In the 1970s, David Bowie, along with Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger and others, were part of the ‘Baby Groupies’ scene in LA. The ‘Baby Groupies’ were 13 to 15 year old girls who were raped by male rock stars. The names of these girls are easily searchable online but I will not share them here as all victims of rape deserve anonymity.
The ‘Baby Groupie‘ scene was about young girls being prepared for sexual exploitation (commonly refereed to as grooming) and then sexually assaulted and raped. Even articles which make it clear that the music industry ” ignor(ed), and worse enabl(ed), a culture that still allows powerful men to target young girls” celebrate that culture and minimise the choices of adult men to rape children and those who chose to look away. This is what male entitlement to sexual access to the bodies of female children and adults looks like. It is rape culture.
David Bowie is listed publicly as the man that one teenage girl ‘lost her virginity’ too.*
We need to be absolutely clear about this, adult men do not ‘have sex’ with 13 to 15 year old girls. It is rape. Children cannot consent to sex with adult men – even famous rock stars. Suggesting this is due to the ‘context’ of 70s LA culture is to wilfully ignore the history of children being sexually exploited by powerful men. The only difference to the context here was that the men were musicians and not politicians, religious leaders, or fathers.
Unlike the other musicians listed above, there is only one allegation about David Bowie. But one allegation is enough. There is no sliding scale of what is acceptable for child sexual exploitation.
Those who surrounded these musicians are equally guilty of failing to protect children. Many others actively participated in the sexual exploitation of children. Others knew and did nothing. Naming musicians is a start, but we also need to fundamentally change the music industry since child sexual exploitation and rape did not end on January 1, 1980 – as the allegations against Micheal Jackson, R. Kelly and the conviction of Ian Watkins make clear.
David Bowie was an incredible musician who inspired generations. He also participated in a culture where children were sexually exploited and raped. This is as much a part of his legacy as his music.
*Her age is listed as somewhere between 13-15 depending on the sources.
I’ve complained a number of times to the BBC about their insistence on placing stories of child rape perpetrated by celebrities under the topic of “Arts & Entertainment”. This is their newest excuse letter:
Thanks for contacting us regarding the article ‘Rolf Harris trial: Entertainer denies ‘ludicrous’ assault claims’.
Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we’re sorry you have had to wait on this occasion.
I understand you were concerned that the report was featured under the heading of ‘Entertainment’.
Stories about abuse are written by our main UK news desk and published on a story page that simply says “News – UK.”
However, because they may have some relevance or significance to audiences coming to the site for Arts and Entertainment coverage we also place those stories on the Arts and Entertainments section in much the same way as we might place a story about a child sex abuse internet ring in our Technology section as well as in the main news section.
Thank you again for contacting us. All complaints are sent to senior management and our news teams every morning and we included your points in this overnight report. These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future output.
Because placing an article on child rape in the “Arts & Entertainment” section is exactly the same as placing an article of online child sexual exploitation and abuse under technology.
I’ve started a petition to get the BBC to change their policy. Please sign and share it!
Jimmy Savile is child sexual predator.
Jimmy Savile is one of the most prolific child sexual predators known in the UK.
He is NOT a “disgraced” former presenter.
We need to stop using euphemistic language when discussing sexual predators. Savile did not pee on the Queen or vomit on the Prime Minister. He didn’t get caught smoking pot in the House of Commons. He sexually assaulted, raped and tortured vulnerable children whilst the entire establishment, from the BBC to politicians to the police, looked the other way. It is beyond disgraceful for the media to run headlines like today’s Guardian:
At least 500 children abused by Jimmy Savile, new research claims
NSPCC study highlights extent of the disgraced presenter’s offending, making him one of the UK’s most prolific sex offenders
It’s not really that hard to come up with to describe Savile’s behaviour: violent would be a better word since sexual assault and rape are acts of violence. Or, and I know this goes beyond all the limits of thought, the media could just call him a serial sexual predator. Since that’s what Savile was.
The Savile inquiry was not about Savile’s reputation. It’s a criminal investigation into the assault, rape and torture of children committed by Savile. It’s not necessary to google synonyms; just call him what he is : a prolific sexual predator who raped children.
A 52 year old man has received a suspended sentence after being convicted of raping a 14 year old girl twice and indecently assaulting her twice.
The 14 year old girl is his wife’s sister. At the time of the attack, the rapist was 24 years old.
A 25 year old man raped a 14 year old girl twice and has received a suspended sentence for his crime.
A man who raped his wife’s 14-year-old sister has been given a suspended jail sentence after a judge, Garrett Sheehan, ruled that “imprisonment would impose extreme hardship on the rapist’s family“. Judge Sheehan also stated that:
“The evidence in this case disclosed that the defendant not only has the capacity to remain an effective parent but also that it is in his family’s interest as well as society’s interest that the family unit in this particular case be preserved and supported.”
