BBC Radio Jersey’s Sara Palmer interviews Dee Coles
3rd October 2012
Coles: I’ve come forward now because I really got quite worried that, erm, these women who’d had the courage to make this programme and come forward were not going to be believed. And I didn’t come forward 40 years ago as a 14 year old because, hand on heart, I honestly thought I was the only one, this friend and I in his motorhome were the only ones that had experienced that.
If… I mean it’s saddened me… it saddens me greatly now to think that, you know, so many other children suffered sexual abuse from Jimmy Savile, and, you know, should I have said something when I was 14? But, as a 14 year old you just don’t have that thought, that that is happening to anyone else.
Palmer: Maybe that power as well, so you know you feel a bit more empowered now then maybe you did when you were 14.
Coles: Erm… I think it’s, I think it’s just that I’m more aware and aware that these women have come forward, and… and… yeah, I think… yeah, I suppose it’s very… interestingly enough, you know, when I spoke to ITN yesterday – and I asked to speak to them – is what I have found, you know, that’s the first time I have spoken about it, and I might as well be 14 instead of 54 [laughs]. It takes you straight back to not being that empowered, actually.
Palmer: Do you think… do you think a 14 year old in the seventies is different to a 14 year old today?
Coles: Yeah, I do. I do.
And I think, you know when I look at those photos of me, erm, and Jimmy Savile I was a really a young 14 year old and I think 14 year olds in the seventies just were, you know. There’s no way that any of my friends and I wore make-up & got dressed up and went out on the town or, you know, we were I think we were quite naive.
And that’s why… you know, it’s always going to be a shock for anyone being sexually abused but I think, you know, the innocence just disappears as soon as something like that happens. Suddenly at 14 you’re like this is what people are capable of, and… yeah… so, you know, I said to your – the woman who rang me from your station – I’d sooner not be on the TV or in the ‘paper or on your programme, even though I’m sure it’s a lovely programme [laughs].
But it’s erm, it’s sort of making that stand and saying, you know, other adults now, if they know that something’s going on, they need to come forward. Not like what we’ve heard this week, saying: “Oh, well I thought there was something dodgy going on but he was quite a strong character”. It’s just not good enough. You know, ’cause he’s dead and that’s done but the abuse still carries on, doesn’t it? And people still turn a blind eye.
Palmer: So you’re hoping that by you being brave enough now to come forward and say: “Yes, it happened”, that other people will be able to sort of put some of their demons to rest?
Coles: Yeah, both past and present, you know. And who knows what’s going on in this world right now? Obviously a lot of bad things and the people that are committing the sexual abuse and quite often there’s someone else who knows about it, so I think it’s appealing to them and saying, you know, as another adult, have the courage to do, erm, to do something about it.