Rotherham: The Town Where Gang Rape Is ‘a Usual Part of Growing Up’
Britain was shocked by the content of a report published last week describing massive sexual exploitation of teens in and around the town of Rotherham. From police to local politicians, authorities have looked the other way for years as hundreds of youths have been subjected to horrific abuse.
The report, written by Prof. Alexis Jay, found that approximately 1,400 minors were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013—and that’s a “conservative estimate.”
“It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered,” the report states. Even in the dry, factual language of an official report, it is difficult reading.
“One young person told us that ‘gang rape’ was a usual part of growing up in the area of Rotherham in which she lived,” the report states.
This abuse left the victims terribly scared. “The impact sexual exploitation had on them was absolutely devastating,” the report reads.
“Many children repeatedly self-harmed and some became suicidal,” it continues. “They suffered family breakdown and some became homeless. Several years after they had been abused, a disproportionate number were victims of domestic violence, had developed long-standing drug and alcohol addiction, and had parenting difficulties with their own children.”
“Many suffered post-traumatic stress and endured lasting psychological and emotional damage that diminished their capacity to lead normal lives,” the report states. One victim said that “sexual exploitation is like a circle that you can never escape from.”
How could such widespread abuse go on without being noticed for so long? The answer to that question exposes a terrible sickness at just about every level of British society. This is not a problem unique to Rotherham. The report gives us the details for just one town, but this kind of abuse has happened up and down the country.
For many of these girls, the problem began in their families. This probably isn’t the case for all of them—with 1,400 victims, there are bound to be children from all kinds of different backgrounds. But the report found that for 46 percent of them, there was “a history of domestic violence.” In one third of the cases, the children had come to the attention of the authorities prior to the sexual abuse because of “child protection and child neglect.”
In other words, nearly half of children grew up in families where the father, or man around the house, was so abusive that he beat at least one member of the family. In other cases the child was terribly neglected, or had to be protected from her own family members.
These children became desperate for love and affection—to the point that they would do anything to gain what they thought was love from their tormentors.
Andrew Norfolk, the chief investigative reporter at the Times who first broke the story and whose reporting helped bring the scandal to light, described the process of recruiting these girls:
The victims were always aged 12-15, the first contact was in a public place—a shopping mall, a town center, a bus or train station—and a grooming process developed in which girls were initially flattered and excited by the attentions of young men a few years older than them who took an interest, offered the adult thrills of cigarettes, alcohol and rides in flashy cars, then wanted to become their boyfriends.
A sexual relationship developed in which the girl was sooner or later asked to prove her love by sleeping with his best friend, then with more friends. In the worst cases, girls were being taken to ‘parties’ in house [sic] and flats, or put in cars and driven to locations across the country. Always for sex; often violent sex.
Another root cause of this crisis is the number of children “in care”—i.e. being looked after by the local government. Nearly 70,000 children in England are in care. In Rotherham, one third of the victims were being looked after by the state.
The report makes clear that those responsible for the children failed on many accounts. The fact that the government is looking after so many children makes the task very difficult. It’s impossible for the state to provide the love and family environment these children need.
Many children have had to be removed from their families due to parenting failures, but there are also numerous examples of authorities taking children from their parents for no good reason. The result is a care system that can’t properly look after the young people in its care, thousands of children desperate for love, and criminal gangs ready to fill the void.
Then the authorities enter the picture. Or rather, they should have entered the picture, but didn’t. Too many simply didn’t want to know what was happening. The police seemed to treat these girls as adults, capable of making their own decisions in these relationships. They didn’t consider that they were children being emotionally manipulated and intimidated into doing whatever their tormentors wanted.
In another case, the police found one of these victims in a derelict building with some adult males. Her companions were not investigated for child rape—instead she was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
The police give no priority to these kinds of crimes, instead, as the report states, they are “regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime.” Several earlier reports “were ignored and no action was taken to deal with the issues that were identified in them.” Time and again school teachers, taxi drivers and others tried to raise the alarm, but the police refused to listen.
The local authorities also turned a blind eye to what was going on. In the early 2000s, a Home Office official traveled to Rotherham to conduct a report on child sexual exploitation as part of a project investigating several towns. Council officials allegedly tried to bully her into rewriting sections of the report. She was so concerned with the situation that she went straight to the chief constable of the local police. The police were more interested in bullying the official into silence than addressing the problem.
Finally, the council launched a special police raid, according to the Times. However, it was not against any of the abusers, but instead on one of their own offices—to remove incriminating files. Every file used in the official’s report was removed. Records were wiped from computers and the names, address and photographs of the abusers were taken.
The official submitted her report to the Home Office, unedited, but nothing happened. Even now it has not been published.
Ultimately the police and local authorities seemed more concerned with bureaucratic box-ticking, meeting targets, and making themselves look good than they were about the welfare of these young girls.
Britain’s Race Problem
Another important element to the scandal—one of the root causes and a reason it was prevented from coming out—was race and religion.
As the report notes, overall, the perpetrators of child sexual abuse are most likely to be white men. But this particular type of teenage street-grooming is predominantly a Pakistani Muslim problem. That is not something multicultural Britain is comfortable talking about.
This is not just a trend in Rotherham—it has emerged in towns across the country. Similar patterns of abuse by organized groups “largely of Pakistani origin,” as the Times puts it, have been uncovered in Oxford, Rochdale, Derby and Telford. Here’s the evidence as described by Norfolk, the Times’ investigative reporter:
Since 1997, there had been 17 court cases from 13 towns and cities in which two or more men had been convicted of sexual offenses linked to the street-grooming exploitation of young teenage girls. Of the 56 men convicted, three were white and 53 were Asian [in the UK, “Asian” usually means Pakistani or Indian, rather than Chinese]. Of those 53 men, 50 had Muslim names and the vast majority were member of the Pakistani community.