How is it in society’s best interest to have a convicted child rapist loose on the streets?
Yes, the rapist now has three children: two of whom are autistic and a third child who has several medical conditions. It will cause considerable hardship to his family for him to serve time in prison. But, that is his fault. He chose to rape a child. The fact that he now has three children requiring full-time care does not negate his actions.
This man should be in prison.
Having caring duties for the children requiring extra support does not negate the fact that this man chose to rape a child.
These are precisely the reasons why we need a real social welfare state. The three children, and their mother, should be receiving extra support from the state in terms of money and care-workers. They should not be dependent on a child rapist for support.
Rapists are not “effective” parents. They are violent men and should be treated as such. Frankly, I’m not entirely convinced at the safety of the three children who are living in a house with a convicted rapist. I don’t know what Judge Sheehan thinks is a bad father but this minimisation of male responsibility for the violence they cause because they happen to have children is the very essence of patriarchal victim-blaming.
The judge has basically stated that the life of the victim of child-rape is not as important as the family of her rapist. The judge has stated that child rape lays
“at the top end of the midrange of the scale and, in the absence of any mitigating factors, seven years was the appropriate sentence. He said the absence of any other convictions and the fact that the defendant had “self-rehabilitated” since the offences were committed 27 years ago were significant mitigating factors.”
How do we know the defendant has “self-rehabilitated”? How do we know that he has not raped other children who have been too afraid to come forward? How do we know that he won’t rape another child? Since when does committing a crime 27 years ago constitute a mitigating factor? Is the judge really suggesting that the longer a rapist gets away with committing rape means that they aren’t really rapists?
I have all the sympathy in the world for the family of this convicted rapists, but keeping him out of prison isn’t the answer.
He should be serving the seven years in prison [and I won’t even start on how pathetic that sentence is without it being suspended]. His family should be receiving extra support from the state.
Really, what this case implies is that the 14 year old victim of child rape is responsible for ruining her sister’s family by reporting her rapist. This is rape culture.
Dear Cannes Film Festival,
Roman Polanski is a child rapist.
I know I’ve written this exact same letter before, although last time it was to the British Film Institute. I’m sure you are bored of hearing this. I’m certainly finding writing this over and over and over again somewhat tedious but people seem to be struggling with this issue. Still.
So, for the record, Roman Polanski is a convicted child rapist who is also a fugitive from justice.
It doesn’t matter how many “good” films he makes, or how many stupid people make excuses for him because he’s an “artiste”, Roman Polanski will always be a convicted child rapist.
Roman Polanski gave a 13 year old a quaalude in champagne and then vaginally, orally and anally raped her.
I know Polanski has trouble understanding the fact that raping children is a despicable crime for which he should still be in prison. After all, there are no end of rape apologists telling him that it was completely okay for him to rape a child [see: the entire audience the night he won the Oscar for the Pianist].
There is a reason he’s blithering on about equality for women being a bad thing and the birth control pill “ruining romance”. Polanski does not want to take responsibility for the child he was convicted of raping nor does he want anyone to question the clearly illegal sexual relationship he had with Natassja Kinski when she was only 15 years old.
Every single person who pays to see Polanski’s films is supporting rape culture.
Every single actor who appears in a Polanski film is supporting rape culture.
Every single organisation that gives Polanski awards for his films is supporting rape culture.
Every single person who uses the word “historical” to refer to Polanski’s rape conviction is supporting rape culture.
Every journalist who does not mention Polanski’s conviction for rape is supporting rape culture.
Roman Polanski is a child rapist who fled from California because he did not want to go to prison.
Roman Polanski gave a 13 year old a quaalude in champagne and then vaginally, orally and anally raped her.
He should be in prison; not receiving awards at your Festival.
And, all I can think is “wow, ITV are actually removing Michael Le Vell from Coronation Street pending the outcome of the trial”. Seriously, how fucked up is that? My first response is that a major television program is taking an actual stance on a man charged with child rape. I thought they’d go for the old “we can’t possibly say or do anything until a conviction has been secured” twaddle which let’s rapists get away with rape.
Le Vell has actually been charged with 19 sexual offences including one count of child rape, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child. Obviously, I await with glee the rape apologists whining about poor ickle Michael being held accountable for his crime.
The BBC story is here.
This week, I read yet another story of an adult male who wasn’t held accountable for child rape. Technically, Steven Pollock was convicted of sex with a minor but he only received a community service and “the stipulation that he attend a sex offenders’ programme.” According to Kaye Adams in the Daily Record : “(t)he original charge was rape but prosecutors weren’t confident of convincing a jury that the girl did not consent and so they reduced the charge.” Steven Pollock put his penis into the body of a 13 year old girl. Even if she was sober, a 13 year old girl isn’t capable of consenting to sex. The fact that Lord Turnbull thinks that “the offence arises out of consensual conduct rather than any form of force, grooming or manipulation” demonstrates just how pervasive and destructive rape culture is. We need to keep repeating these messages until men start listening: a 13 year old girl is not capable of consenting to sex.
