The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards

The shocking new report exposes the dangerous attitudes that exist in some of the UK's Asian communities

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Tuesday 26 August 2014 19:59 BST
At least 1,400 children were abused in Rotherham over a 16 year
At least 1,400 children were abused in Rotherham over a 16 year period

The report by Professor Alexis Jay into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham is both appalling and yet strangely reassuring. Professor Jay, who is clearly committed to justice and equality for all, has produced her findings without fear or favour. This is new and rare, and I welcome it. Most of the perpetrators were described as “Asian” by the young victims, some only 11 years old.

White experts and officers have for too long been reluctant to confront serious offences committed by black and Asian people. Such extreme tolerance is the result of specious morality, that credo that says investigating such crimes would encourage racism or enrage community activists and leaders, or, worse, make the professionals appear racist. So, instead of saving children who were being gang raped, drugged, assaulted, threatened and terrorised, they chose to protect rapists, abusers, traffickers and drug dealers. And themselves.

I don’t need to state the obvious, but I will. Only a small minority of Asian men are hunting and hurting white girls. Grooming gangs are made up of all races and classes. That said, the Rotherham report will, I hope, stop the apologists and silence their usual denials and pretexts. I mean the anti-racists, academics and time serving public service workers who have been defensive and unwilling to condemn what they should.

I can imagine what the talk will be among Asians in Rotherham today. Good people of course will feel shame. Lots, however, will not, and instead will blame the system or the victims – young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who were lured with cheap gifts and false affection. Such children are seen as trash, low life, by their rapists as well as the authorities, including the police.

The perpetrators are not paedophiles in the normal sense of the word. Racial and cultural odium as much as ugly lust and power drives them to abuse. Most of them are also irreversibly misogynist. It is a lethal mix, this sexist psychopathy.

I partly blame their families and communities. Too many Asian mothers spoil their boys, undervalue their girls, and demean their daughters-in-law. Within some British Asian circles, the West is considered degenerate and immoral. So it’s OK to take their girls and ruin them further. Some of the most fierce rows I have ever had have been with Asian women who hold these disgusting views.

I ask them to think what they would feel if gangs of white men took out their girls, gave them presents, took them places, and then seduced, beat and passed them around. The men might say they were rescuing the girls from oppression, showing them a good time, saving them from a life of forced marriage and all that.

What then, if white Britons tacitly supported and excused the criminals? Well, comes the answer, that's not the same thing. But it is, it is. I tell them about at least three young Asian girls who have thus been entrapped and exploited. “That is their fault. They have become English, so of course these things happen to them.” What to do in the face of such attitudes?

Yes, racists will have further ammunition after this report. Blame those who did what they did, not those who are brave and just enough to expose them. I will always fight for the rights of minorities. But I will not defend the indefensible.

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