gets inside their head and makes them completely doubt themselves. Makes them feel there is no other possible life for them. Makes them believe the abuser's version of reality.

You often have children who have a controlling or abusive parent still loving the parent. The need in a child to love the parent can be so strong. Abusive people can use that to really mess up a child. I am not saying he physically abused his daughter, of course I don't know that and I don't mean to imply it, I simply mean the mentality of an abuser and the way they relate to, manipulate and control their family members. They create a different reality for inside the family that the family members come to accept and believe.

Then you possibly have denial. If he is actually this person, if he has actually done all this - what does this say about you? Refusal to accept the reality of it can be about self protection. Your whole life is not a lie. The person you thought you knew is not a lie.

Then there's financial dependence, feeling like you can't make it without their help (which is an attitude that they carefully grow in you). They may make lots of promises to you, the aim of which is to keep you in line, but you may also hold on to those promises as evidence that they do actually love you. I mean, money and inheritance are so often tied up with and confused with love. You see it even on here in threads where people are unhappy about inheritance and it always comes down to feeling like it is directly related to how much they are loved.

It is all so horribly complex and so long term, it's not something that happens overnight. I mean, his wife - he married her quickly then took her away from everyone she knew, then took off for much of the time, leaving her in an unfamiliar place, with no other form of support apart from him, away from everyone she knew. Making her cling to him, rely on him, even be grateful to him for being there, crazy as that sounds - when you have nobody else, you can become so dependent on the person who put you in that situation!! That's where programming someone starts. By the time he brought her back, he had created a person that depended on him and clung to him. Then the daughter, you take a brand new person and you mould them into what you want them to be, if you are that sort of person. The life you grow up with is what you think is normal and it can take a lot for you to step back from that and really understand it differently.

I don't see his wife and child as colluding, or accepting or whatever so much as I see them as his victims also.

dollius Thu 03-Jul-14 12:28:29

She's not going to inherit anything. The victims will sue and his millions will vanish overnight.

plinkyplonker Thu 03-Jul-14 12:34:21

I read that the daughter wasn't travelling the whole way into court with them everyday - she was picked up just round the corner from the court so they could be seen to be arriving together Whether that is for keeping up appearances or due to where she was travelling in from, who knows.

OpiesOldLady Thu 03-Jul-14 12:35:02

Excellent post there, Hec.

It's all well and good saying 'LTB' but when you're immersed in the situation, when it's all you've ever known, that can be almost impossible to do.

sanfairyanne Thu 03-Jul-14 12:50:18

i always wonder about people who walk away from their family members when they have committed crimes, even really horrible ones.

would we abandon our children if they did something terrible? is it a sign of moral strength or weakness to do so?

'love the sinner, hate the sin' always seems a useful maxim to me

Migsy1 Thu 03-Jul-14 13:19:42

Really interesting post, Hecate. What you say about abused people being dependent on their abusers can be taken to the extreme when you think about kidnapped people forming a bond with their kidnappers. I have noticed that in a few high profile kidnap cases over the years. Even in the case of the woman who was kept in a wheelie bin and fed KitKats for weeks by the Yorkshire man with the wooden leg (Michael Sams), the woman formed a bond with him.

Migsy1 Thu 03-Jul-14 13:21:07

love the sinner, hate the sin Yes.

flightdove Thu 03-Jul-14 20:54:25

Maybe they were all in on it

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 03-Jul-14 21:18:38

Perhaps they knew, perhaps they tried to keep him away from vulnerable young girls.

You don't stop loving someone and needing someone quite that simply. Especially as the life long damage abuse did to victims was not understood.

There wasn't easy no fault divorce, no wife would have said my DH abuses young girls in open court. Not simply because of their shame, but because they would want to protect the victims. Imagine the whispers round a small village or school.

Abuse was hushed up in 1000's of households. It feels very wrong now, but it didn't to people then.

You can't undo, a lifetime of secrets. Especially when they are mixed up with love, respect and duty.

I really hope that they are not punished for what he did. I think that they have been conditioned by him over the years.

lowcarbforthewin Fri 04-Jul-14 14:59:20

There must also be a degree of humiliation that people are talking about her father in a bad light, and maybe she has convinced herself he is innocent. By making a show of support and telling herself he is innocent and has been unfairly treated, it might be less painful in terms of accepting judgment from people she knows. They are then in the wrong.

Who knows. I'm sure it's an utterly toxic relationship and he has a lot of control over her. She is clearly desperate for his money too, if only because maybe she considers it her compensation too, for having such a shit father.

Both thoughts are utter speculation.

LeBearPolar Fri 04-Jul-14 15:05:34

It might be as simple as that they believe he's innocent. A guilty verdict won't necessarily change that. Look at all the families that support their loved ones, including helping them to appeal verdicts (Ched Evans' girlfriend being a case in point).

SwiftRelease Fri 04-Jul-14 15:06:43

Why does his family support him? Because he isn't "evil", he is bad, good and human and was a secret abuser, as modt are. He may well have been a supportive, exemplary father and an abuser. A great husband and an abuser, a great friend and an abuser. This is why abuse is so hard to track/prove/prosecute.

Though he probably wasn't particularly great in the anove roles judging from those mails as he sounds like he has some v controlling behaviour.

Family dynamics, toxic patterns handed down all serve to enmesh us. Poor daughter. And wife. I feel some compassion for them.

SwiftRelease Fri 04-Jul-14 15:08:25

And of course guilt on their part even subconsciously at perhaps tacitly enabling him in some way. By turning a blind eye for one.

mrsbrownsgirls Fri 04-Jul-14 16:54:35

what swift said. no one is all bad . he had more redeeming features than most people. The abuse doesn't wipe all that away

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 05-Jul-14 00:22:58

Exactly, swiftbelief people aren't simply their bad parts.

They can be loving Fathers, scholars, good husbands and pillars of their local community.

I've known two certain pedophiles one who was tried and convicted and one who took his secret to the grave, because his victim was his DDs best friend. Neither would you have suspected.

differentnameforthis Sat 05-Jul-14 01:45:53

Word it however you want. It's greed.

And those who stand by people who aren't rich?

A friend was abused by her father, her mother stood by him & waited for him to finish his prison term, at the cost of her children being removed.

They barely had pennies to rub together. The abuse & control were so ingrained, that she (the mother) felt she could not survive without him.

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