All posts tagged outrage

Widespread sexual abuse in Rotherham has caused outrage – but little action

Published October 6, 2014 by misty534

Rotheram, England

‘If political outrage were currency, Rotherham would be overflowing with cash, action and initiatives to help the survivors.’

If political outrage were currency, Rotherham would be overflowing with cash, action and initiatives to help the survivors. But as I found when I went to make a BBC film about the role of “political correctness” in the child sex-abuse scandal there, it’s not.

As I write, the police have yet to arrest any of the alleged abusers of the women I met. All have reported them. There is no organised support for any of the survivors or their families. The Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service, which offers specialised support to sexual abuse survivors, has a six-month waiting list.

There is no organised campaign for compensation. It is pure chance whether these young women have a decent lawyer to fight their case or not. Many don’t. Some are being threatened anew by their former abusers for speaking out. They compare stories on the phone about who received protection measures from the police after seeking help – and who has been denied them.

Many are still struggling with the council. Holly Archer is 17 now. She was abused from the age of 13 by five men, after the council placed her in foster care – the abusers were all white, incidentally – and the council never tried to stop it. She is trying to get her baby back from the council, which wants to have him adopted. Her mother, Joanne Turner, only found out that Holly’s foster carer had given her the morning-after pill during our interview. Joanne is full of the strength, protective anger and regret of a mother betrayed; she had only sought council help to stop her daughter going off the rails. She struggled to challenge the council when she realised that no one was stopping these men taking her daughter off for sex. “It’s not a topic they choose to discuss,” she told me. “‘That’s Holly’s decision to make’. They’ve said that since she were 11 or 12 … They condoned it.”

Meeting women like Holly and Joanne, it feels as if they’ve come through a war. In some cases, they’re still in it. Survivors, only in their late teens or 20s now, were numbed by alcohol and drugs through it all. I felt guilty asking them to re-tell their experiences again.

A macho and bullying deal-making culture seemed evident in claims made to me and my producer, Sam Wichelow, that accused councillors and officials of mediating handovers of abducted girls from British Pakistani abusers. A lot of official energy seems to be focused on protecting the citadel of the council and South Yorkshire police. Jessica (not her real name) said police officers called her “whore”, “bitch” and “mistress”. She was 13.

And the dirtiest secret behind it all? Widespread, normalised domestic violence. It was how these young girls were controlled by their rapists – white and Asian. One British Pakistani woman told the Inside Out team it was her community’s “deep dark secret”. This is the community where many of these abusers grew up, and in some cases kept traditional wives while abusing white girls outside.

White adult survivors of sexual abuse in their own homes in the 60s and 70s are coming forward too. I met one who had reported it to police and teachers as a child, and was treated as a troublemaker, not a victim, just like the young women now.

Outrage is cheap. If national politicians really want to make an honest reckoning, they need to make connections: between the things that they say outrage them – like domestic violence and sexual abuse and the treatment of “hard-working” working-class families by officials – and the impact of cuts to legal aid and domestic violence refuges and independent support services.

I was humbled by the bravery of the women of Rotherham I met who are speaking out. But frankly, they’ve been speaking out for years and the people who run things have just not listened. What evidence do we have that anyone’s really listening now?

• Samira Ahmed’s special report on Rotherham is on BBC1 HD tonight (6 October) at 7.30pm.

• Donations can be made to the Rotherham Women’s Counselling service at www.rwcs.org.uk.

The Guardian

Paedophile’s sentence to be reviewed after victim is described in court as “predatory”

Published August 7, 2013 by misty534


Neil Wilson was handed an eight month suspended sentence after admitting he engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl at his home

A prosecutor has come under fire for describing the 13-year-old victim of sexual abuse as  “predatory” and “sexually experienced”.

Paedophile Neil Wilson, 41, was handed an eight month suspended sentence after admitting he engaged in sexual activity with the girl at his home.

He walked free from court on Monday and is to have his sentence reviewed as being possibly unduly lenient.

Prosecutor Robert Colover reportedly told the hearing at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court: “The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced.”

Judge Nigel Peters said he took into account that the girl looked and behaved older than she was when he decided Wilson’s punishment.

But the sentence could be reviewed after the Attorney General agreed to examine the case, and Mr Colover’s comments came under fire.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s insists that young people cannot consent to being abused, while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) described Mr Colover’s comments as “inappropriate”.

Alison Worsley, deputy director of strategy at Barnardo’s, said: “It is difficult to imagine the torment experienced by the vulnerable victims of crimes such as these. Many turn in on themselves and have feelings of shame and even self-loathing on top of the psychological scars inflicted by the abuser.

“It takes immense bravery for these young people to relive their ordeal in a court of law and we must not forget that it is the abuser who is guilty and not the victim.”

A CPS spokesman said: “The language used by prosecution counsel was inappropriate. The transgressor in this case was the defendant and he bears responsibility for his criminal acts.”

Police also found images of child abuse and bestiality at Wilson’s home in Romford, Essex.

Wilson, now living in York, admitted two counts of making extreme pornographic images and one count of sexual activity with a child.

A statement from the Attorney General’s Office read: “The case has been drawn to the attention of this office as a possibly unduly lenient sentence.

“This means it’ll be considered by a law officer (the Attorney or Solicitor General) who will decide whether it should be referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.”

Over 4,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the CPS to investigate the language used by Mr Colover.

The petition, which was started by a woman named Jo who described herself as a “survivor of childhood sexual abuse”, stated: “ It’s unacceptable that the Crown Prosecutor – the person who this young girl was relying on to help get her justice – used this kind of language in court.

“It’s a sad fact that this kind of attitude is commonplace within society and the legal establishment. We need to make a stand and send a clear message: It’s never the child’s fault.”

Freelance journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned for Jane Austen to appear on £10 notes, said the prosecutor’s words were reflective of the sexism in UK society.

She was targeted with relentless abuse and threats on Twitter in the days following her banknote victory.

“This latest incident is the very frontline of the sexism that still pervades UK society,” she told The Independent.

“For two weeks, Twitter has been awash with rape and death threats against women who dare to speak out against abuse.

“The women are accused of ’provoking’ them. Now we have seen where this kind of attitude ends up…”


Huddersfield Daily Examiner