Raped by Jimmy Savile when she was a vulnerable teenage patient at Stoke Mandeville hospital, “Anne” describes how he changed in an instant from “cuddly” TV persona to a terrifying predator.
The woman, “Anne”, who was around 15 at the time, told how Savile tricked her into leaving her ward with him on the pretence of going to a party for younger patients in another part of the hospital. Arriving to an empty space, Savile told her he must have mistaken the date and invited her outside to see his Rolls Royce.
The change of persona from the cuddly friendly ‘Jim’ll Fix it’ to the person who raped me was instant and complete. ‘Anne’
When they got to the car, he said he had forgotten the keys. Her arm in plaster and dressed only in nightclothes, he took her to his on-site accomodation, where he suddenly attacked her:
“With hindsight, what then happened was very well-practised, rehearsed – it happened in a few moments,” she said.
“One minute he’s standing there pretending to look for these keys, and then he just – not violently I have to say – but forcibly, pushed me backwards onto the bed, pushed my clothing up – raped me.”
Having only spoken out about the rape just over a year ago, she has now been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and suffers flashbacks, particularly about the sudden change in Savile’s persona:
“The change of persona from the cuddly friendly ‘Jim’ll Fix it’ to the person who raped me was instant and complete.
“Suddenly this was a complete predator: evil.. cruel .. frightening.”
So why didn’t she speak out?
“Anne” described events the day after the attack: “one of the nurses said – I can’t quote it exactly – but she made reference to something to do with ‘good girls’, and turned and very pointedly looked at me and said ‘do you know what a good girl is?’
“Prior to that, I had been trying to decide whether to tell anybody – and that was it – I just felt that I wouldn’t .. well, I think victims of sexual abuse or rape blame themselves anyway, and to have her say something like that was just … I never told anyone ever until about 13 months ago.”
What happened to her was “a complete failure to care” says “Anne”.
Savile, she says, “was so powerful – it was like he ruled the place.” People were drawn to him and also in awe of him – as was she at first, “he would waltz, up and down corridors .. people getting autographs”.
But she believes her situation made her especially vulnerable. Because her home was not near the hospital, “Anne” did not have a lot of visitors, which she now thinks was significant: “It’s the paedophile thing: pick the weakest, pick the person who’s not going to have anyone to go to.”
The first time he visited her, he said he had been in the ward the night before, watching her sleeping.
Yet despite “Anne” having been there for some time, Savile’s attack took place just days before she was discharged: “I think that was deliberate, I think that obviously if you’re about to be gone, you’re less of a problem”
But she cannot believe that no members of staff knew what was going on.
“With hindsight, through adult eyes, I have no doubt it was happening all the time, I’m sure. It’s impossible to believe that at least some of the staff didn’t know what was going on – they very obviously knew what was going on.
“And I don’t know how they lived with themselves.”