It really wasn’t worth it. The young girls who were victims of Stuart Hall weren’t worth it at all.
All that faith they had in our system, all the bravery of the anonymous reader who wrote to me last year, detailing shocking details of her alleged abuse at his hands, came to nothing.
There is no post-Savile guilt. Nobody cared then and the judge’s decision shows they don’t now. The girls were right; their parents too – and Hall himself, who told his victims that he was too powerful and too popular for anyone to hold him to account.
In Hall’s case, people stood up to say what a good chap he was, including a volunteer for the NSPCC. He was good at wiping his dirty guilt on bank notes. Fame and fortune protects the most appalling criminals. Hall only admitted to some of the crimes and now a mathematical excuse is given: he didn’t commit as many crimes as Savile. They say he’s too old, but not too old to have been presenting on BBC radio until his arrest. He’s an ill, contrite, sad old man they say. But how many sad, old men languish in our prisons today? They aren’t celebrities.
I finally spoke to the woman who wrote to me about her abuse at Hall’s hands. She was grateful and afraid still that something would get her. She hadn’t even told her husband until I wrote my article. I was going to go to court to witness the sentencing, but I’m glad I didn’t, my fury and rage might have made me do something unacceptable.
At the police station when I first delivered the woman’s letter a drunk vomited on my shoe. It has been impossible to clean off.
It is an apt reminder of how sick most of the women will be feeling today.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is an Independent columnist. She helped bring Hall to justice after receiving a letter from one of his victims.