There must be some worried star names at the BBC right now in the light of the ongoing crisis surrounding paedophile and rapist Jimmy Saville.

Another DJ who is being accused beyond the grave is John Peel but to imply that his past misdemeanours are comparable to the cynical abuse carried out by Savile is farcical.

Peel admitted that he had sex with young girls and joked fairly salaciously that he never asked for ID. This prompted Julie Burchill to write a savage article about him while he was still alive. I strongly disagree with Burchill on this but it has to be admitted her rage against the hypocrisies within male dominated institutions now sounds very topical.

John Peel in his hippy years.

I suspect that Jane Nevin has now come forward with her story about her affair with Peel merely to cash on the escalating scandal surrounding Sir Jimmy Saville. She had an abortion and now says of her brief fling that  “I used him for his fame and he used me for sex”.

Karen Wood in her shelved interview with BBC’s Newsnight, broadcast this week on a Panorama special, takes a similar line when she said she spoke of being in awe of Savile’s celebrity status and , when she was forced to perform oral sex,  thought at the time “that’s what we were for”.

There’s no doubt that being rich and famous acts as a chick magnet . Dutch sociobiologist Johan van der Dennen in an interview in Der Spiegel explains the grave consequences of this phenomenon very concisely: “…..powerful men live in a sexualized or eroticized world. Not only do they expect to have sex whenever they fancy, but they also expect that every woman is always willing to provide this service, and enjoy it. They are completely egocentric and opportunistic and just take what they want. It probably comes as a complete surprise when somebody does not comply. The forbiddenness, and the awareness of transgression, makes the sex even more attractive”.

The world of underage groupies is a squalid one but calling this abuse is less clear-cut.  It could be argued that they are still victims, but they are also willing ones. It’s not my aim to condone John Peel’s liaisons with Jane Nevin all those years ago but his lapse is at least understandable and it doesn’t make him a paedophile in my book.  How many men can put their hand on their heart and say they wouldn’t have done the same in his position?

Savile’s vile and vindictive crimes are on a wholly different and quite unprecedented scale.

What I would say is that the whole story and the can of worms it has opened up is a sobering reminder that violence against women is a men’s issue.

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