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Reply to my letter to the BBC re Karen White and Jimmy Savile

(77 Posts)
Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 19:28:29

I hope that some wise women have time to help me digest this reply to my letter to the BBC. I am pleased they have taken it seriously but they clearly don't understand that calling a rapist 'she' and referring to them using preferred pronouns is traumatic for any victim of sexual assault, I think it is gaslighting victims.
I have redacted bits that would 'out' me or reveal personal things that I feel are too difficult for me.
I will put it on a separate post so below. Thank you

Horsewithnomane Sat 01-Dec-18 09:26:36

Feel let down by the BBC - OP treated appallingly.

Recently I have stopped buying the Guardian over this trans business and am seriously considering not voting Labour for the first time in my life over the LM thing, and now this! If I boycott the Beeb and have to watch commercial shite what's the point anymore?

It's like all of the organisations I have admired and trusted in my life are collectively going bonkers!

merrymouse Sat 01-Dec-18 09:33:10

I think the more recent series on gender on Woman's Hour has been better. You may feel that their reply is a cop out, but perhaps your letter helped to wake some people up.

MrsSpenserGregson Sat 01-Dec-18 09:38:56

@Sarahjconnor bloody hell sad - I had no idea of your history - but you are awesome. How you had the strength to write to the BBC after what you've been through is astounding. And how brave of you to post details of your history on MN.

The BBC have added insult to injury with that letter. My interpretation is that they actually have not taken your letter seriously at all, and are hoping that if they throw enough platitudes at you, you will shut up and go away.

What do you want to do next?

LangCleg Sat 01-Dec-18 10:00:55

Sarah, my darling, I know you've only put part of the story on this thread. You're not imagining it: they don't understand anything you've said to them. If you have the stamina, I think you should continue to pursue. But if it's too much, put yourself first. If there's anything I can do in a practical way, tell me and I'll do it.

Sarahjconnor Sat 01-Dec-18 10:01:52

I've woken up this morning feeling very cynical about my power to make any dent on their attitudes.

I would really appreciate links to news articles/days times of radio/tv etc. if anyone has a record. I have a mental list but I think I need specifics.

LangCleg Sat 01-Dec-18 10:10:27

Is this thread any good, m'dear?

AngryAttackKittens Sat 01-Dec-18 10:14:31

The letter itself is a bit shit, but the fact that they felt they had to respond may be a good sign. It's better than the Guardian's "don't even acknowledge negative feeback, just wield banhammer" approach. Though that may mostly indicate how amateur hour the Graun is in relation to the Beeb.

Binglebong Sat 01-Dec-18 10:15:55


I am so sorry, and so angry, for what happened to you. That you are still fighting is amazing.

I sent in a complaint a while ago, the thread discussing it is It may or may not be useful as an example. One of very very many.

Sarahjconnor Sat 01-Dec-18 10:24:27

@merrymouse DH said that and Jane Gavey was clear that she would not call Karen White 'she' on the later stuff - it did seem better didn't it? Maybe the editor heard me? Idk.

Bowlofbabelfish Sat 01-Dec-18 10:24:33

I would point out that the form im sorry that you feel is not an apology, it’s a method of shifting blame back to the complainant

Sarahjconnor Sat 01-Dec-18 10:29:44

Thank you @Langcleg that is very useful

I would very very much appreciate
1) examples of specific things from BBC (that thread Lang linked is very useful)
2) help picking apart what is wrong with the reply - why is it making me cry with frustration
i) 'I am sorry you feel"
ii) they didn't interview KW and did not confirm his choice of pronouns - what are they on about
iii) KW is a rapist, all rapists are men

thank you all

LangCleg Sat 01-Dec-18 10:37:24

The whole section on pronouns is a non-answer.

You have complained that they have a blanket policy of preferred pronouns even when the person in question is a rapist and paedophile and even when the reporting is about self-identification within institutions that goes beyond the law and has resulted in women being assaulted. Your complaint is that in such an instance they have prioritised the convicted rapist over the triggering trauma suffered by their women viewers and listeners who are survivors of sexual assault.

They haven't responded to your complaint: they've simply reiterated the basis for it by telling you that they have a blanket policy of preferred pronoun usage.

AngryAttackKittens Sat 01-Dec-18 10:39:36

Maybe "thank you for your response, but you still have not addressed my concerns/answered my question".

AngryAttackKittens Sat 01-Dec-18 10:40:43

(Since "that's neither a proper answer nor a real apology you cowardly mendacious arseholes", while heartfelt and honest, may be perceived as uncivil.)

merrymouse Sat 01-Dec-18 10:56:10

Maybe the editor heard me?

I think so, and also that it may have made other people at WH feel more confident about presenting and seeking out alternative viewpoints.

