Sunday, May 15, 2022

How well do we know paedophiles?

Many are able to keep their activities under wraps for a long time.

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For decades, the face of Jimmy Savile or James Wilson Vincent Savile was a familiar sight nearly everywhere.

The Briton was known throughout the world as a television and radio personality. He was also a celebrity and hosted pop music shows, often appearing on stage to introduce big names such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

No less prominent were his acts of philanthropy and his work in fundraising and supporting charities and hospitals including through television show “Jim’ll Fix It”, where Savile would make the wishes of children come true.

Savile was also known among politicians and even members of the royalty including Prince Charles, and former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher had written to the queen of England to lobby for a knighthood on his behalf.

As of 2011, though, the police revealed that Savile had preyed on hundreds girls and women from as young as five to as old as 75.

He died in October of that year, but the uncovering of his sex scandal shook the world.

The children who had grown up admiring him could not accept that their hero was a paedophile.

On social media, meanwhile, a heated debate took place on his credibility and ability to engage in paedophiliac activities when he was in the limelight almost all of the time.

Some reports portrayed him as being mentally ill.

In a 2015 interview with BBC, however, a number of psychologists challenged this depiction of him, insisting that he was merely a cunning man.

A Netflix documentary aired early this year, titled “Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story”, meanwhile, provided another take on how he had groomed so many, and how he had propagated the image of himself as a good-hearted and honest person, willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of the children.

In short, “trust Uncle Jimmy”.

Today, more than a decade after his death, the question remains of how well we know individuals who are found to be paedophiles.

Criminal analyst Kamal Affandi Hashim stresses that paedophiles and those who sexually prey on children are not crazy.

To group them as unbalanced would be to give them a licence to continue committing such offences, he said.

“Are they capable of planning out their deeds?” he said. “Crazy people can’t plan what they’ll do next.”

Social activist Mohd Fairuz Abu meanwhile said that those who commit sexual crimes against children are aware of the fact of what they are doing.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said this was why they hid from society and chose not to seek help or an official diagnosis of whether they are mentally disturbed.

“I have friends who are psychiatrists, but they have never had paedophiles as their patients before,” he said.

“They don’t come because they know that what they do is legally wrong.

“They don’t go to hospitals because they are afraid they’ll get caught, as if they’re looking for a disease.”

In hindsight, Savile’s activities were never detected during his lifetime.

The activities of follow Briton Richard Huckle, who was arrested in 2014 for 71 sexual offences against children, also went undetected for a long time.

And up until his arrest, Sarawakian Alladin Lanim hid thousands of pornographic images and videos, as did Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, a so-called genious student who furthered his studies in the UK.

In the end, it seems, anyone could be anything. So the question remains: how well do we know paedophiles?

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