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Safeguarding girls and protecting women post Jimmy Saville & #metoo

(545 Posts)
SpareRibFem Mon 09-Jul-18 10:59:33

I don't understand, there was a lot of hand wringing after the revelations about Jimmy Saville became widely accepted. #metoo there was more handwringing about the need to listen to women when they are telling you something that makes you uncomfortable.

Saville was allowed to get away with what he didn't because he created an aura of fear and people would afraid of the backlash if they spoke up. Those that did suffered.

We were promised something like that could never happen again...

And yet now despite many women and girls saying they feel afraid and uncomfortable sharing single sex spaces with someone with a penis weren't told we're bigoted and verbally abused for saying that. Our employers are contacted and told we're bigots, we're doxxed.

And organisations like girl guides are going still further in saying it must be kept a secret when girls are being forced to sleep and change with a male bodied teen with a penis (& teen levels of hormones) and I'm not even allowed to identify what sex that male bodied teen with a penis is on a public forum

Girl Guides are taking that approach despite the knowledge that abusers use secrecy and shame to their advantage.

Just like with Saville anyone who excesses concerns is shouted down and accused of being the person in the wrong by the powerful. There is a culture of fear now. Celebrity voices in particular (thinking people like Munroe Bergdorf, Stephen Fry and long list of others) are given more weight to shout down women's concerns. Male bodied people feelings are paramount despite almost all sexual abusers being male bodied (and most of the tiny tiny number of female bodied sexual abusers working with and being in thrall to a male bodied abuser)

Did we as a society learn nothing from Saville & the multitude of other abuse scandals that women and children/girls should be listened to, that celebrities voices help hide abusers, that telling girls to keep secrets from their parents about the presence of penises in their bedrooms and changing rooms and showing them they will be blamed and abused if they transgress and tell someone creates an environment where abuse can flourish.

TellsEveryoneRealFacts Mon 09-Jul-18 11:00:57

I know - weird isn't it?

Offred Mon 09-Jul-18 11:10:38

I’m pretty confident saville wasn’t protected because of an atmosphere of fear TBH...

Saville was protected because he cultivated friendships with people in power and because what he was doing was known about and understood to be acceptable by those around him but particularly by those powerful friends who protected him. I doubt they were afraid of him, I suspect they were/are like him...

These are standard tactics for abusers, they ally with the likeminded and they groom everyone else.

SpareRibFem Mon 09-Jul-18 11:15:25

Offred fear of speaking out was a factor Dame Janet Smiths report opens with

'Jimmy Saville engendered an aura of fear around him and the BBC culture meant staff felt unable to speak out or dismissed complaints'

Ineedacupofteadesperately Mon 09-Jul-18 11:25:33

It's terrifying. Almost like the secret policies being pushed through are the pushback to light being shone via #metoo.How dare women & children speak out.

The thing that worries me most is the secrecy & the fact this is being done by stealth. Even for probably the least important things like changing rooms - e.g. M&S. Fine, they want unisex changing rooms? Ok, but why are they still labelled as single sex because that is what 99% of their shoppers will assume womens and mens means. Why not have prominent signs explaining that the are now segregating by gender identity, not sex. So, masculine, feminine & if they're truly on board with the ideology surely a non-binary option? Why lie about it all if they believe in it so much?

If a teenage girl sees "womens" on a changing room she will assume it's single sex. She may choose not to go in if she knew it was unisex. Womens' right to say no is being taken away.

Of course women will self exclude from public spaces if the truth is known (GG,YHA, M&S, swmming pools and the rest) but at least we'll have a choice. When I'm on my own without female children I'll go in the mens because with self id policies thats where the ones who respect womens boundaries will be.

Sarahjconnor Mon 09-Jul-18 11:32:17

I am currently engaged in a big arguement with my dc school. And have raised this exact issue, so thanks for the thread.

Disclosure - JS kissed and licked me then tried to drag me into a room in 1993. I fought him off and was then beaten by his minder and a bbc security guard. I was dumped outside and left in ripped clothing with no money or way to get home. I was interviewed by Dame Janet smith and then had fitter correspondence re sexualisation of children and permissive environments for predators.

Sorry about the above - I think it needs adding in light of my reaction to current issues at dc school.

