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Suzi Dent has vivid recollections of what she calls “a nasty day with a grimy outdated man”.
- Suzi Dent testified as an nameless “dangerous character” witness on the trial of Rolf Harris
- Harris was sentenced to virtually six years’ jail on 12 counts of indecent assault of women and younger girls
- Ms Dent has given up her anonymity to encourage others to talk out
That day was greater than 30 years in the past, and the person was disgraced entertainer and convicted paedophile Rolf Harris.
“I had an all-day groping expertise with a person who could not preserve his palms off me,” she informed 7.30.
“It should not have occurred; it was the office. He should not have been allowed to the touch me however he did.”
Ms Dent was an nameless character witness for the prosecution in Harris’s trial on a number of sexual assault counts.
Now she has waived the anonymity the courtroom granted her and is talking publicly for the primary time about that have again in 1986.
‘His nickname is the octopus’
Ms Dent was 24 years outdated and dealing as a make-up artist when she encountered Harris.
“I used to be booked for the job at Channel 7,” she mentioned.
“I knew I used to be going to be working with Rolf Harris. I used to be actually excited as a result of I might watched him on black and white TV with the wobbleboard and he was very well-known.”
However from the second he sat within the make-up chair her impression of him started to alter.
“I used to be carrying dishevelled shorts, and he stored touching me,” she mentioned.
“He’d run each palms up my legs, proper as much as my thighs.
“I used to be carrying a leather-based belt. He would seize the belt and pull me in the direction of him so he might crotch grind, which by no means fairly occurred however he definitely tried.
“Every time I went as much as him he would contact me.
“He was having fun with it, no one was stopping him. There have been males within the studio watching and saying nothing.”
Ms Dent felt there was no approach she might react.
She felt powerless to answer the unwelcome attentions of the worldwide star she needed to take care of on set.
“Rule primary was you do not upset the expertise,” she mentioned.
“So if I had mentioned one thing to him or slapped his hand away, which I have to add isn’t what girls did in 1986, it was not acceptable behaviour for ladies to face up for themselves like that, they needed to cop it on the chin.”
On the finish of the day she talked about what had occurred to a colleague, solely to be informed, “Oh, I assumed you knew, his nickname is the octopus. It is palms all over the place and he is quick”.
‘Dangerous character’ witness
Seventeen years later in 2013, Harris was charged within the UK with 12 counts of indecent assault of women and a younger girl.
Ms Dent was not shocked.
She instantly contacted the UK police to see if she might help the prosecution.
“Me coming ahead, it wasn’t about me, it was a whole no-brainer, I had completely no selection,” she mentioned.
“I got here ahead for the ladies who had been little ladies after they had been molested by Rolf Harris.
“They had been little ladies and there have been different issues that he did that he should not have carried out, bodily issues, invasive issues, that’s simply line crossing.”
She travelled to London and, after being granted anonymity by the courtroom, appeared as what was referred to as a “dangerous character” witness for the prosecution throughout the trial.
“All I needed to do was inform the reality a few man who could not preserve his palms off me, and what it was like and the way he behaved,” Ms Dent mentioned.
Harris has denied all allegations.
Suzi claims different character witnesses on the trial informed of comparable experiences.
“There are girls from, I believe, 4 or 5 totally different nations all over the world who say that it did [happen] and all of us had very related tales,” she mentioned.
“I’ve by no means met any of the ladies.”
Harris was discovered responsible on 12 counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to 5 years and 9 months in jail. He has now been launched on parole.
‘Being trustworthy and being courageous’
Participating within the courtroom case and telling her story in a ebook, Staring Down Rolf Harris, has been empowering for Ms Dent.
She has began working as a public speaker, MC and life coach, and needs different girls to talk up about their very own experiences.
“The ebook is sort of to assist others — it is a story of transformation, about telling your fact and being trustworthy and being courageous,” she mentioned.
“It is nice that the #metoo motion occurred.
“I wish to encourage girls to come back ahead and inform their tales.
“I do know the defamation legal guidelines on this nation should not in favour of that, however we won’t return and be quiet as a result of change does not occur with silence.
“We now have to talk up, we have now to band collectively.”
And what would she say to Harris now, given the possibility?
“I might say disgrace on you for making the most of younger ladies, for making the most of your place as an enormous star,” she mentioned.