Ignoring child abuse – The Rotherham scandal.
In the ‘Rotherham scandal’ as it is being referred to, a total of 1,400 girls, some as young as 11 years were sexually abused from 1997 to 2013. It is shocking to fathom child sexual abuse at such an ‘industrial scale’, as one commentator said, in the UK.
The few times I have written about the sexual abuse of children, I have been accused by some of being a scare-monger. That I am exaggerating the extent of child abuse and that most minors have sex willingly. I have argued often that such young girls are always in an abusive relationship. Researchers have shown time and again that paedophiles play mind games on little girls, making them feel responsible for the ‘relationship’. So confusing is it for the child, than it becomes easier to repress the ugliness of it and say they consented to everything.
This UK story affirmed my belief. That a total of ONE THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED girls were sexually abused and that the abusers got away with it for so long, in this day and age, is appalling.
Professor Alexis Jay who wrote the report incriminating these men was hailed as courageous for ‘confronting the awful truth’ – which, unfortunately, was to do with the race of the men involved. In the UK press, a lot was made of the fact that the exploiters were of Asian-Pakistani extraction.
A lot of commentary hinged on the fact that those in authority failed to act for fear of being viewed as racists. The story being that there was ‘a culture of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat’. That although the police and children’s officers knew what was happening, maintaining peace among the Pakistani and the locals was more important than protecting children against abuse.
Some of these articles bordered on what we would call ‘hate speech’ in Kenya.
The bigger question to me was not the race of the men but why the girls were not believed in the first place?
That a bunch of men, Asian or not, schemed and groomed these young girls, using threats and gifts to gang rape them over such a long time, would never have happened if the girls had been believed when they first reported the incidents.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, paedophiles select their targets carefully and prefer ‘‘passive, quiet, troubled, lonely children from single parent or broken homes’’.
The 1,400 where all white girls from broken homes, some of them were in foster care – having been removed from their troubled homes to a place of safety. They all fitted the bill.
One of the girls interviewed by the BBC had a pitiful story of the torture she endured.
She was from a disrupted family home – no one, even the police she reported to, listened to her. Because of who she was, she was not believed. She had no one to turn to – and her abuse continued for many years.
In fact, most of the girls remained quiet about the abuse.
One of the reasons they were quiet was because these men were vicious, the report said some forced these girls to watch brutal rapes – telling the girls they were next if they told anyone. The men doused one girl in petrol and threatened to light her up if she told.
But other than threats, many girls failed to report for the same reasons that across the world, girls don’t report. They know no one will believe them.
Also, if the child reports several days after the fact, there is no physical evidence of the attack and it becomes hard to belief her story. The question will be ‘Why did you not say when it happened?’ If the abuse has been going on for long, the child’s disclosure is likely to be disjointed and makes it harder for adults to believe.
The UK Rotherham scandal should be a wake up call to all who don’t believe a girl who says she was abused.
It took me back to my primary school days. I remember that we were raised to believe that men were beasts constantly hungry for what a girl had between her legs. I did not know exactly why what we had between our legs was worth all the fuss, but I knew my job was to ward them nasty men away! There was also another message – unless a man grabbed you and pulled you into a bush, the only way to ‘get you’ was to be alone with you. To be alone with a man meant that you were asking for it. There was little empathy in my early years for young girls who were defiled – ‘What was she doing alone with a man?’
This blaming of girls is so strong that I remember when I first employed one of the ladies in the house, the first thing she asked for was a loan to buy a television and battery to run it. I wondered then why she didn’t spend her money on something more useful, like start some money-generating activity. It’s only later that I understood that her children would sneak to the neighbours in her absence to watch television. She was scared that the neighbours would abuse her children, so she bought the television. To keep her daughters safe at home. It was a much wiser use of her money because it gave her peace of mind. If her daughter was raped by the neighbours – the question would be – ‘What was she doing there? She would get no empathy.
This was a line from one of the girls abused at Rotherham : ‘The police said I was asking for it and that I didn’t do myself any favours by hanging around with these men.’
Just imagine a little 12-13 year old trying to explain to mum or the police how she came to be alone with a man. The man claiming she seduced him, she asked for it. Her inability to defend herself, her confusion. Children who are abused always blame themselves, so imagine what such statements do to them.
The UK is certainly facing a wave of soul-searching when it comes to child sexual abuse as men who had high social standing are exposed for abusing children. Jimmy Saville abused small girls throughout his career in the BBC and his stories only came out once he died. Although the girls had reported being abused by this guy in hospitals, no one believed them.
When a child reports inappropriate behaviour of an adult towards them, protect that child with whatever means you have. Behind one such case, are tens of others.