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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Rotherham: what happens when you don't want to be "racist"

BBC Radio 4 - Today, 29/08/2014, Abusers 'targeted care homes' in Rotherham

"Rotherham was most dangerous at night for the hundreds of children who were sexually abused here. Taxis roamed the streets transporting girls around the town, or sometimes further afield.

Among the many astonishing facts revealed this week was that the criminal gangs actively targeted children's homes.

A former care worker who spent four years from 2003 working in homes in Rotherham has told this program how the girls were abused...

Attempts to stop the abuse came to nothing.

One white taxi driver was banned from transporting the girls on suspicion of being a pedophile, but the former care worker says no action was ever taken against drivers of Pakistani descent, who were the main abusers.

He eventually left the care sector, feeling unable to care."

Rotherham sex abuse scandal: we cannot ignore that race played a part in these crimes

"The vast majority of the Rotherham victims were also racially abused.

Ever since the first reports, and subsequent convictions, of so called “Asian grooming gangs” began to appear, a debate has opened up about how to confront the racial element of these crimes. It was inappropriate, many people argued, to explicitly describe them as “Asian” or “Muslim” gangs at all. Others said to even touch on the race of the perpetrators, or the victims, was to itself pander to racism. When I first heard the reports, I sympathised with this argument.

I was wrong. There is no longer any debate about what happened in Rotherham. A major British town was turned into a rape camp. The overwhelming majority of the abusers were Asian men, primarily of Pakistani descent. And their victims were overwhelmingly white girls...

In the section that deals specifically with what Jay euphemistically calls “issues of ethnicity”, the report tortuously expands on this. It says, accurately, “there is no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation, and across the UK the greatest numbers of perpetrators of CSE are white men”. But it then goes on to demonstrate that in Rotherham there was indeed a clear link between race and abuse...

This is despite the fact that, as Jay underlines, the perpetrators of crimes of this nature normally select victims of the same ethnic origin. In Rotherham the opposite occurred. Pakistani men targeted white girls so that they could rape them.

But race did not just provide a motivational element in these horrific crimes. It was also a major contributing factor in the perpetrators' ability to get away with their abuse on such a scale for such a long period of time.

The evidence is again damning. As Jay recounts, the abuse was organised in such a way that “it offered career and financial opportunities to young Asian men who got involved”. Yet time and again the racial element of their crimes directly or indirectly obstructed efforts to prevent them.

Local councillors admitted they “believed that by opening up these issues they could be 'giving oxygen' to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion”. Local youngsters confirmed to the Jay inquiry what had been reported to a previous inquiry, namely that ”young people in Rotherham believed at that time that the Police dared not act against Asian youths for fear of allegations of racism”. Several people interviewed by Jay “expressed the general view that ethnic considerations had influenced the policy response of the Council and the Police”. Jay herself states that “messages conveyed by some senior people in the Council and also the Police, were to 'downplay' the ethnic dimensions of child sex exploitation”. Although the report claims not to have found evidence of direct influence on individual cases, it then adds “Unsurprisingly, front line staff appeared to be confused as to what they were supposed to say and do and what would be interpreted as 'racist'”...

Imagine if it came to light that in another region of the country, organised gangs of white men had been systematically engaging in the rape and abuse of black children. The local white community knew about it, but shielded the crimes behind a wall of silence. Officers in the local authority were aware of it, but were told by their political masters to keep quiet about the racial element of the crime for fear of offending their local constituency. Police officers who attempted to investigate where specifically warned by their superiors to ignore any racial aspect to the offences.

There would be a national outcry. The racism inherent in those crimes would not be pushed to the margins, but to the forefront of our enraged response. There would be a full public inquiry, along the lines of Lawrence. And that reaction would be wholly appropriate.

We cannot just ignore racism because it doesn’t fit a neat binary perception of the victim being black and the perpetrator being white. When a Pakistani man calls a white child a “white bitch” because she tries to stop him raping her, that isn’t just horrific sexual abuse, it’s also horrific racial abuse.

Those who tried to cover up the racial aspect of these crimes did so because they feared giving “oxygen” to racists. But what kind of perversion is that? You counter racism by covering up racism?

Rotherham: In the face of such evil, who is the racist now?

"If South Yorkshire Police can mount a raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home in pursuit of evidence linked to a single allegation of child sex abuse 30 years ago, why were South Yorkshire Police incapable of pursuing multiple allegations against multiple men who raped 1,400 children over 16 years?...

Denis MacShane, MP for Rotherham from 1994 to 2012, actually admitted to the BBC’s World At One that “there was a culture of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat, if I may put it like that. Perhaps, yes, as a true Guardian reader and liberal Leftie, I suppose I didn’t want to raise that too hard”...

Equally horrifying is the suggestion that certain Pakistani councillors asked social workers to reveal the addresses of the shelters where some of the abused girls were hiding. The former deputy leader of the council, Jahangir Akhtar, is accused of “ignoring a politically inconvenient truth” by insisting there was not a deep-rooted problem of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators targeting young white girls. The inquiry was told that influential Pakistani councillors acted as “barriers to communication” on grooming issues.

Front-line youth workers who submitted reports in 2002, 2003 and 2006 expressing their alarm at the scale of the child sex-offending say the town hall told them to keep quiet about the ethnicity of the perpetrators in the interests of “community cohesion”.

Fear of appearing racist trumped fears of more children being abused. Not only were negligent officials not prosecuted, they prospered. Shaun Wright, a former Labour councillor who was in charge of Rotherham children’s services during a five-year period when a blind eye was turned to the worst case of mass child abuse in British history, is now South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner...

Powerless white working-class girls were caught between a hateful, imported culture of vicious misogyny on the one hand, and on the other a culture of chauvinism among the police, who regarded them as worthless slags. Officials trained up in diversity and political correctness failed to acknowledge what was effectively white slavery on their doorstep. Much too embarrassing to concede that it wasn’t white people who were committing racist hate crimes in this instance...

The fear of appearing racist was more pressing in official minds than enforcing the law of the land or rescuing terrified children. It is one of the great scandals of our lifetime."


"One 11-year-old known as Child H told police that she and another girl had been sexually assaulted by grown men. Nothing was done. When she was 12, Child H was found in the back of a taxi with a man who had indecent pictures of her on his phone. Despite the full co-operation of her father, who insisted his daughter was being abused, police failed to act. Four months later, Child H was found in a house alone with a group of Pakistani men. What did the police do? They arrested the child for being drunk and disorderly and ignored her abusers...

The Labour Party, in particular, is mired in shame over “cultural sensitivity” in Rotherham. Especially, cynics might point out, a sensitivity to the culture of Muslims whose votes they don’t want to lose...

A recent poll showed that 44 per cent of young Britons believe that Muslims do not share the same values as the rest of the population, while 28 per cent said they felt Britain would be “better off” with fewer Muslims"

One liberal response is to frame this as a class issue and claim this is no different from how child sexual abuse of working class children has always been treated. But there don't seem to be historical statistics backing up this claim (or maybe magnitude doesn't matter - as long as it's happened in the past it's not different right now even if the scale is much bigger)
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