‘“I didn’t even think of going to the police,” she said. “I didn’t want to break up a marriage, I didn’t want to have a terrible effect on his career, and also I thought it wasn’t that serious: after all I’d managed to stop it in the nick of time.”‘
In brief, Vanessa Feltz has decided that, now he’s fallen from grace, Rolf Harris tried to molest her live on air during an interview on a bed (yes, a bed) with his wife only feet away. Here’s a link to the story: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/vanessa-feltz-criticises-vile-reaction-to-rolf-harris-allegations-9589909.html
Good God! Is the woman so desperate to have her name/face plastered across the media, or is she skint and hoping to jump on the compensation band-wagon?
A long, long time ago, when I was 18 or 19 (so younger than Ms Feltz but certainly not an innocent child), I had a boyfriend who had a brother who had a girlfriend who owned a lingerie/fashion shop-boutique kinda place. This girlfriend, whom I shall call Angela — not to protect her identity, but because at this remove I can’t remember her name and she seems like an Angela-type in my memory — organized a fashion show at a local theatre to promote her business and managed to get a moderately famous TV and radio personality to host it. This gentleman, Mr X — whose identity I *will* protect for this is ancient history and mud-raking is not my purpose — is still to be heard regularly on Radio 4 and appears occasionally on our screens to this day.
Anyway, because of my privileged status (organizer’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend, AKA dogsbody), I had access-all-areas, as they say in those elevated rock-and-roll circles, and thus found myself backstage — and alone with Mr X. I was sitting on a sofa (drinking tea? waiting for my boyfriend? resting my feet because I was wearing silly heels and had been rushing around helping out all day?) and Mr X plonked down beside me, proffered a few fairly sleazy compliments/pick-up lines, and proceeded to try and get his hand up my skirt and his tongue down my throat.
In the words of Ms Feltz, ‘I didn’t even think of going to the police’ — because there was nothing to go to the police about and, whilst he might have been the oldest, he certainly wasn’t the first (or the last) bloke to make unwanted, but easily rebuffed, advances to me. I moved my head to one side, said ‘Eww! Gerroff! You’re older than my dad. That’s disgusting’ and firmly removed his hand from my thigh (as Ms Feltz could have done with Rolf’s from hers, digging her nails in had she felt the message needed to be reinforced and she wasn’t in a position to do so verbally). Mr X looked a little surprised and hurt, made a half-hearted suggestion that I go back to his hotel with him (to which I responded with something along the lines of ‘I really don’t think my boyfriend would like that, do you? Or is he invited as well?’), and then went back to general platitudinous chit-chat.
You’ll notice I felt no need to leave the room or run screaming to the media. The threat had been neutralized and I continued drinking my tea/waiting for my boyfriend/resting my feet quite unperturbedly. It was a non-event, in the greater scheme of things. It did not ruin my life, and, in fact, I’d largely forgotten about it until relatively recently when I heard Mr X on Radio 4 and was surprised he was still alive let alone still working. I immediately didn’t have a fit of the heebie-jeebies and totally omitted to seek either counselling or compensation. I just wondered idly if he’s still a dirty old man.
I’m not defending rapists or sex-offenders who use their greater physical strength or a weapon to molest or intimidate their victims, especially when those victims are underage. But a victim is not a victim if she (or he) simply allows the ‘abuse’ to happen without protest, and gives the ‘abuser’ no indication that she (or he) does not welcome it. Heavens, if this even happened in the way Ms Feltz describes, Rolf probably thought she was enjoying the naughtiness of the situation (and who’s to say she wasn’t?), especially as — once they were off air — she seems singularly to have failed to say ‘And what the fuck did you think you were doing just then? If I wasn’t the consummate professional I am, I would have slapped you round your ugly smirking chops and then hacked your balls off and used them as earrings, you disgusting creep!’
There is only so much weight (sorry, Vanessa, no dig intended) that this So-and-So-molested-me-30-years-ago-and-now-my-life-is-in-ruins-so-gimme-money-to-fix-it band-wagon can take before it breaks down completely… and that is going to leave any genuine victims in a very awkward position indeed.
Oh! And I’ve remembered my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend’s name. It wasn’t Angela.