Jimmy Savile Did Not “Groom the Nation”

I thought this was obvious. I didn’t think it was something that feminists would have to start shouting from the rooftops:

Met Commander Peter Spindler was correct when he called Savile a “predatory, serial sex offender”.


Spindler was wrong about Savile ‘grooming the nation”.

Jimmy Savile did NOT groom the nation.

Millions of people had no idea he was predatory, serial sex offender.

But, people did know.

We know they knew because Savile was not allowed to be involved in Children in Need.

We know people knew because they have been telling us they knew.


We know the police and CPS were aware because people told them.

Jimmy Savile did not groom the nation. He was allowed to continue abusing because he was a ‘celebrity’. Pretending that he “groomed the nation” allows those who knew to minimise and obfuscate their guilt. Those who knew and did nothing are guilty of helping Savile in sexually assaulting hundreds of children and adults. I say hundreds but we will never know how many.


The term “grooming the nation” only serves to silence victims. It serves those predatory, serial sex offenders who are still harming people. It makes Jimmy Savile a one-off case that will never be repeated. 

But, Jimmy Savile isn’t the only one. He will never be the only one. 

“Grooming the Nation” is about making bystanders feel better about having done absolutely nothing to protect vulnerable children and adults from a serial sex offender.

It not only absolved bystanders of responsibility; it gives them a space to be feted and petted in the press by journalists unwilling to look too closely at their own responsibility for reinforcing rape culture.

Jimmy Savile was a predatory, serial sex offender because people stood by and did nothing to stop him

How many other men are there today harming children and other adults safe in the knowledge that those around know and will do nothing to stop them?

(A longer version of this piece has been published by the Huffington Post)

10 thoughts on “Jimmy Savile Did Not “Groom the Nation””

  1. I was just as shocked to hear that statement. It felt like excuse-making, certainly, but I also felt incredibly patronised by it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and still can’t, but I felt that Spindler was saying that we (the plebs) couldn’t possibly understand the complexity of such a case and how Savile operated so he was just going to put it in these simple, hyperbolic terms for us. We don’t need to have it broken down – we need to know there’ll be justice. I’m so upset the fvcker’s dead.

    1. I did as well. This idea that somehow is poor little citizens can’t possibly understand our rape culture despite living in it and experiencing the consequences in our own bodies is the height of patriarchal misdirection. We don’t just need justice for Savile’s victims. We need to know that it won’t happen again; that we aren’t going to be having this exact same discussion in 5 years.

      Have you seen the case of the boys school in New York? Soraya Chemaly tweeted an article earlier. Same heartbreaking story.

  2. Exactly, exactly, exactly (that it won’t happen again). The thought of that actually makes me feel faint and ill. I can scarcely believe (though, of course, I can) how far this case goes.

    I didn’t hear about that case, no. I will look it up. Thanks for the HT.

    (Hope you had a nice weekend, Savile, Moore/ Burchill, etc. etc. aside.)

  3. Ooops; I meant to reply to your comment but that didn’t work out. Sorry. (I know I like things neatly threaded.) Clearly this second cup of very strong coffee is not having the awakening effect that I desired.

  4. I think the term “groom the nation” has another side to it. I think it captures, for those not non-violently sexually abused as children, the insidious process by which emotional ties are made by the perpetrator to the victim.

    Many adults remember writing in to “Jim’ll-fix-it” as children and I hope that they make the connection between wanting desperately to be on the show – and the potential cost of that childhood desire. I hope this will be a strong motivator to understand the mechanics of abuse and affect change.

    http://rebeccakeiko.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/forgiveness.html

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