The rage and disgust that we feel at each fresh revelation of the crimes of Jimmy Savile has an unsatisfying quality. It is distinct from the normal course of outrage. The “normal” part is bad enough. The discovery that his sexual appetites ranged from necrophilia to the rape of children is hard to stomach partly because it is difficult to comprehend the existence of such a completely unrestrained id. No consideration of safety or law hindered him. Nor did his professed religious scruples.
It’s likely that some of his crimes, like the relentless groping, went unpunished because of the very different culture of those days, in which women were expected to evade or tolerate such behaviour, rather than to alert the authorities and make a formal protest. But the leap from serial groping, offensive and reprehensible though it was, to the systematic rape of the helpless, is one that marks this case out, and the sheer improbability of it explains a little of how he was able to persist for so long undetected, and, in public, unsuspected too.
We feel cheated by his death. It robs us of the dramatic, and purgative, aspects of a trial
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