Armed with these indisputable facts, Norforlk began asking questions. “Initial approaches to police forces, local authority social services departments and even the Home Office met with a blank refusal to speak about the issue,” he wrote. “Barnardo’s, the children charity that since the mid-1990s has run specialist projects to support the victims of child sexual exploitation, refused to allow any of its staff to talk to me, even off the record.”
Really there are two problems here. One is that there is a minority of Pakistani Muslims who are willing to act this way. Sarfraz Manzoor, an author who moved from Pakistan to Britain as a child, warned of “communities … across Britain” where “the white world never reaches.”
Many Pakistanis and Muslims in Britain are upstanding members of the community, but the Rotherham report reveals that there are also many who are not. Combine that with the recent “Trojan horse” scandal, where some Muslims in Birmingham tried to use the British school system to fill the minds of young children with extreme Islamist ideology, and it becomes clear that there are whole communities in Britain fighting against the British way of life. After Professor Jay’s report came out, many Muslim leaders strongly condemned the abusers, but undoubtedly some others taught that the whole scandal was a hoax designed to cast Muslims in a bad light.
Jay’s report indicates that Rotherham’s local Pakistani leaders were unwilling to see the problem in their own community. The report says that the former deputy leader of the council, Jahangir Akhtar, himself from the Pakistani community, was “at best naïve, and at worst ignoring a politically inconvenient truth.”
“One senior officer suggested that some influential Pakistani-heritage councilors in Rotherham had acted as barriers” to communication, the report states.
Rotherham’s M.P. during most of that time, Denis MacShane, told the British Broadcasting Corporation, “I think there was a culture of not want [sic] to rock the multicultural community boat, if I may put it like that.”
“Perhaps, yes, as a true Guardian reader and liberal leftie,” MacShane said that he “didn’t want to raise” concerns “too hard.”
“Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so,” states the official report.
A Sex-Crazed Society
There is one final sickness in Britain’s society that, even after this scandal, the nation still refuses to address: its highly sexualized culture.
Britain’s teens are bombarded with sex, even teenage sex, everywhere they go. It’s on billboards, in ads, on tv and even in the books they read at school. The message they’re getting is that sex is everywhere—that everyone, even teens, are having sex all the time. Another message that’s coming across increasingly strongly is that deviant sexual practices are actually normal, common and healthy.
So when a man who is 10 years older tries to push these girls into a sexual relationship, they think it’s normal. When he asks her to sleep with his best friend, she’s not outraged. After all, the biggest thing she’s learned from pop culture about being an adult woman is that she has to be sexy in order to be liked and valued.
Without this “sex-is-everywhere” society, would these teens let these older men talk them into these deviant sexual relationships? Changing the society would not completely stop the problem. They are children—even in a perfect society they would need protection from their parents and authorities. But it would certainly help.
This culture has affected the police and council authorities too. Three council members had to be disciplined for watching pornography on their work computers. One person interviewed by the inquiry said that the council was “a very grubby environment in which to work.” Another said that a colleague’s “barometer re[garding] sexual matters was skewed.”
One of the abusers, married with children and a pregnant wife, got a 14-year-old girl pregnant. The council officials treated the relationship between the teen and the older, married man as perfectly normal. He was even invited along to her antenatal appointments.
The council officials and social workers are steeped in a “don’t judge” philosophy. They are routinely told to treat teenagers as adults capable of making their own decisions when it comes to sex and relationships. These girls can talk to the social workers about contraception or get an abortion and the staff are strictly forbidden, by law, from informing the parents.
When these girls were abused by older men, that same training kicked in. Council officials justified their attempts to squash investigations by saying that they were protecting the children’s privacy.
Many right-wing commentators have, quite rightly, condemned the council for sacrificing these girls because they didn’t want to rock the racial boat. But a read of the official report shows that this warped attitude to teenage sex was an even bigger factor in refusing to face the problem.
This scandal proves that teenagers are not adults. This is another politically incorrect truth that even now no one wants to talk about. They do need the help of parents, or, if they are not around, adult authority figures—especially when it comes to sex and relationships. But the British government, social workers and all of society teach the exact opposite.
These social workers are at the forefront of our “anything goes” society. To them, these young girls were just making a “lifestyle choice” by sleeping with older married men. If they weren’t shocked by this today, then chances are in five or 10 years’ time, the rest of us won’t be either.
‘The Whole Head Is Sick’
“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint,” reads God’s description of our society today. “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment” (Isaiah 1:5-6). Britain’s sick society has completely failed to protect some of its most vulnerable little children.
The report gives 15 more detailed examples of abused girls. Each story is tragic. One girl, for example, was left so convinced of her own worthlessness that she tried to kill herself through “serious overdoses and trying to throw herself in front of cars.” She should have been happily preparing for the rest of her life, instead she wanted to be hit by a car.
Another girl came from an abusive family background with parents who had mental health problems. She was “very naive and desperate for affection.” Instead she was “sexually exploited … by adult males she thought were her boyfriends.”
Multiply that tragedy by 1,400 and you see what has happened in just one city in Britain. What a sick society to allow that to happen. What a weak and faint government and police force to not stop it.
“To avoid rocking the multicultural boat,” local leaders “fed 1,400 children to the sharks,” concluded the Telegraph’s chief interviewer, Allison Pearson.
She’s right. But there is no quick solution to Britain’s head-to-toe sickness. Everything, from the family, to the government, to the whole of society, needs to be fixed.
God does plan to fix all of it. For more on God’s solution to Britain’s problems, read our article “The Hope That Politicians Can’t Give You.”