British politicians and celebrities can often be heard speaking out against the specters of institutional sexism, white supremacy, and police corruption that haunt the West. But I’ve never heard any of them stand up against one of my country’s most terrifying injustices: its grooming gangs crisis.
Between the mid-1990s and late-2000s, gangs of mostly British Pakistani men abused, gang-raped, and trafficked thousands of underage, white, working-class girls across Britain. Between 1997 and 2013, 1,400 girls were estimated to have been abused in the town of Rotherham alone. Hundreds fell victim to similar child exploitation rings in areas like Rochdale, Peterborough, Newcastle, Oxford, and Bristol.
According to a study by Quilliam, 84% of grooming gang offenders are South Asian, an ethnic group that makes up only 7% of the UK population. Sadly, the ethnicity of many of these offenders is so politically sensitive that it’s often ignored and denied, or the victims themselves are blamed. But to grant these girls justice, it’s important not to shy away from the truth.
The Hidden Truth
In 2010, 17-year-old Laura Wilson was stabbed forty times and thrown in a canal in the English town of Rotherham, by Pakistani man Ashtiaq Asghar. As she fought to stay alive, Asghar used the tip of his knife to force her head beneath the surface. One of her wounds was seven inches deep. “I’m gonna send that kuffar (non-Muslim) bitch straight to Hell,” read a text earlier on from Asghar to Ishaq Hussain, a married man who had impregnated Laura at 16. She’d been groomed by multiple men since she was 11 years old.
Groomed with drugs and alcohol, victims are often passed between friends and family members.
In these sex abuse rings, underage girls are raped by as many as five men at a time and forced to have sex with "several men in a day, several times a week." Groomed with drugs and alcohol, they’re passed between friends and family members, with girls as young as 10 gifted to older men who rape them and become their “boyfriend.”
Britain’s main inquiry into these crimes, known as the Jay Report, reveals the gruesome details of these atrocities. One victim claimed that she was raped by two men while “so drunk she was vomiting over the side of the bed,” before she cried herself to sleep. Another 15 year old “was too drunk to remember being raped by 20 men one after the other.” Some victims even gave birth to the children of their rapists, while others had miscarriages or abortions, including a 13 year old in the town of Rochdale.
Why the Silence?
And yet the British police were mostly indifferent. According to one report, social workers and the authorities knew that a 15-year-old girl, Victoria Agoglia, had been injected with heroin and raped by an Asian man, and yet they failed to intervene. In fact, Victoria’s abusers were able to pick her up to have sex with her and other children from care homes in plain view of officials. She died two months after reporting these crimes.
“What had a massive input was the offending target group were predominantly Asian males and we were told to try and get other ethnicities,” an unnamed police officer admitted in a report commissioned by Greater Manchester. The father of one victim was also told by a chief inspector: “With it being Asians, we can’t afford for this to be coming out as Rotherham would erupt.”
This likely explains why public figures have shown very little sympathy for the victims. “Actually, there’s a strong possibility they would have been raped or abused by someone else at some point,” was the response of singer Lily Allen, when asked by a Twitter user if these crimes were potentially linked to migrants from the Muslim community coming into Britain. “Only white men have sexually assaulted me,” she added.
Those who attempt to speak up are immediately silenced, to protect the reputation of diversity in the UK.
“Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths. For the good of #diversity,” British Labour MP Naz Shah retweeted in 2017. She was later promoted to Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities, where she had the audacity to exclaim that “Women who face sexual abuse often stay silent and suffer alone. They blame themselves for the shame and guilt that they feel.” She turned to our Prime Minister Boris Johnson, asking, “Does he agree with me that any woman, who is subjected to sexual abuse of any kind, should be believed? Yes or no?”
Those who do speak up are immediately silenced, in order to protect the reputation of diversity in the UK. “What the perpetrators have in common is their proclaimed faith,” suggested former British politician Trevor Phillips in 2017. “It is not Islamophobic to point this out, any more than it would be racist to point out that the most active persecutors of LGBT people come from countries where most people are, like me, black.” He was suspended from his party for Islamophobia.
Of course, most child sex offenders in the UK are white males (as to be expected, because they make up the largest proportion of the population). But the problem with grooming gangs is that they’re a very specific type of gang-related crime that disproportionately features an Asian male perpetrator and a white female victim.
Sadly, the ethnicity of many of these offenders is so politically sensitive that it’s often ignored or denied.
It’s also important to note that there’s a range of other factors that could contribute to police indifference and public silence over these gangs. For example, the fact that the girls were mostly working-class may play a role, since they weren’t seen as the “right type of victims.” But, we can’t completely ignore the relevance of ethnicity or religion — particularly after hearing the victims’ testimonies.
“Racially and Religiously Aggravated”
In an interview with TRIGGERnometry, grooming gang victim Dr. Ella Hill describes coming forward to the police after surviving an attempted “honor killing.” She explains the officers’ indifference after she showed them her bruises from violent rape. “There’s nothing we can do about it,’ were their words,” she recalls.
Dr. Hill believes that the problem lies with Britain’s policing system, which is “set up to have protected groups,” which exclude white and non-Muslim people. Police are therefore “looking at it from the perpetrators’ perspective — rather than the victim’s perspective,” she explains.
But, these victims have been “attacked because of their race, and they’ve been attacked because of their religious status, which is a non-Muslim,” Dr. Hill stresses. “When I was being beaten I was being called a ‘white slag’, a ‘white whore’,” she explains. “References to my whiteness were always at the forefront of my perpetrator’s mind.”
When asked how she would define grooming gangs, Dr. Hill is adamant: “It’s racially and religiously aggravated rape...and there are possibly half a million victims over the last 40 years.”
Grooming gangs discredit the idea that white people can’t be victims of racial abuse.
But, because the grooming gangs issue undermines the narrative of “white privilege” and discredits the idea that white people can’t be victims of racial abuse, every attempt is made to spin the truth and protect political correctness.
For example, a recent Home Office Report in December completely obscured the issue. Headlines across the UK announced that “Most child sexual abuse gangs made up of white men,” despite the report stating that there wasn’t enough data to make any significant conclusions, and conceding that most offenders in high-profile cases were Pakistani-Muslim. Another article later found that, when factoring in for comparative population sizes, the data used in the Home Office report actually showed that “Asian men are 20 times more likely to be street groomers than white men.”
If silence really is violence, and to not speak up about injustices is to side with the oppressor — well, the silence of so many in Britain really is deafening.
I want to be proud of my country, but how can I be when these crimes are still going on and the truth is constantly being twisted? Britain is supposed to be a democratic and liberal nation, one which opposes any kind of violence and sexual abuse, and yet political convenience is taking priority over the lives of young girls. Of course, it’s abhorrent to unfairly stereotype or vilify certain ethnic groups — but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore consistent patterns in a serious investigation.
Sadly, the victims of these crimes will never receive justice if nobody stands up for the truth. And, unfortunately, for so many in my country, political correctness will always come first.
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