Here's the article which speaks for itself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-20920274
Firstly, I hadn't been aware until now of Billy Connolly's tale of abuse at the hands of his father. Quite the opposite, I have in the past heard him refer to his father affectionately in his routines. Because of my own assumptions that the abused could never genuinely harbour positive feelings for their abuser, I also assumed that nothing was amiss between Billy C and his father. Boy, was I worng.
I find his words to be refreshing, moving and in some ways, a revelation. There's no point in repeating them, but his honesty about what is or isn't the most horrible memory of his childhood makes me stop and think. I dearly hope that his honesty does not bring down a series of condemnations upon his head - he is, after all, speaking of his personal experience, and he is absolutley entitled to be honest about that. I don't believe that he is belittling the issue of sexual abuse; he is instead performing a brave and necessary service by bringing to our attention that we make sweeping assumptions about these matters at our (and others') peril. Our assumptions tend to create social pressures which in turn lead to policies and protocols which in turn affect the way socity behaves towards the vulnerable or the victimized.
I think Billy's words warn us that we cannot assume that everyone experiences the world in the same way - even with regard to such extremes of experience. There is a power in his words about forgiveness - a forgiveness which I believe only the victims of such behaviour have the right to offer - but even more than that there is the power of the idea that people can indeed at least sometimes recover to enjoy their lives and in that way overcome the harm that was done to them.
This small, nit remotely hyped article still has me thinking; still makes me wonder about my assumptions about the feelings of others I would instinctively seek to reach out to and support; still taps me on the shoulder to say 'maybe it's not quite like that for everyone'. It may not make a big splash around the world, but I for one would like to thank Billy for sharing this particular tiny portion of his life with us. I think it's very important.