If you work in safeguarding, I guess one thing you might be attracted to, or equally turned off by, are TV dramas that have a safeguarding focus. The current BBC drama series Dark Money features the story of a boy aged 13 who is sexually abused by a film producer whilst in Hollywood, despite being chaperoned. The boy’s family are offered a significant sum of money by the producer’s lawyers, provided they take the matter no further and sign a non-disclosure agreement. In the story they have a limited amount of time to choose what to do. These type of agreements are very much in the news at the moment in a variety of places, but their use in a safeguarding context has not so far been much in evidence. However we know from our training that there are other more subtle and insidious ways to buy a victim’s silence. There are a couple more episodes to go so we will have to wait to see what the outcome is.
Another thing that can happen if you work in safeguarding is that something from a while ago you took for granted, or didn’t really consider as having a relevance to safeguarding, suddenly jolts your mind if and when it re-presents itself. When cooking I always have the radio on, and last week in the kitchen I was pulled up short by a track by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. The SAHB (for short) were a mid-seventies experimental glam rock outfit from Glasgow, with the eponymous lead singer an almost forty, been there, had and wrecked the T-shirt character who seemed positively geriatric to me at 19 (46 years ago if you’re asking). An interesting bunch who played edgy, darker material than T-Rex, and consequently a band I immediately took to.
The track was called ‘Faith Healer’, with a creepily repeated refrain of ‘let me put my
hands on you’. Suddenly an image of a seedy healer placing hands where they were not wanted popped into my mind, so I decided to research the lyrics and made a discovery that actually put the song into a context. Alex seemingly felt that young people at the time were looking for people to inspire and engage them, to give them something to believe in. He himself believed that troubled people needed someone to heal them in a natural way, enabling their bodies to rest and recuperate. The trouble is that the title and key phrases seem to tell a different story, and the music is full of menace and uncertainty, not helped by the rather exaggerated posturing and costumes the band wore.
We don’t accept behaviour that may have been tolerated a few years ago. #Metoo, as well as Dark Money this week, shows us that there is still a need to be ever alert to the wiles of powerful people who believe that their victims can be bought off or silenced. Alex Harvey in 1973 may not have painted the right picture for 2019, but there is a sense he was trying to say something about the need for wholeness after brokenness, for people to be restored.
If you want to see a clip from the Old Grey Whistle Test, to see what I mean, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rQ6BBc8f6Y