Last week was a residential trip and repeated comments made about 12/13YOs wearing ‘hotpants’. I complained about using a sexualised word for clothing and stated ‘short shorts’ - gender neutral and non sexual should be used. ‘Hot pants’ and ‘mini skirts’ listed as banned items - not boys clothing. I wrote to the school explaining that banning girls clothes and not mentioning boys gives the implication that girls are repsonsible everyone’s behaviour. They responsed that hot pants are a fashion item and not allowed - seemed to be deliberately missing the point. Meeting at the school and the male teacher bends over and demonstrates on his buttock where ‘girls shorts’ must reach - again no mention to boys.

I phoned in and advised that this made my dd and her friends incredibly uncomfortable. Questioned obsession with clothing, told it will be investigated - no one has come back to me.

On the trip boys running wild, in and out of dormatories and screaming. Girls did not leave their room. Parents who complained told girls were egging them on, girls seemed upset and said they were trying to sleep.

The year leaders are male, the safeguarding officer is male. None of them have a clue. I asked

‘If a 12 year old comes to school in inappropriately revealing clothing, why would that be”
‘I don’t know’
Me ‘there are 3 reasons 1) she is poor and has nothing else 2) she is being sexually abused and this clothing is normal to her 3) she is seeking male attention in an inappropriate way. If a child falls within those 3 groups should she be 1) shamed and ridiculed 2) offerdd guidance and support”

The safeguarding officer did seem to release that it wasn’t acceptable at that point but I still haven’t had a reply. They see me as the problem. Am I the problem?

I am raging.

All these years, these trials. Yew tree. Me too. Nothing changes, I’m exhausted.

Sarahjconnor Mon 09-Jul-18 11:36:10

Savile was protected by friendships, power, money and the bbc destroying anyone who complained about him. There were a LOT of complaints about him, Harris and hall. The bbc chose their side.

Sorry my slightly irrelevant message is so long.

I meant to add dame Janet smith specifically discussed the danger of accepting incorrect language from predatory men - specifically his repeated comments about my ‘hotpants’ - which is why it seemed relavant to me. Sorry for derailing - not my intention.

Offred Mon 09-Jul-18 11:36:14

I’m sure there was fear but IMO it was fear of the BBC (and the police etc) rather than strictly of Saville and I think it is nice and convenient for all the complicit institutions to play the dead man as horribly evil, supremely powerful and totally to blame.

Obviously he was horribly evil, very intimidating and totally to blame for what he did, but the organisations cannot hide behind fear of him re their complicity IMO - that’s a whitewash....

It’s also important to note that ‘influencing the influencers’ and the tipping point re when narratives act as universal truths based on herd mentality is important here...

Offred Mon 09-Jul-18 11:37:15

flowers Sarah.

womanformallyknownaswoman Mon 09-Jul-18 11:58:54

Sarah - it sucks that happened to you.flowersflowers

SpareRibFem Mon 09-Jul-18 11:59:39

💐 Sarah far from derailing your views are critically important here.

Offred I meant fear in the broader sense, not just fear of JS but fear of how he could destroy the life of anyone who complained or said 'something isn't right here'

Baroquehavoc Mon 09-Jul-18 12:02:55

Sarah flowers

SpareRibFem Mon 09-Jul-18 12:04:00

To make it abundantly clear lots and lots of (mostly) men let Saville do what he wanted, the (mostly) women and girls who expressed concerns were dismissed and kept quiet out of fear. As well as the children I'm thinking people like the nurses who tried to protect child patients from him but no one listened

LangCleg Mon 09-Jul-18 12:06:23

flowers Sarah.

You are right, right, right, a thousand times right.

Sarahjconnor Mon 09-Jul-18 12:06:31

I am sorry if I come across as unhinged, I am very cross today, about how girls and women are treated, no one listens - why will no one fucking listen?

Why is my dd school constantly demonising female children’s clothing? I have informed them - clearly of the atmosphere of sexism this creates. I have told them repeatedly it sexualises children. I have evidence and experience but they will not listen.

I am at boiling point. I am exhausted.

Baroquehavoc Mon 09-Jul-18 12:08:31

I've just watch Hannah Gadsby's show on Netflix, and one of her comments that struck a chord with me was having to maintain men's reputation. She explained beautifully how maintaining men's reputation is seen as more important than their victims lives.

womanformallyknownaswoman Mon 09-Jul-18 12:08:59

What's more horrifying to me is that all those f***king agencies and people supposedly paid and employed to "safeguard" children are complicit in the wholesale dereliction of their duty by putting children in harms' way by not doing any, i.e. zero, impact statements, in any organisation, of the consequences of relaxing sex-segregated spaces.

