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Rotherham - Obscuring gendered nature of crimes

(17 Posts)
ShirakawaKaede Fri 29-Aug-14 21:34:28

Is anyone else finding it slightly annoying that the nature of the crimes committed in Rotherham are being somewhat obscured by the media referring to this as child abuse (accurate, I suppose, at least in some cases) but failing to mention, except very fleetingly, that the vast majority of the victims were girls, and were raped/sexually abused by men.

The girls were assumed (or this was the excuse given) to be engaging in consensual sex. Some were as young as 11, so this was clearly not the case. They were from 'troubled' backgrounds. There is an air of victim blaming here, as there often is when girls/women report sexual violence. But again, this is obscured when the media is vague about the gendered nature of what was happening.

Sorry if I haven't expressed myself very clearly, btw - I'm better at lurking than commenting!

What does anyone else think? Why has it been reported in this way?

Curwen Fri 29-Aug-14 21:54:54

I have only heard the reports on Radio 4. I don't know how the rest of the media is portraying this. R4 have consistently referred to the victims as being girls, and the perpetrators as men mostly of Pakistani heritage. It was covered on 'Any Questions' tonight in this way.

bodhranbae Fri 29-Aug-14 21:55:37

Inclined to agree that there is immense focus on the ethnicity/religion of the abusers and very little on their gender.

I find the BBC's reporting particularly onerous - they keep showing the same crappy montage of headless/faceless bodies of pubescent girls standing around on dimly lit streets.

CaptChaos Fri 29-Aug-14 22:10:25

ShirakawaKaede I agree, but it took a woman I respect deeply to point this out before I noticed it.

A lot of the girls were from 'troubled' backgrounds, a lot of them weren't though, they were just poor.

We keep avoiding looking at the elephant in the room here. Which is male violence against women and girls is endemic. Sexual violence is endemic against WaG. Yes, NAMALT, but enough are, without a sea change in the way men view sexual crime, nothing will ever be done about it, rape myths have to be countered sufficiently that men can see that women and girls don't routinely lie about it.

CKDexterHaven Fri 29-Aug-14 23:03:47

Found this online, which shows the statistics on the gender of convicted criminals in England and Wales a few years ago -

Of course many crimes committed largely by men (domestic violence and sexual assault) are either unreported or unprosecuted and don't show up in these statistics.

I have a friend who has worked in children's homes for many years in an area of the country that is not ethnically diverse and the grooming of children into prostitution is a hugely common problem regardless of race.

CaptChaos Fri 29-Aug-14 23:10:19

It always has been CK. The stats show that prostituted women start at around age 13, they must be coming from somewhere, so it makes sense. I know for a fact because I knew one of the victims that in a town not far from Rotherham it was white men who were doing the grooming.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Aug-14 23:13:25

Yup. It is annoying.

Partly I think it's the political climate - let's link everything back to immigration angry

But also the fact that large numbers of government employees either didn't care, or didn't have the resources they needed to stop girls being raped for money is a massive problem, and shows how little the lives of those girls were valued.

CKDexterHaven Fri 29-Aug-14 23:18:13

With all the stuff in the news about a certain pop star, I've been reading the threads on Mumsnet about North Wales Children's Homes, Amsterdam and the Elm Guest House. The known and alleged perpetrators there were overwhelmingly white and, in many cases, establishment figures. I think this is a huge problem and the cover-up is also huge.

OutsSelf Sat 30-Aug-14 00:10:11

I've been fuming about this incoherently for days. Incoherent because I can't get over the numbers. 1400 children. In one small town.

And the perpetrators were all men, all of them. Most of the victims were girls, there were some little boys. So all not-men. And that's the world, isn't it? Men, and the Others. Men so busy proving themselves to one another, realising their masculinity in each other's eyes, and everyone else an accessory to that project, caught in the crossfire.

All the bullshit about it being racial or cultural or whatever is just so delluded, so blame shifting. Every single one of those perpetrators was a man living in the UK. That's the only 100% correlation here. I have been alternatively frothing and crying about this, it's just horrifying. I'm glad you started the thread OP and I agree but I'm really struggling with how badly let down we continue to be in this case, for the reasons you say so I might duck out of this one. But what you're saying needs to be said.

TheSameBoat Sat 30-Aug-14 06:17:46

What I find angry is that when rape and sexual assault are perpetrated by non-white men there seems to be far more sympathy for the victims in the comments sections of articles about it.

By putting it down to ethnicity people can avoid talking about the elephant in the room. In fact, the elephant has been part of the furniture for so long I don't think people see it!

JustTheRightBullets Sat 30-Aug-14 08:52:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

qumquat Sat 30-Aug-14 10:12:11

Thanks for starting the thread op. I've been thinking the same thing. A couple of speakers on Any Questions last night on Radio 4 raised these issues, the first time I've seen them raised in the media. I think the 'afraid to be seen as racist' excuse is mainly a Red herring. The cover up is a repeat of Jimmy Saville, children's homes, etc etc, in none of these was race an issue but they were covered up just the same.

ShirakawaKaede Mon 01-Sep-14 18:16:12

Totally agree with everyone here who said that the race issue has been focussed on - it allows idiots people to say 'oh well, it's just foreigners/immigrants/muslims' etc. etc. And ignore the problem: That men of all races/religions/backgrounds commit VAWG.

Also, thinking about what Capt was saying - it's true that not all the girls came from 'troubled' backgrounds, some were just poor. Isn't it funny how either of these two are used as an excuse, almost like 'oh well, she had it coming'.

If it was 'nice' middle class girls who were the victims, would they be so quick to decide that they were having consensual sex??

gincamparidryvermouth Mon 01-Sep-14 18:24:10

it's true that not all the girls came from 'troubled' backgrounds, some were just poor. Isn't it funny how either of these two are used as an excuse, almost like 'oh well, she had it coming'

Yes, absolutely - why do people even mention it? How is it even a factor? People also seem to say things like "It's a complicated situation": no, it isn't complicated. It's men, abusing children. It's irrelevant that the children are poor. It's no more "complicated" or "nuanced" than the rape and abuse of the girls at Chetham's.

CKDexterHaven Mon 01-Sep-14 21:09:37

Just to add to one of my above posts, my friend who works in children's homes says when we call these girls 'troubled' what we really should be saying is their parents are 'troubled'. It's not the children's fault that they were born into abusive, neglectful or criminal families.

Amethyst24 Thu 04-Sep-14 10:47:04

Fortunately, this sensible man from the CPS appears to get it.

CKDexterHaven Thu 04-Sep-14 11:25:53

New account on Twitter addressing this very issue

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