Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

An open letter to Ally Fogg: childhood sexual abuse is not a laughing matter

An open letter to Ally Fogg: childhood sexual abuse is not a laughing matter

This week has seen some lurid and inappropriate reporting of the trial of publicist, Max Clifford.  Now, let us just remind ourselves of why Clifford is on trial.  He is on trial for 11 charges of indecent assault allegedly committed between 1966 and 1985, the alleged offences relate to seven different women and girls ranging in age from 14 to 19. (‘Indecent Assault’ is the legal terminology of the 1956 Sexual Offences Act, superceded by the 2003 Sexual Offences Act and would now be referred to as ‘sexual assault’, however, his alleged crimes predate the new Act, so he is being prosecuted under the offences at the time that he allegedly committed them).

We’re told that the jury couldn’t stop laughing about Clifford’s penis size.  Really? I cannot begin to imagine how the survivors must feel about having their experiences served up as cheap Carry On and Benny Hill entertainment.  Well it seems that not only jurors could contain their mirth about the testimonies of alleged child sexual abuse survivors but journalist Ally Fogg decided that he would write an Indy Voices piece about ‘cock size’ and the mighty phalllus;  strangely coincidental that given the numerous lurid tweets and  headlines but there are also 3 so called Max Clifford’s penis size are now active:


And Fogg then titters on Twitter:


I am also apparently humour fodder:

3 By the way, he misses the point here (no pun intended) as my response was about the inappropriate timing of said article when penis size has not only dominated the reporting of a child sexual abuse trial, all week, but it has eclipsed the severity of Clifford’s alleged crimes.  Given that it is alleged that Max Clifford’s penis was used as weapon to abuse and intimidate and assault young girls and women, how on earth can Fogg’s piece be remotely appropriate?

Other tweeters expressed their disgust.  Here are a few quotes:

Is this really the level we’ve descended to in this country, laughing at a child abuse trial?

What’s the matter with people?

 . . . I was wondering when I had ever devoted a newspaper column to my vagina. That would be never.

 One would almost conclude that sex offence against girls and women ren’t taken seriously. But surely not?

 Taking women seriously has been shoved to one side nd utterly trivialised in favour of some cheap Carry On giggles.

 Like rape is only rape when it’s scary, violent, stranger, and this is somehow funny not horrific bc he’s got a small penis?

And no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, do they, Ally (see what I just did there?)?

Let us just remind ourselves of what this trial is really about:

 It's taken me 35 years to write this letter so hopefully it will reach you. I believe it will as anyone opening this email/letter should realise just how important and significant this correspondence is and pass it to you. Too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands, too serious not to inform you of its existence.

You will not be surprised by it as you have often said that you are amazed that 'things haven't surfaced'. I wondered if you remembered as I do the child sexual abuse you engaged in, befriending my parents, flattering their daughter, talking of an acting/modelling career, offices near Bond Street.

They were impressed even though no-one had heard of you. Conversations about your friend Tommy Steele, wasn't it squash you played. Julie Christie and the new Star Wars film that was soon to hit the cinema. Lots of famous names, places and yet still down to Earth. A local lad done good.

Recommending restaurants, funny stories, little secrets you fed them to gain their trust. The abuse started in your office. You sat behind your desk, eventually persuading me to strip, convincing me that my protesting was ridiculous and very childish. 'Don't you want to be grown up?'

You took pleasure in degrading me, visiting me at home, taking me out to meet fictitious people, abusing me instead and returning me to my home with a story so my parents didn't become suspicious. Names of people we had met, places we had been to, so they would be fooled that their daughter was in safe hands and not those of a paedophile.

The abuse continued. A friend's flat where you wanted me to act out a scene. You raped me. You blackmailed me with lies about photographs that had been taken. Fooled me into believing that you were somehow protecting me by stopping them from being published. Even inventing another person who telephoned and continued with the pretence and demanded that I talked dirty to them.

What was his name? That's right Max, pretending to be Terry. I had no-one to turn to. You were very clever. A+ in grooming children. How proud you must be. What chance did I have? You made my life a living hell, up until the point when I even contemplated suicide. You got worried then and backed off.

