Verdict gives women a voice

By | News & Politics
Clifford is sentenced to eight years Credit@mariamuir.com creative commons

Showbiz PR ‘guru’ Max Clifford has achieved many things in his working life; from gaining notoriety for very publicly showing his support for infamous clients, he has been credited with giving celebrity status to the likes of Simon Cowell, Kerry Katona and Louis Walsh, with Mr Cowell perhaps being one of the greatest examples of Clifford’s skill in the field of PR.

Clifford turned him into a global, household name with numerous, money-making projects under his belt, and when interviewed by Piers Morgan on the TV show Tabloid Tales back in 2004, Simon said that hiring Max Clifford was the best career move that he had made.  In addition to that, Max Clifford also gave extensively to charities out of the profits made from many of his PR campaigns.

Considered by some to have played a major part in the rise of “celebrity culture”, exposing some of the most well-known affairs and scandals to surface in our tabloids, one is unable to escape the irony that the gaze of the nations press should now fall on him.

Just last week, 71-year-old Max Clifford became the first person to be condemned under operation Yewtree. Clifford was found guilty of a string of indecent assault towards young girls and women between the years of 1977 and 1984. He has been charged with eight counts of indecent assault upon four separate women, and subsequently sentenced to eight years imprisonment, of which he must serve at least half. Speaking on the judge’s decision, Clifford reportedly said: “I’ve just got to make the best of it, that’s what I’ve got to do”, in true PR form.

And whilst the four women may have endured a challenging trial, and indeed existence during the aftermath of their ordeals (with one of the women expressing how the last 20 years of her life had been greatly affected), they have emerged victorious from the other side.  

From this, a light has emerged from a challenging experience for these women. Clifford’s arrest, and ensuing jail term, means that their stories have been heard and that they have been believed. One can only imagine the size of the weight that has been lifted from their shoulders; this trial has allowed them to open up and express their emotions, and they now have the ability to seek support and guidance.

These women now, perhaps most importantly, may be given the chance to receive support for themselves. They also have the chance to give their help to others; whether that is via detailing their ordeal in the form of a book, sharing with the world, or perhaps campaigning and raising money for women’s charities that deal with issues related to the case in hand. Productiveness can only come from this moving forward now.

With a successful conviction such as this, it can demonstrate a productive outcome for women in similar situations to the four involved in the Clifford case. Through these individuals finding the courage to come forward and testify in court, it has lifted a barrier that surrounds the stigma that some people associate with those coping with sexual assault. Such an ordeal may be truly one of the most challenging things to overcome, however in doing so these four women have found their voice. In doing so, one could see how this may create a movement in other women finding the bravery to also find their voices, and become a part of the minority of women who report rape and indecent sexual cases.

It may be that the greatest outcome of Max Clifford’s trial is the relief felt in that he is now in a place where he unable to reoffend. Perhaps during his jail term, Clifford may take it upon himself to reflect on his crimes and potentially develop feelings of remorse for what he has done. In any case, what we can take from this is that the victors from the Clifford trial are now able to move forward and find the closure that they deserve. 

What productive aspect do you think the conviction of Max Clifford has given to the lives of the women involved?

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