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to think this video may show that Esther Rantzen KNEW Jimmy Saville was abusing children...

(169 Posts)
spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 22:22:38

... And to think that if she did, ChildLine need to say publicly how awful that is...

Esther Rantzen was interviewed on Sky a couple of days ago, about the documentary which alleged Saville was a predatory abuser. I've just come across a video of the interview (click here) , and I'm really shocked by how she appears to duck the question "When did YOU know?"

It does seem that a lot of people knew about Saville, or had their suspicions, years ago sad But I can't help feeling that Rantzen's role at Childline puts her in an entirely different position to anyone else who may have known... She's a 'champion' for the organisation... But if it transpires that she kept silent about abuse, I think that's really appalling, and ChildLine need to make some kind of statement... Because if even the founder of ChildLine keeps silent about abuse, for any reason at all, then doesn't that give a terrible message to all those children and adults trying to find the courage to speak out about what has happened to them, that everyone is keeping silent, and they are right to feel afraid and alone? sad

I find this very upsetting, and if turns out Rantzen did know, I think that is really shocking and outrageous... But AIBU? Do other people draw different conclusions from the video? And if not, could there be a good reason for her not to speak out?

Purple2012 Tue 09-Oct-12 22:28:43

There was an article the other day in the papers with her saying she had heard rumours at the time

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 22:32:22

I understand why she might not have felt able to speak out in the 70s when she was young and relatively unknown... But she founded CHildLine in the 80s, and she has been powerful and respected since then... So WHY would she not speak out, if she knew? sad

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 09-Oct-12 22:33:21

I haven't watched the video. The problem is that 'knowing' is different to being a bit sure or thinking it. I also think that the message is that anyone who has information about child abuse has a duty to report no matter what role they are in.

SoleSource Tue 09-Oct-12 22:34:15

People must have been terrified of losing tbeir carers if tbey spome out. All I can think of .

giraffesCantGoGuisingAsZebras Tue 09-Oct-12 22:34:56

Hearing a rumour and having evidence that can lead to a conviction is not the same thing.

SchoolFool Tue 09-Oct-12 22:35:12

It's one thing to have strong suspicions and quite another to throw around accusations based on rumours.

I think that was the problem, basically. Everyone "knew" but no-one "knew knew" except those who were colluding and obviously didn't want to admit that.

JeezyOrangePips Tue 09-Oct-12 22:35:25

Would anything be done if you reported a rumour?

I'm not convinced that they could investigate an allegation by someone that didn't have any specific details.

Rosebud05 Tue 09-Oct-12 22:37:57

In no way at all am I defending anyone who had heard rumours or had suspicions and kept quiet, but one feature of the general denial that occurs around abuse is that it's sort of possible to know and not know at the same time.

Which is why so many people are now saying that JS gave them the creeps or something about him made them feel uncomfortable.

It's also possible for people who have been abused to be completely aware that they've been abused but tell themselves and others that they haven't because it's so painful they wish to protect themselves from the awful truth, if that makes sense.

I haven't watched the video btw.

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 22:43:18

A rumour wouldn't have been enough for police action, of course. Or maybe not even for a BBC investigation..... But it might have been enough to stop people letting JS take girls into his dressing room alone.

The police are now pursuing 120 lines of enquiry sad They said they think at least 20-30 girls have/will come forward sad Maybe he could have been stopped earlier.

Esther Rantzen said in the documentary "We all colluded. We made him into the Jimmy Saville who was untouchable. We all blocked our ears to the gossip. There was gossip, there were rumours". She was the founder of ChildLine fgs - why didn't she SAY something?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 09-Oct-12 22:45:00

Because unless u can 100% prove it there's no way she could say anythin. Who knows who it if anyone knew or was helping to cover it up or turning a blind eye. Expect she was rerrified at who she woukd be dealing with if she came forward and made her ( at time unsubstantieated) allegations. Rich people r often powerful people who knows what threats were made sad

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 22:46:46

It does make sense Rosebud. And I am absolutely NOT saying the victims themselves should have spoken out. I understand why it is incredibly difficult to speak out if you are being abused. But Rantzen was in a position of power and influence - she has been for at least 25 years - and it seems that she was speaking out about child abuse in theory while keeping quiet about real life suspicions.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 09-Oct-12 22:46:56

Everyone would have been sat at home thinking they were the only one and scared stiff over whether they would be believed or not. Unaware that there were others that would add strength to the case sad

marbleslost Tue 09-Oct-12 22:47:25

The thing I loathe about Esther Rantzen is that she's so quick to judge others. I remember seeing her a couple of times on the news berating carers of the elderly. She'd say well it's obvioius if you're being abusive or not. When actually it's not. Many of the elderly patients I worked with didn't want their soiled pads changing, didn't want to eat or drink. Yet somehow you had to do it. Or that would be considered not caring for them. It was an extremely difficult job with some very grey areas.

I really hope she gets pulled up on this. I haven't seen the video.

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 22:48:50

I'm sure tjhat's the reason the victims and junior staff didn't speak out WMCD, but Rantzen herself is rich and powerful and influential.

JeezyOrangePips Tue 09-Oct-12 22:48:54

Had she said something publicly, she would have left herself wide open to legal action. Had she said something to thd police they couldn't have actioned it.

What would you have her do?

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Tue 09-Oct-12 22:51:01

But whatever happened, she did start Childline, so maybe that was in response to what she had seen.


Tigglette Tue 09-Oct-12 22:52:54

She was an investigative journalist in her own right, was married to a senior BBC executive and is a trustee of the NSPCC. I can't help but think there would have been a way to expose this had she had the will to do so.

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 22:53:19

She was living with his boss at the time,and many people on the inside are saying to me that of course she knew. But she hadn't latched onto the child protection industry as a career move at that point - quite the contrary.

Sorry, I think she is a very self-interested woman. She's been caught out here, though.

FreudiansGoldSlipper Tue 09-Oct-12 22:56:22

Like JSP said on question time women were not listened too they would have been shouted down it was known and because of the culture no one said anything. papers often threatened to run the story but JS would threaten to stop funds going to the charities he supported

He had a hold over people

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Tue 09-Oct-12 22:57:11

Yes - I blame Esther Rantzen for all this.

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:02:11

I don't, but I blame her for incessantly jumping on bandwagons.

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:03:22

That's exactly what I'm thinking Tigglette.

I can't square what she says at all. If you watch the video, the most shocking thing is when she's asked "Given that you founded ChildLine, did you never think of taking up these rumours - maybe not with the authorities, but with BBC bosses?" and she says "Um, it would have been completely irrelevant to anything I was working on" confused shock

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:04:38

I rest my case.

She is exposing herself as what she truly is, a self-interested busybody.

BonzoDooDah Tue 09-Oct-12 23:08:28

What's very sad is that in the video she says another adult saw Saville abusing a child in his dressing room. AND THEY DID NOTHING!!! That poor bloody child - an adult saw and didn't help sad

I know we do have to remember that times have changed an awful lot. The sexism and manipulation and dominance of men over women in the work place has changed massively over the last 20-30 years and it is an immeasurably different time now. So who would someone have reported something like this too? And would they have been brushed off and ignored or pushed out or victimised themselves? Maybe they were. We don't yet know how deep or high this went.

It is shameful though. And sickening.

He always did give me the creeps. Could never put my finger on why. Always just assumed it was the terible "bling".

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