An adult woman who is extremely intoxicated is not capable of consenting to sex.
A child is never capable of consenting to sexual activity.
The judge’s summation is a disgrace.
Steven Pollock’s sentence is a disgrace.
The BFI is currently running a retrospective on the films of Roman Polanksi. When questioned on their decision on their Facebook page, this is the British Film Industry’s response:
Thank you for all your comments and feedback, we’re listening and acknowledge your strong views. Showing these films has been planned for over 18 months, mindful of Polanski’s 1977 US conviction. The BFI takes its responsibility to audiences very seriously and we fully appreciate that recent events have heightened awareness, however, our focus is not on the director, but the films, none of which are autobiographical or reflective of Polanski’s conviction. We recognise the important contribution Polanski’s films make to world cinema and film culture and we want to ensure that new audiences get the opportunity to see them on the big screen. By presenting his films in this way the BFI is not condoning or making any judgment on Polanski’s personal past history.
Yep, by showing Polanski’s films, the BFI are “not condoning or making any judgment on Polanski’s personal past history” and the only reason anyone could possibly be raising this as an issue is because “recent events have heightened awareness”. It isn’t at all probable that people have been raising the issue of Polanski’s conviction for drugging and sodomising a child since it happened. Us feminists only remember things like child rape exist when other famous men are discovered to be child rapists. If it hadn’t been for the discovery that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile, none of us would remember that Roman Polanski is currently a fugitive from justice having fled the US to avoid a prison sentence for raping a child.
Obviously, I’m being facetious here [and I’m telling you I’m being facetious because it is actually amazing the number of people who don’t seem to understand] but, this separation of male violence from the men who commit the crimes is destructive. It silences victims whilst simultaneously creating a hierarchy of abusers with Roman Polanski being a “good” abuser because The Piano won him some Oscars.
The “he’s an artiste” defence comes up every time these issues are raised and it remains utter garbage. Being an “artiste” has never been an acceptable excuse for an adult male to abuse a child and it never should be. It doesn’t matter if the “artiste” in question is Roman Polanski or Anthony Kiedis [who brags about “having sex” with a 14 year old in his biography Scar Tissue]. Both men have traumatised childhoods, Polanski is a Holocaust survivor whilst Kiedis was the victim of physical and sexual abuse as a child, but these traumas aren’t excuses for their behaviour as adults.
The moment we condone the abuse these men commit because of their status as “artistes” is the moment we stop holding them accountable for their crimes. It does not matter how brilliant their films are or how much we love their music. We can not separate the art these men produce from the violence they inflict on vulnerable women and children.
So, apparently whilst I was asleep the other night, some brilliant Feminist activists managed to get Amazon to withdraw a book which advocates child rape through that lovely construction of “sex tourism“. You know, that thing which is actually illegal in the UK because it’s travelling for the express purpose of rape. Now, I don’t really care whether or not Amazon apologises for this [although, they’d have to be pretty freaking stupid not to]. Frankly, I’m disgusted they allowed it to be put for sale in the first place. There is no way an organisation as large as Amazon does not have an approval policy for which products they do or do not sell and its Amazon’s approval policies which piss me off.
My lovely friend Frothy Dragon wrote this several days ago:
Through providing such a product, Amazon has not only promoted the Sex Tourism trade, but it has told rapists of children where they could potentially escape charges for child sex offences. Amazon has, in one publication, minimised child sex abuse, and normalised it, implying that not only is it legal in some countries, but “Hey! Other men are doing it too, y’know!”
I further call on all relevant agencies, INCLUDING AMAZON, to work together to prosecute the people who have purchased, produced and distributed this publication. As outlined by the Foreign And Commonwealth Office, British citizens and residents can be prosecuted for having sex with a child whilst out of the country. Tourism is no excuse to allow the rape of children.
I agree with every word. Amazon is minimising and legitimising the rape of children with the sale of these products. We should be pushing for more prosecutions of men, and it is always men, who travel for the express purpose of raping children and vulnerable women. It’s not like we need to invent a new law for this. It’s already illegal in the UK to travel for the express purposes of sex tourism.
But, this isn’t just about prosecuting individual men. We need a full cultural change in order to protect vulnerable children and women. That requires multi-national corporations like Amazon taking responsibility for the products that they sell. It doesn’t matter whether or not the information in the book was freely available on the internet [and Wikipedia might want to start deleting that information too]. Amazon should have an approval policy in place which expressly prohibits this kind of material from being sold by them. The fact that they put profit before any moral or ethical obligation [like, say, actually paying taxes] will only change if people start boycotting them. And, telling Amazon they are boycotting because of Amazon’s refusal to deal properly with products which advocate sexualised violence.