Rolf Harris has been charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of making indecent images of children. According to the BBC,
Six offences relate to the indecent assault of a girl aged 15-16 between 1980 and 1981 and three relate to a girl aged 14 in 1986.
The indecent images of children were alleged to have been made last year.
Harris was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree which was created in the wake of the allegations of serial child sexual violence and rape by Jimmy Savile, although Harris’ charges were not in relation to those against Savile.
The media, who remained silent over Savile’s well-known child abuse for decades, have been rather silent on the obvious common denominator between all the men arrested in Operation Yewtree.
They are all white men.
Now, this party reflects the racist construction of our media which is predominantly white male. However, the fact that the vast majority of people working in high-ranking positions in the media are white men does not account entirely for the fact that the majority of perpetrators of serial child sexual violence are white men in positions of trust.
These men are allowed to continue abusing children for years, decades in the case of Savile, because no one wants to believe that we have a problem with white men sexually abusing children. Does anyone seriously believe a Black-British man working as a DJ like Savile would have been allowed access to as many vulnerable children as Savile despite being known as a child rapist?
Because Operation Yewtree isn’t just about the cover-up of decades of child sexual violence and rape by male celebrities, it’s about the fact that we refuse to believe that child rapists are anything but fallacious stereotypes of men with low intellect and low prospects living on council estates. We ignore, dismiss and blame children who are abused by powerful white men: whether these be teachers or celebrities.
Operation Yewtree might be bringing a few cases to light but unless we place these serial cases of child rape within the context of our white supremacist patriarchal culture, children will continue to be raped. And, people will continue to blame them for being raped.
We need to start acknowledging that we have a problem with white men in positions of power.
These aren’t isolated cases. These are simply the few cases that we know about.
How many children are currently being sexually abused and raped by white men and those around them refuse to help under the belief that rich and/or powerful white men don’t rape?