The New York Times reports on Rotherham.
It starts with one victim’s account of how the grooming was done – it started with teenage boys flirting and then older men taking over and closing the doors of the trap.
The rapes started gradually, once a week, then every day: by the war memorial in Clifton Park, in an alley near the bus station, in countless taxis and, once, in an apartment where she was locked naked in a room and had to service half a dozen men lined up outside.
She obliged. How could she not? They knew where she lived. “If you don’t come back, we will rape your mother and make you watch,” they would say.
She finally mustered the courage to tell her mother, right before her 14th birthday. The police came and took away bags of stained clothes as evidence.
But a few days later, they called to say the bags had been lost.
“All of them?” she remembers asking. A check was mailed, 140 pounds, or $232, for loss of property, and the family was discouraged from pressing charges. It was the girl’s word against that of the men. The case was closed.
Well it always is the girl’s word against that of the men, isn’t it. Or it’s the boy’s word against the priest. It turns out that’s not actually a reason to throw up your hands and close the case.
The scale and brutality of the abuse in Rotherham have shocked a country already shaken by a series of child abuse scandals involving celebrities, public officials, clerics and teachers at expensive private schools. The Rotherham report suggests that it continues unchecked among the most vulnerable in British society.
Yet people go on defending their pet celebrity. Never mind that there are several accounts that describe a similar approach! Never mind that he’s been on a list of dudes to avoid for years! He’s our creeper, so shut up! Those women are all sluts, they must be.
…the report also outlined how those victims and parents who did ask for help were mostly let down by the police and social services, despite a great deal of detail known to them for more than a decade, including, in some cases, the names of possible offenders and their license plate numbers.
“Nobody can pretend they didn’t know,” Ms. Jay said in an interview.
Unimpeded, the abuse mushroomed. Over time, investigators found, it evolved from personal gratification to a business opportunity for the men.
So here’s a thought: don’t ignore the allegations. Investigate them.
Some officers and local officials told the investigation that they did not act for fear of being accused of racism. But Ms. Jay said that for years there was an undeniable culture of institutional sexism. Her investigation heard that police referred to victims as “tarts” and to the girls’ abuse as a “lifestyle choice.”
In the minutes of a meeting about a girl who had been raped by five men, a police detective refused to put her into the sexual abuse category, saying he knew she had been “100 percent consensual.” She was 12.
“These girls were often treated with utter contempt,” Ms. Jay said.
It makes me angry.