Michael Le Vell – Mud Sticks

Michael Le Vell court case

If you’ve been following this case in the news, you’ll know that Michael Le Vell, the actor who plays Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, was accused of sexually abusing a six year old girl. The girl, who is now 17 and hasn’t been named to protect her identity, says that he systematically abused her over a number of years and although the Crown Prosecution Service originally dropped the case through lack of evidence, Mr. Le Vell was charged with 19 offenses following a review of the evidence in early 2013.

Yesterday, I was driving home from picking up lunch for Husband and I, listening to Radio 2 when the news broke that Mr. Le Vell had been found innocent. As I walked into the house, I said to Husband “Have you heard? That nonce from Coronation Street has been found innocent”.

And therein lies my point. Despite the fact that a jury of his peers had found Michael Le Vell completely innocent, in my head, I’d still branded him a child molester.

When it comes to offenses of a sexual nature, especially when they involve a minor, as soon as someone is implicated it becomes very hard to forget the accusations, even when someone is found guilty. I have no idea why the young lady involved would lie about such a thing, but it happens a lot.

I’m by NO means a fan of Neil and Christine Hamilton, but what is it you remember about those two? Is it Mr. Hamilton’s political career, or their desperate attempts to shake their image off on a number of reality TV shows? Or is it the fact that they were both accused of rape by a young woman in 2001? As it happens, that woman served a prison sentence for perverting the course of justice with her entirely false accusations, but does anyone know about that? I doubt many do.

When people make false claims, it allows them to wield a certain amount of power over others, and what’s perhaps even more damaging, is that it adds to our culture of victim blame. What happens to the next person, a genuine victim, who isn’t believed because of too many people crying wolf and leaving the general public jaded?

And the fact that there is no anonymity in place for people who’ve been accused is another huge problem. Had Michale Le Vell been allowed a closed trial, he wouldn’t have been dragged through the media and his very downtrodden image wouldn’t be synonymous with a slew of headlines proclaiming him to be something he’s now been proved not to be, without reasonable doubt.

Michael Le Vell has been proven innocent by a jury, and the way that our criminal justice system works means that we must believe that. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that, but I suspect he’s going to find it very difficult to shake the branding that has been placed on him. There will always be doubt, people scrutinizing him, strangers pulling their kids away from him with an almost imperceptible tug at the sleeve.

So, despite the fact that Mr. Le Vell is very much innocent, to many people he will always be considered guilty.

Mud sticks.


What’s in a name?

When I was pregnant with Sausage, I think I drove my husband a little bit mental with the name-choosing process. I pretty much ruled out any name which already belonged to anyone I had ever known, save for the potential of naming her after a relative. I also ruled out any names which gave her ridiculous initials, rhymed with anything which could be used against her (probably from years of being called Jayne the Pain/Bane/Drain by idiots with limited wit) or belonged to a celebrity who I found objectionable. I also ruled out any names which I felt may be prohibitive to her as an adult. Nobody wants to be treated by a Doctor or represented by a Lawyer with an overly twee name like Precious, surely?!

What I am trying to say is that we thought seriously hard about the name we gave her.

Which is why some people’s choice of name for their offspring really makes me see red.

My husband and I got married in the Maldives and on our way home, there was a kid on the plane, and it doesn’t help that he was an irritating devil-child with whom I was stuck in a pressurised metal tube for 11 hours, and his name was…wait for it…Skylash. Seriously.

I hope I don’t offend any of my readers, but I really feel that people should THINK about what they name their kids. Parents who choose certain names for their kids, just because they like it are utterly, utterly selfish, and deserve to be told such.

Let’s take Sarah Palin. Now, I know Palin bashing is a bit trendy at the moment, and I don’t give a shit about the crazy bitch’s politics, but she named her kids Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper. Aren’t those first two the names of classes taken in American high schools? I’m guessing she’s also never been to Bristol in England…if there was ever a place which you wouldn’t want to name your kid after, Bristol is high on the list.

I’m not going to do the whole “look at this list of ridiculous names that celebrities give their kids”, cause let’s face it, we’d be here all day.

But what is on the minds of these people, when they look at a tiny, beautiful, vulnerable baby and think “I know! I’ll name my kid Audio Science” (That’s Shannyn Sossamon’s son, just in case you wondered) Do they not worry about the bullying, the derision and the barriers that their kids will undoubtably face, because of their arrogance and their need to be different?

I know we can’t live in a world where everyone has the same name, and I wouldn’t want to, I enjoy and embrace diversity. But I think that when it comes to kids names, there is an extremely fine line between diversity and flat-out cruelty.

When we chose the name for Sausage that we were finally happy with, though it’s a traditional and old-fashioned name, we still received some opposition, people who thought she’d grow up to hate her name. And to an extent, I suppose I have to hold my hands up to a degree of that arrogance, the part of me that said “Well I like it, so I don’t care if anyone else does”. I guess that happens when anyone names a child, regardless of how popular or traditional the name is.

All I’m asking is that we at least give the kids a chance…you know?

I’d love to know where you all stand on this, do you think I’m being over the top, or do you agree? What is the strangest name you’ve heard? Have any of you given your kids out of the ordinary names, and faced adversity? Please comment and let me know!