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?

1 comment:

  1. Matt, I feel the same way. It just hurts that I looked up to him and others like him as a kid and then as an adult. We trusted these people and wanted to be like them. How could they betray the trust of a nation with such despicable acts? I cannot understand. However, in my time I have met people in the public eye who have cultivated an image or character and found that the private person is far from the person they portray. Although, my experience has been that the private person usually is much more introverted and "normal". Unlike these cruel persons who existed in a fantasyland where they used their power to prey on innocent children and women. I just feel a sadness for those victims as well as those like us who have also lost the innocence of our childhood dreams. But nothing can undo the damage done to those kids molested in such an evil way. The fact that others in positions of authority protected the culprits and allowed this to go on for so long is almost beyond belief. But, it has become apparent to me that this type of behaviour was acceptable in many "intellectual" groups in Australia and the rest of the world. Rolf is only the smallest tip of a huge iceberg which will remain uncovered for much too long. There are many more "heroes" both alive and dead still to be outed.