Poor Gary Glitter was in a “bad place”
This is the BBC's write-up of Glitter's trial:
Gary Glitter broke down in tears as he explained to jurors why he had been in possession of child abuse images.
Sobbing uncontrollably, the 70-year-old said he had been in a bad place in his life, and was struggling financially, with alcohol and with drugs.
He issued a tearful apology to his fans, saying: "I lost my own dignity, and I am so sorry. I am very sorry."
Granted, restrictions on press mean the BBC must report what happens in court accurately so they aren't quite to blame for this drivel. What is responsible? Rape culture.
We recognise rape culture when we talk about Gary Glitter. The term "I lost my dignity" is treated with disdain. Granted, we know he was convicted of having 4000 images of children being sexually abused on his computer in 1999 and that he was deported from Vietnam in 2008 after spending two years in prison for sexually abusing two young girls (and having made a choice to move to a country where child sexual exploitation is rife). We should react with visceral disgust to the excuses made by Glitter.
Alcoholism, drug addiction and financial instability aren't acceptable excuses for Glitter abusing children, but we refer to Greg Anderson as a "deeply troubled" man despite knowing that he made a choice to smash the skull of his son Luke Batty in with a cricket bat. The media refers to Tressa Middleton as "Britain's Youngest Mum" and fails to include apparently that not-so essential detail that Middleton was the victim of repeated rape by her brother (who, once people finally bothered to investigate, was released from prison to his mother's home forcing a victim of rape into care). The term "witch hunt" is used every single time a celebrity is accused of sexual assault, except, somehow, Gary Glitter.
What makes Glitter different to Ched Evans? Mike Tyson? Why does Roman Polanski get standing ovations when he orally, vaginally, and anally raped a child? Why did no one believe the victims of Jimmy Savile whilst he was alive? How can we talk about Savile grooming the nation with a straight face whilst the Sheffield Star can claim a young girl "seduced" her father into raping her?
Why do we recognise the patterns of rape culture in the actions of Gary Glitter but not other men? This isn't just because Glitter has convictions for it. The sheer number of men who line up to defend convicted rapists, including those who harm children, is evidence that a criminal conviction for child sexual abuse means nothing. Why is this case different to others?