Too dangerous for you. You might have been found out. You repulsed me then as you do now, wearing the mask of someone who has values, hiding behind charity work, trying to cleanse yourself of the guilt you must feel perhaps and stating that you don't have sympathy for paedophiles.

You pretend to be normal. But you know inside you're not and you will never escape that shame. It must feel horrible to know that the real you is so vile and repulsive. It must be frustrating that you have no-one to talk to about that. Perhaps you've even tried to bury the memories, almost fooling yourself that you are a different person now.

Better than that, convinced yourself almost that it didn't happen, or does it continue? Are you still abusing children? I remember driving, pulling up behind you at traffic lights in Raynes Park, you in your yellow Jag, so obvious that it was you. What to do? Wanting to get out of the car, confront you, let you know that I still remember, wanting everyone to know the real disgusting creature that you are.

I wonder what your daughter would think of you if she knew or perhaps she does know and it's a secret that you share. How terrifying for you knowing that you have so much to lose. She was a child when I was a child. Perhaps you abused her too, or did you draw the line there.

Perhaps you've made excuses, fed her a line, and you think she's fooled as well. If she does suspect, maybe she's not ready yet to face the reality, too painful, too horrific, every little girl's worst nightmare. Of course one day she will find out the truth and perhaps you won't be around to beg her forgiveness or to feed her the excuses or blame someone else.

What an awful memory she will be left with. I truly feel huge sympathy for her. I can't imagine how unbearable it would be to find out that your father was a paedophile. It would probably ruin her life and certainly make her doubt everything about your relationship. You may have gotten away with it for years but inside you can't escape from the monster that you are, the repulsive, vile reality, that terrible, festering secret of yours which burdens you.

Your secret, not my secret. The hypocrisy of your life. You say you can't bear hypocrisy and that is what spurs you on, when you yourself are a hypocrite worse than any of those you seek to shame. A paedophile who publicly condemns other paedophiles to divert attention. A double bluff. How many others like me are there out there?

I shudder to think of all those opportunities that you've had/have to groom more children. All the time wearing that mask. Shame on you. Part of the reason I'm writing to you is that my counsellor has recommended it as part of my therapy. I'm undecided how much it will help or where we go from here.

(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/12/max-clifford-trial_n_4950689.html)

Do not turn into this into some ghastly sideshow and erase the victims’/survivors’ experiences and the impact that this has had on them.  There is a very strong sub-text minimising and trivialising the alleged assaults due to Clifford’s (what many deem laughable) penis size.  Were those girls and young women laughing at the time this allegedly happened to them?  Are they laughing now?

Child sexual abuse is never and I repeat, never, a laughing matter.

If you are affected by this, you can contact Rape Crisis or NAPAC for support.

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6 thoughts on “An open letter to Ally Fogg: childhood sexual abuse is not a laughing matter

  • Gill Ward says:

    You brave, strong, amazing child and now woman. You have given your truth and this can go a long way to help others in the same excruciating circumstances. I’m glad you’re receiving help now. I really hope your truly touching, empowering, sad, emotional post gives you some relief. I know it WILL to others.

    As for Clifford, his whole life is grimy. Exposing lives, making buckets of money to fund his banana coloured car. Twit. The sight of him posing proudly outside the court this week in front of photographers says a lot about the man. Deluded, in denial, thinking his power and reputation will absolve him, his overinflated ego etc. He’s a full on psychologist’s study that would make horrific reading and findings.

    As for the Tweetng Twits and other tasteless jokers (would love to use stronger words but want to keep the tone balanced), they are what they are: lacking empathy, puerile, childlike sniggerers sat at the back of the class. The size doesn’t matter, they don’t matter. The judge should have dealt with that quickly and strongly. We’ll tweet to support you and others. We’re there for you.

    Keep brave, keep strong, treat yourself kindly, live in the moment, have faith in your truth. You’ve come so far and, although this must be an horrific time, there’ll always be a campaign behind you. Let us know what you need.

