Aussie make-up artist recalls being molested by Rolf Harris
Australian make-up artist molested by Rolf Harris recalls hiding from the paedophile entertainer in a cupboard – as she shares a powerful message following his death
- Suzi Dent molested by Rolf Harris in 1986
- Went public with her ordeal four years ago
- Says she has closure following Harris’ death
- Feels for his family and other victims
An Australian make-up artist who was molested by Rolf Harris at the beginning of her career has recalled the harrowing ordeal following his death.
Harris, 93, died in the UK from neck cancer on May 10, less than a decade after he was found guilty of abusing four girls and young women.
Suzi Dent was one of the women who was targeted by the disgraced Australian entertainer and has opened up about the terrifying abuse.
Ms Dent also shared a powerful message for the other victims targeted by Harris, saying she hoped his death would bring some sort of closure to them.
Suzi Dent was a young make-up artist working for Channel Seven when she met Rolf Harris in 1986
Ms Dent, then 23, was over the moon when she was offered a job to work with one of her childhood idols as a make-up artist at a Channel Seven studio in 1986.
But it turned out to be the job from hell when she was forced to hide in a cupboard after being molested by Harris multiple times on set.
Ms Dent was an anonymous character witness in Harris’ trial in the UK a decade ago and helped put him behind bars after he was charged with 12 counts of indecent assault of girls and a young woman between 1968 and 1986.
Despite her horrific encounter, her first thought was for Harris’ wife Alwen and daughter Bindi when news broke of his death on Tuesday night.
‘My heart went out to them to be honest,’ Ms Dent told Sunrise on Wednesday.
‘We have to think about the people who are nearest and dearest to him, even though we know he’s a disgraced paedophile. There are still family who love him.’
Ms Dent said her thoughts also went to Harris’ other victims.
Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris (pictured in the early days of his career) has died aged 93
‘It brings closure to me and I hope that it brings closure to the other victims,’ she said.
‘But because he’s dead doesn’t mean that his other survivors have actually found closure themselves, so I’m hoping and praying that they will and his may be the beginning of their healing journey, if they haven’t started already.
‘Because forgiveness is the gift that we give ourselves.’
She still has vivid memories of the harrowing ordeal at the hands of Harris almost four decades on.
Suzi Dent (pictured) feels for Rolf Harris’ family and his victims following his death
‘I was assaulted by him multiple times on set in front of everybody, when he would just run his hands up my legs and up my shorts and he didn’t stop touching me for the whole day,’ Ms Dent said.
‘At the end of the day, I knew full well that I wasn’t going to go into the little make-up room back with him again to take his make-up off, which was really thick back then because it was video.’
Ms Dent hid in a big cupboard opposite the studio which allowed her to peer down the hallway.
‘When he was leaving, he was standing outside my make-up room to come and have his make-up done and I just hid in the cupboard and then he was escorted outside,’ she said.
‘I stayed in the cupboard until because he was gone, having been molested by him all day, and I didn’t have any back-up from any of the men in the crew is working with, that I needed to look after myself and protect myself.
‘So I stayed in the cupboard for about 10 minutes and when I knew he was absolutely gone, I came out and went back into my room and packed up my kit and that’s when I actually complained about what had been done.’
In 2019, Ms Dent waived her anonymity to publicly tell her harrowing story for the first time.
Suzi Dent was working for Channel Seven at the time when she worked as Rolf Harris’ make-up artists for the day
Suzie Dent (pictured as a younger woman) first broke her silence about her traumatic experience with Rolf Harris in 2019
‘Rolf Harris was the biggest star I’d ever been asked to work with, so I was very excited. I’d watched him on television when I was a little girl,’ she told ABC’s 7.30 at the time.
She froze as Harris repeatedly touched her.
‘I didn’t jump or move or anything like that, because it’s my job as a make-up artist to not upset the talent,’ she recalled.
‘So if I had said something to him or, you know, slapped his hand away – which I might add is not what we did in 1986 – it was not acceptable behaviour for women to stand up for themselves like that, they had to cop it on the chin and grin and bear it and be polite.’
Ms Dent also written a book about her experience, titled Staring Down Rolf Harris, which she hopes will help others.
‘It’s a story about telling your truth and being honest and being brave. I want to encourage other Australian women to tell their story,’ she said.
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