There has been no organisational learning since Savile. Predators stalk their targets where children and vulnerable women collect. So what are they doing to safeguard them? Answer: relaxing the historic safeguards. That's a huge DARVO the size of a mammoth.

This is an international scandal of epidemic proportions. It's as though women and children don't exist - or exist only for their use and abuse by men.

Sarahjconnor Mon 09-Jul-18 12:10:26

Re Savile - yes they all knew. Everyone knew. It was a pop culture joke with poor, disabled and mentally ill girls as the punchline.

bigKiteFlying Mon 09-Jul-18 12:11:53

The "misogyny hate crime policy" has been piloted by Nottinghamshire Police.

But university researchers were "shocked" by the volume and nature of the incidents among people surveyed.

Examples include sexual assault, which had been experienced by 24.7% of survey respondents, indecent exposure (25.9%), groping (46.2%), taking unwanted photographs on mobiles (17.3%), upskirting (6.8%), online abuse (21.7%), being followed home (25.2%), whistling (62.9%), sexually explicit language (54.3%), threatening/aggressive/intimidating behaviour (51.8%), and unwanted sexual advances (48.9%).

tens of thousands of women gathered in Seoul on Saturday calling for a crackdown on spy cam pornography, in one of the country's biggest ever female-only protests.

Perpetrators film or photograph women with hidden cameras in public spaces.

Although distributing pornography is illegal in South Korea, the videos and pictures are shared widely online.

Organisers say women live in constant fear of being photographed or filmed without their knowledge.

These include:

In 2015, BBC Radio 5 live Freedom of Information requests showed more than 5,500 alleged sex crimes in UK schools had been reported to police in the past three years
In 2014, 59% of girls and young women surveyed for Girlguiding UK said they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year

In 2010, a YouGov poll found 29% of 16- to 18-year-old girls had experienced unwanted sexual touching at school
The YouGov poll also found that 71% of girls had heard the terms "slut" or "slag" used towards them at school.

Additional research last year by Girlguiding UK found anxiety about sexual harassment was having a negative impact on three-quarters of girls and young women, affecting what they wore and how they felt about their bodies.
Among these were nearly 4,000 alleged physical sexual assaults and more than 600 rapes, figures from Freedom of Information requests showed.

At least a fifth of offences were carried out by children on children, but details of the rest of the assaults are not known.

They clearly know there are still problems for women and children - they're doing reports on it ^^. Yet in discussion programs time and time again safeguarding concerns are dismissed - it's wilful blindness as far as I can see.

Offred Mon 09-Jul-18 12:12:05

Yes, but it is crucial IMO to recognise that it was not just a fear of Saville but a fear of the fact that organisations like the BBC and the police were actively protecting him and intimidating the people he harmed.

That was such a significant lesson to take from the whole Saville thing... That people could not go to the organisations and expect protection and if they tried to anyway they found that the organisations protected Saville and harmed them further.

I do not believe it is likely that this is because the organisations were in fear of Saville, it will be because they were like Saville themselves. Even if the BBC were financially invested in the Saville brand they could have chosen to quietly make him go away rather than consistently pushing him forward as a bigger and bigger brand...

Offred Mon 09-Jul-18 12:13:56

And yy re the lack of organisational learning from Saville... This is why I am so irate re ‘everyone was afraid of him’... Bullshit they were... Total bullshit...

Offred Mon 09-Jul-18 12:15:55

And also yy re Nanette and ‘men’s reputations’

CaptainKirkssparetupee Mon 09-Jul-18 12:16:07

Saville was protected because he cultivated friendships with people in power and because what he was doing was known about and understood to be acceptable by those around him but particularly by those powerful friends who protected him. I doubt they were afraid of him, I suspect they were/are like him...

High up people like him who were in power then covered it up and high up people like him who are in power now are still covering things up.

womanformallyknownaswoman Mon 09-Jul-18 12:19:31


I think that deserves a post on its own - I was going to do one about misogyny and the Notts Police pilot - the stats are horrifying but great to see them quantified.

Baroquehavoc Mon 09-Jul-18 12:19:43

I agree that JS didn't have any power, he was one of many DJ s and TV personalities. He was replaceable.

I don't think many thought what he was doing was a big deal, maybe they thought he was pushing the boundaries a bit, but his victims weren't important to anyone with the ability to stop it.

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