    Thanks you so much for sharing a painful experience. I’m so glad you found the strength to carry on instead of doing something harmful to yourself (although I empathise why you went through this feeling). Think of what you are doing now-standing up to a dirty, rotten, sleazy abuser. His days in court ain’t over.

    Best os luck, love, support, wishes, hugs, whatever you need. xx

  • Hecuba says:

    Judge Anthony Leonard’s comments also reinforce male dominant beliefs that male sexual violence against women and girls is a ‘trivial issue.’ Ally Fogg is not the only misogynistic male who is deliberately attempting to deflect attention away from the fact jury in trial of alleged male sexual predator, Max Clifford, were laughing whilst she was forced to give detailed graphic evidence.

    Leonard informed jury: ”It is inevitable in a case dealing with this sort of graphic detail that members of the jury want to burst out laughing.
    “I can remember a very boring court case and we – I wasn’t a judge then – became helpless with laughter and the judge had tears in his eyes and it took over 25 minutes to recover.’

    Leonard was condoning jury’s misogynistic behaviour and reinforcing mens’ lies that male sexual violence against women and girls is not ‘real’ and female victim’s evidence is an opportunity to be ‘sexually entertained’

    Ally Fogg you conveniently forget this jury is expected to give their verdict based on the evidence not their subjective viewpoints.

  • Gill Ward says:

    DearAlison Boydell

    Thanks for a brilliant piece. you are spot on and so sharp with your comments, remarks, empathy and information. I salute you.

    Hecuba-I Tweeted about the Judge’s infantile, inappropriate comments on Twitter last night. He deserves a word (OR MORE) about his conduct in all of this. Judges are there to judge, control, follow a code of conduct that respects the law, the victim and the case etc not pass on ancient, inappropriate anecdotes about ‘oh so funny we nearly died laughing’ cases of old. The judge is an/a [fill in your own word(s]. I feel an email coming on! Proper and empathetic treatment for victims, for people who go through traumatic experiences.

    As for Fogg, he can fogg off with his school ground views. God forbid anything happens to his family, friends etc of the same ilk. What would his comments, views and reactions be then, oh Foggy? I hope you’ve learned you’re lesson (not that you’ll read this but i did send you several tweets last night to air my views and hope you reflect).

    Again, the focus is removed from the victim, her testimony, her voice, her truth. Stupid crusty old jobs for the boys judges and twits like Foggy get the press. The jury should have been reprimanded more severely. It’s such an important job to sit on any jury, not merely ones that involve abuse, rape, humiliation, domination etc.

    The poor woman, her friends and family had to sit and experience that on top of the dreadful, painful, embarrassing events she had to retell. I’m appalled. An email is under way!

    I can’t stand any more of this appalling behaviour towards victims. I’m right on it, empowered, energised and right behind the woman and others who experience this kind of behaviour. You’re not alone and please let us know if we can help.

    Now for a large slice of carrot cake and a brew to calm myself.



  • […] “An Open Letter to Ally Fogg: Child Sexual Abuse is no Laughing Matter” by our cofounder Alison Boydell at Ending Victimisation and Blame. […]

  • Sylvia says:

    I have thought for years Ally Fogg was nothing but an apologist for male misbehaviour and a “what about the menz”er of the first order ever since he was commenting under Guardian articles. He repeatedly tries to create diversions away from the mistreatment of women, he’s been doing it for years, like your classic MRA.
    I recall an article about a prominent trade union leader sexually assaulting young women. In the article, a young woman described her ordeal, and in doing so, mentioned how hideous she found her abuser. Up popped Ally in the comments section. Was he disgusted by the sexual abuse? No. He was offended at the mean description of a man.
    He is a misogynist pure and simple. The only thing that astonishes me is how it has taken people to realise this.

    • Gill Ward says:

      He’s dreadful. As for the Judge, churning out his crusty anecdotes whilst multitasking sucking on a Werther’s Originals and mismanaging the jury, I received a quick, brief, confidential (what a surprise :0) response, which of course said what you can imagine. A pile of ignorant, deflecting, dirge. We must carry on though, we must.