MrsSpenserGregson Sat 01-Dec-18 11:06:01

To answer one of your questions Sarahjconnor, I think the BBC's reply is making you cry with frustration because of several factors:

1) Nobody at the BBC has not acknowledged the organisation's cover-up or threats that were made to you when you reported what Savile did to you. The corporation's actions were morally bankrupt, illegal and unfair, so it's not surprising that you're so upset. They have wronged you!

2) The BBC is deliberately ignoring the fact that, as you say, under UK law, only males can rape because the definition of "rape" involves penetration by a penis. In the UK, a women cannot rape someone. So, by referring to Karen White as "she,' they are gaslighting you and denying the actual, proven fact that Karen White is a rapist and is in prison because of this. Which is frustrating. It's compounding the abuse you've suffered, adding insult to injury.

3) Nobody has actually apologised properly to you, have they? As you've said, "I'm sorry you feel...." is not a real apology. So you feel unheard and unimportant. Which you're not at all, you're amazing and this thread is full of people who hear you loud and clear, but the people you need to hear you are not listening.

It just seems like justice and fairness are not happening.

I'm so angry for you, and so in awe of your strength in trying to tackle this.

MrsSpenserGregson Sat 01-Dec-18 11:07:04

** apologies for double negative in my previous post - obvs I meant to say "Nobody at the BBC has acknowledged .."

Ihopeyourcakeisshit Sat 01-Dec-18 11:19:57

Sarahjconnor I had no idea you had been through all that.
I'm amazed at your strength and disappointed that I can offer nothing helpful.
You are a class act.

LurkingWaspi Sat 01-Dec-18 11:20:51

Sarah, smile

You need to understand their procedures. These are weasels with weasel words.

I suggest that you instigate the complaints procedure rather than just write a letter to the same person. Jump over her head now.

The complaints procedure is referred to in their reply to you. There is a clickety link in the reply.

I would start by complaining about the response that you have had to your letter. ( Attach your letter and BBC reply as appendices)
Say in your complaint WHY that reply is unacceptable as per MrsSpencerGregson and what you want to happen.

Add other evidence as appendices.

When they reply to your complaint, you can then appeal if they refuse to apologise, and escalate it further.


AngryAttackKittens Sat 01-Dec-18 11:28:12

I wonder to what extent the carefully worded non-admittance of fault in regards to Savile is the result of consultation with lawyers who may have pointed out that admitting responsibility opens the door to being sued?

If you have the capacity to keep at it then yep, complaints procedures. A lot of the successes TRAs have had have come as a result of making an absolute bloody nuisance of themselves. Women are socialized to stop well before that point, but maybe we need to try to push past that.

LikeDust Sat 01-Dec-18 11:34:26

OP I have a feeling you are instrumental in bringing change. Things are shifting a bit. Think of all the women at the beeb who are totally on your side but are quietly suppressing their fury.

If you can keep it up, keep escalating. Keep pushing through. The Karen White issue shows they got the wrong end of the stick. They assumed White was a guest. They need to look at that properly and give you a better justification for calling White 'she' or change their policy with an apology to all the women harmed by it.

Badgerthebodger Sat 01-Dec-18 11:48:45

<sends bat signal to @R0wantrees > do you have anything which would help Sarah please?

And Sarah you are so bloody brave. Your letter is so powerful, and all they’ve written back are mealy-mouthed empty words which, when analysed, amount to nothing. If you can, go for the complaints procedure. Let us know if we can help

LizzieSiddal Sat 01-Dec-18 12:16:07


I’ve often heard/seen things from the BBC which make me so cross. You’re bravery has inspired me to never put up with this again. I will be complaining every single time they use misogynistic language or are sexist.

I hope others do the same!

QuackPorridgeBacon Sat 01-Dec-18 12:59:25

When I read their reply it sounded like a load of cop out bullshit. Upon reading what you sent them first I’m really fucking angry at them. How dare they reply with such crap, the pronouns argument they give is like a slap in the face. The women these men hurt were raped by a male, not a female, not a woman but a male. To tell these victims otherwise is disgusting. If one of my abusers were to come out and I was told I was raped by a woman I’d be fucking livid. Given the mental health issues I suffer because of nasty rapist men, I would probably want to end it all than suffer the embarrassment of people thinking I was raped by a woman as realistically, if I corrected them I’d face more abuse. I’m so tired of the bullshit use of pronouns. If you were born a male you will always be a male, get over it. For people that are proud of being trans, they sure don’t like being reminded that’s what they are.

I’m sorry for what you have gone through Sarahjconnor.

ChewyLouie Sat 01-Dec-18 13:06:54

All I can say is I agree with the above comments, a woman can only be raised by a man. Using a rapist’s preferred pronouns when referring to their crimes is despicable. Reporting needs to be factual and objective, KW is a man and his feelings on his gender presentation should not be validated in this way. Well done for raising this, keep pushing if you feel able.

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