Rotherham UK Residents Search For Answers in U.K. Sex Abuse Scandal.
Redacted from article By ALEXIS FLYNN and NICHOLAS WINNING
Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2014
Residents of this once-prosperous English town are united in their outrage at revelations this week that predatory gangs abused vulnerable girls here with near-impunity for 16 years. But, sorting out why the pattern of abuse remained hidden so long is a different matter.
An independent report issued this week by a local council alleged that nearly 1,400 children and teens in the Rotherham area were victims of sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, a revelation that has sent shock waves through this town of about 250,000. (The interesting fact to me is that Pakistanis constitute just 3% of the population and they were able to intimidate the whole town into fear, silence and obscene “political correctness”!)
The report, citing evidence collected by caseworkers, alleges that children and teens in the area, most of them girls, were raped, beaten, abducted or trafficked to other towns in the north of England. The perpetrators, it said, were mostly men of “Asian” or Pakistani origin.
Until the 2010 convictions of five local men for a range of sexual offenses, there had been few prosecutions in Rotherham. The men’s prosecution and revelations of a more widespread pattern of exploitation have made Rotherham a flashpoint in a string of high-profile abuse allegations across Britain in recent years, some involving celebrities.
Others have uncovered similar sexual-exploitation rings in other English towns and cities. The wave of claims prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to announce a national inquiry last month into how public and private institutions across the country have dealt with abuse claims.
Assigning blame for the litany of institutional failures that allowed the abuse to continue unchecked has pulled Rotherham’s citizens in opposing directions, exposing deep fault lines of class and race. Some residents point the finger at local officials they say were either incompetent or too cozy with politically influential members of the local Pakistani community, which makes up about 3% of the Rotherham population.
Others-mainly Anglo working-class residents-have complained that the main problem was an unwillingness to criticize local Pakistanis for fear of appearing racist . Members of the local Muslim community also condemned the alleged crimes—but at the same time shifted blame to the allegedly lax social mores of the northeast England region. (… Using the centuries-old dodge of blaming the victims and many English are stupid enough and intimidated enough to buy into the argument in a sham of political correctness. Psychologically, one might explore one mm deeper and find that fear of violence from the Muslim community – not a unique event – was a subliminal, undiscussed cowardly factor) jsk
“It’s a chuffing cover-up,” said Roy Haderell, a retired builder, scanning headlines that called for prominent local politicians to resign for their alleged role in the scandal. Pressure mounted from all directions on local leaders.
Prime Minister Cameron was among the chorus of voices clamoring for the resignation of South Yorkshire’s elected police commissioner, Shaun Wright, who headed children’s services in Rotherham Council from 2005 to 2010. Mr. Wright—whose role involves ensuring that the South Yorkshire police force meets the needs of the local community—said late Wednesday that he was resigning from the Labour Party but intends to remain in his role as commissioner. The South Yorkshire police, meanwhile, is conducting its own investigations, having this week admitted that “many mistakes were made” without detailing what they were.
Rotherham is a small town in south Yorkshire whose fortunes have slumped with the death of its steel mills and coal industry. (Let Americans take note as Obama and the EPA chase wind mills and sun beams) Today its main street is dotted with betting parlors, pawn shops and discount stores. The report’s findings have only served to reinforce local residents’ fears that local politicians haven’t put the community’s interests first. Central to those concerns are worries about race.
The Rotherham report itself accused local authorities of “ignoring a politically inconvenient truth” by not pursuing evidence that many of the exploitation claims involved men of Pakistani origin. “If worries about the race card held the authorities back, then that’s outrageous,” said Maxine Baker, a Rotherham resident for nearly 20 years.
Among Rotherham’s Muslim residents similar searching questions were being asked. Clothing store owner Abdul Wahid debated with Masarat Din, a charity worker, about the report’s findings. “They are not Muslims,” said Ms. Din, referring to the men accused of plying young Rotherham girls with alcohol and drugs and then forcing them into exploitative sexual encounters. “These individuals are a minority. They don’t represent our British Muslim community,” she said.
Mr. Wahid said that while their behavior was inexcusable, some of the blame should be lodged with the families of the victims and what he described as a permissive English culture that encouraged such behavior. “They shouldn’t be asking for cigarettes and things like that,” Mr. Wahid said.
(Ah, there it is again. It’s the victim’s fault for bumming cigarettes. Gang rape and sexual slavery naturally follow!) jsk
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