BBC Woman’s Hour (Wednesday 2.9.15) excelled itself for soft-pedalling and pusillanimity, with an attempted discussion about the sexual grooming of young girls, although it was insisted of course that this problem also involves boys. Invited onto the programme were Cass Harrison, Barnardo’s Deputy Director of Policy no less, and Sophie Humphreys who is, most worryingly, an ‘independent advisor to the government’ on child exploitation in Oxfordshire.
The discussion started with a brief survey of the similarities between Rotherham where 1,400 white girls were abused by Asian men over a sixteen year period and Oxford where almost 400 girls were abused by Muslim men over a similar length of time. The situation in these towns and others was ignored because of ‘cultural sensitivities.’ Some people say that the abuse in the north of England and in Oxford has never really gone away, and it seemed from listening to this BBC feature that those cultural factors and the respect with which Islam has to be treated, which made all the child support agencies and the police blind and dumb, are also still alive and kicking.
From the start the two women were desperate to destroy any idea that UK Muslim men were more guilty than anyone else. Gently prompted they did admit that the abuse had mainly been at the hands and sundry body parts of South Asians.
‘There is no escaping it, many were Asian’ said Ms Harrison but she insisted that, ‘It can happen anywhere, to anyone, from all backgrounds. All communities need to work hard on this,’ and Ms Harrison said, ‘focussing on one community is a risk because you might miss something somewhere else.’
A bit like saying you shouldn’t go all out to beat Ebola in Liberia because you might miss a similar outbreak in the Cotswolds. The cure for sexual abuse they said, was to change our attitude to young people, seeing them more as children, insisting on consent and focussing on ‘prevention,’ ‘Schools’ and ‘outreach programmes,’ on the streets. When pressed by Jane Garvie of Woman’s Hour, who herself has young daughters, Harrison admitted that since the scandal broke in 2013 there is still only one ‘outreach’ person patrolling the streets of Rotherham.
‘Well, more are being trained,’ she added hastily sounding just a tiny bit uncertain.
Sophie Humphreys assured us that in Oxford, ‘there has been a massive sea-change in all agencies,’ and she called on schools to do more. In fact she wants teachers to become parents constantly looking out for, ‘the silent cry for help,’ and referring to a check list of risk signs. Humphreys is one of those unfortunate people who cannot offer information but use a rising cadence so every sentence sounds like a question, not a good person to have on Radio 4 where listeners’ hackles go up at the sound of poor English from native English speakers.
Pressing on but not sounding altogether convinced, Garvie tentatively brought up the thorny issue of taxi drivers. Most of the abusers in the north and Oxford were Asian cab drivers but in the world of these women, cab drivers will be part of their ‘sea-change’ protection programme.
Ms Harrison said that Barnardo’s is now being funded by the government to work with what she calls, ‘The night time economy,’ to get taxi drivers and street cleaners to report anything suspicious they see. She said that if they see anything such as a fourteen year old girl getting into a car with an older man, they should report it to Social Services.We had now entered fantasy land, where denial of the role played by Asian cab men in urban mass child abuse was complete.
No one suggested that anything should be done to tackle the cultural attitudes in the UK Muslim community which led so many of those men to prey on white girls, beating, drugging and raping them. In fact Harrison apparently regarded them with sympathy.
‘A lot more work has to be done,’ she said, ‘to consider how best to support perpetrators and potential perpetrators.’
She means of course Muslim men, I don’t think she was referring to Rolf Harris or any of the other well known elderly Englishmen currently sitting behind bars for fondling young girls at parties, or to the Chelsea Pensioner recently sentenced to twelve months in jail for rubbing himself against a drunken twenty nine year old woman who had stripped off her clothes and climbed into his bed.
If these two charitable ladies are typical of the support agencies now claiming to protect young girls against abuse, there is very little hope for those children.The squeamishness about ethnicity, the cultural cringe about immigrant communities and sheer determination by the liberal left to turn a blind eye to the disgusting social mores of some members of the Muslim community are still there.
This discussion, care of the BBC, showed that those attitudes have merely mutated, they are apologetic for the past but still follow the same pattern, insisting on many agencies being brought in to assist with this matter, while wilfully ignoring the cause. This being the case no one can believe that the abuse on our streets has stopped, more likely it is going on right now and with these people in charge, will never be stopped.