We think that the BBC’s decision to dramatise the crimes committed by Jimmy Savile is deeply inappropriate and harmful. It should not be used as entertainment.
Public conversations around sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse are vital, but there is a responsible way of facilitating them. One example would be to use a documentary format that centres the voices of survivors, and does not retell their stories through fictionalised images and words.
Here are just some of the reasons why we are so concerned about the BBC’s decision to dramatise the crimes committed by Jimmy Savile…
- The potential to retraumatise survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including those directly impacted by the events covered in this drama.
- The normalisation and glamourisation of sexual violence, including childhood sexual abuse.
- The prioritising of a ‘good story’ which will bring in viewing figures, over the healing journeys and voices of survivors (which are multiple and varied).
- The perpetuation of trauma as ‘clickbait’.
- The decision to bring a depiction of this person back into mainstream media and public conversation, without thought for the collective distress this will cause.
- The distraction from the BBC’s responsibility and accountability around the events covered in this drama.
The exposing of Jimmy Savile’s crimes in 2012 resulted in an influx of people reaching out to our services for support. This is something that we do not take lightly, and we hope that the BBC won’t either.