Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rolf Harris's epic abuse of public trust

Have been fascinated by this whole Rolf Harris scandal. I've found myself being deeply unsettled by it, actually. And I'm sure many other people feel the same way.

Not that I was a big fan or anything ... It's just that I have a few very early memories of Harris's songs, and saw him perform once live when I was only 7 or 8 years old. These recollections are so redolent of that whole time. They are like mental cornerstones, foundational memories.

To think that he was preying on innocent, defenceless fans at the time, before and since really sends a shudder through my spine and jolts my childhood recollections. It's like a sinister cloud moving backwards over the past. I think a lot of people feel this way.

The thing that makes these revelations particularly disturbing is that he presented such an affable, trustworthy persona. And that's exactly what he used to gain opportunities to prey on girls and young women, and then get away with these attacks afterwards. It was actually diabolical.

It's one thing to have the urges he had. Creepy and wrong to start with. But to act on them, and repeatedly? Even worse. To top it all off he did so without compunction, confident in the knowledge that no one would believe his accusers. After all, he was the one and only Rolf Harris, surely one of the most widely loved and famous children's entertainers in the entire world.

That was a truly epic betrayal of trust. And that surely must have compounded the suffering of his victims. To be sexually assaulted is obviously an awful thing. But to constantly see the perpetrator's grinning mug on the TV, knowing that everyone from the Queen down thinks he's the bee's knees? Well, that must be utterly soul-crushing. How could you not think the world was an evil place?