Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg

Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg
Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg © Gernot Keller, 2007
Blinkered Justice articles also appear on CrimeTalk and Government In The Lab

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Rochdale child sex gang and attributing blame

In need of affection and attention? (c) Stew Dean
The Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson wrote the following introduction for her article entitled, 'Asian sex gang: young girls betrayed by our fear of racism':
Nine white men are found guilty of grooming young Asian girls, aged between 13 and 15, whom they picked up on the streets of London. The girls were lured with free fish and chips before being raped or pimped as prostitutes. One Asian girl from a children's home was used for sex by 20 men in one night. Police insist the crimes were not "racially motivated". 
Imagine if that story were true. Would you really believe that race was not a hateful factor in those crimes?...
Yes, I would Allison.

My first thoughts were that this is another case of the powerful seeking to control the vulnerable.

In their more balanced article, 'Child sex grooming, the Asian question, The Independent, have posited that it may be a cultural issue but that the evidence suggesting as much is inconclusive. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre acknowledges this.

Might we otherwise perceive this as being males using their power to control and abuse females? 

Recent evidence suggests that 10% of women have been raped and 35% have been sexually assaulted. Yet females rarely take their attacker to court because of our extremely low conviction rates. Just look at the recent Ched Evans rape case and the abuse that the victim suffered following his guilty verdict. These are symptomatic of the inequalities that women face in the name of security and protection.

Do the crimes committed in Rochdale not reflect these inequalities? Might it be a gender issue rather than a race issue? 

Or might it be the way that we 'treat' our children?

Ella Cockbain and Helen Brayley from the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science at University College London suggest that affection, attention and excitement are often enough for girls to succumb to their future abusers. Is this what they lack from parents and society at large?

The mainstream media regularly demonise our children as criminals in waiting. On the street, mainly. Which is where the girls in this case were groomed. But why are they on the street?

Over 18s, no hoodies (c) C Ford
UNICEF UK have studied children's happiness in the UK. They found that children miss the love of parents, who, as well as working the longest hours in Europe may also be working more than one job to provide for their children. They also concluded that there are too few leisure facilities available for children. Affection, attention and excitement.

UNICEF UK has called on the UK government to address these problems. I have not read, seen, or heard anything that might suggest that these issues have been resolved. 

What happened to these girls was abhorrent. It may well be a cultural problem, but if we truly want to protect our girls in the future, we should not jump to rash conclusions without a full consideration of other factors. 

Whilst paedophilia is defined differently, in that paedophiles groom pre-pubescent children, the victims are the same; children. On the street or online, grooming is grooming. 

We do not attribute paedophile rings with being white and European. We look beyond such a simplification. We should so in this case. 

Because then we might see that these girls were not solely betrayed by our fear of racism, but also because of a range of other factors.

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