“It is the tip of the iceberg and the issue is one that many still do not like to talk about. And then most only want to talk about ‘the others’ not the responsibility of concerning CSE in their own community.
Back in 1986 ChildWatch – an organisation I worked alongside at its inception – constantly campaigned and warned that Britain was ignoring the true scale and nature of CSE. They warned about all sections of society ignoring the issue. They warned against society collectively closing its eyes and ears and saying it only happens elsewhere.They warned about the lack of investment and publicity and awareness concerning the issue of real intervention. They warned about an inadequate system of practical and legal support and prevention. They warned about victims not being listened to. They warned about Britain not wanting to address CSE because we didn’t want to admit it was a national plague. And what did they – get shouted down. And not only by those in power, but by a society that didn’t want to believe it was a major problem because it was too odious to contemplate as being true – not in Britain they said – we are country that cares.
Let’s be honest the people of Rotherham – like elsewhere – have only taken notice because it has hit the headlines in the own back yard. Before it did they went about their daily lives in self assured innocence and ignorance and oblivious to the scale of the issue. Before the outrage hit the headlines they had the misplaced belief it only happens in other places. And before the true nature and scale became apparent they just couldn’t accept the fact – that Britain has a nation closes its eyes and ears – it is after all the British way.
Of course now every ones up in arms – and rightly so. Everyone is calling for justice. Everyone is pointing fingers and saying ‘why didn’t they tell us.’ Everyone is saying ‘how could it happen?’ And everyone is apportioning their own blame’. Many for valid reasons,some for personal gain, and some because they feel guilty because they didn’t listen to the ‘sages of doom’.
For 32 years all over this land I worked with children at risk as well as countless victims of CSE; for 32 years I spoke out and eventually was cast out for what I said and challenged. For 32 years I saw the suffering and injustice. (You can’t say you understand the experience – only victims ever truly can) For 32 years I constantly was accused of exaggerating the problem by all. (Including the vast majority of residents of many towns and cities). And for 32 years I hung my head in shame certain of the fact in this land – Britain – the ordinary people and the powers alike just didn’t want to admit what was going on. ‘Not in Britain.’ they said – ‘we are a nation that cares.’ I wish.
In some parts of Britain CSE is a major issue of a minority within a community’s warped cultural perception. In others it is not and is simply the evil that exists in all regions, all religions all cultures, all races, all sections of society and all classes. (And I mean ALL) But one thing is sure – wherever it emanates from CSE is an issue we are all responsible for; whether that be the actual abusers, those that tolerate or ignore it by their silence / cover up, or those that simply want to use the issue to score short term personal or political points. (The latter I feel – and it is my personal opinion only – offer nothing to a real and long term solution)
Regarding CSE – like many I’m not blind – and I’m not stupid for that matter. (Some would argue on the latter I am wrong but that’s another matter) ‘ I see what has gone on – and still is going on it is evident – in certain minority sections of the Muslim community – just as I see what is going on and is still going on in certain minority sections of the Christian or non religious communities of the land. If there is a cultural element or gender one in an instance of CSE it should be tackled in a focused, in depth, effective and intelligent and honest way openly. (Not used as a political football – but tackled fully and openly) I also see the way victims have been treat and still continue to be treat and dismissed by many sections of the higher echelons of the authorities and legal system and the bullying within these sectors – and it has made me weep – it still does. . But unlike some I (I think Ms May does too) I see the issue of CSE as a holistic moral crusade not a political one. My ethos is simple – wherever an abuser or grooming gang – or peadophile gang as they should be termed in my opinion – exist – they should be tackled with the full force of the law – including new and specific laws without mercy; as should those that conspire to ignore cover up at all levels.
Personally I don’t give a damn about the ‘suddenly concerned’ who sometimes come on here and elsewhere to vent their spleen NOW. (Although there are many exceptions who have offered valuable contributions and done great work on Roth Pol and elsewhere). I don’t give a damn about the ‘new found self righteous’ who take up a thread and add their twopenneth in ‘new found ‘moral indignation’. I don’t give a damn about those that that try to distort the holistic’s of the nature of CSE for personal gain, and gratification. I don’t give a damn about the politicos of all hues who shout and seek political gain or point scoring. I don’t give a damn about individuals that have ‘specific alternative agendas’ and shady ulterior motives, not CSE, as the main concern or focus. All I care about is that the victims EVERYWHERE get the justice they deserve, those who seek to cover up – wherever – are punished in the same way as abusers should be, that the system of prevention and support is overhauled, properly financed and made truly effective, and that people everywhere actually start to accept that CSE is not just an issue that effects a particular region or section of society at any one time, it is an issue that is here and now forever that should be tackled out in the open honestly and with determination.
Finally, if that upsets a few on here who have suddenly found ‘a cause’ ; I don’t give a damn. I’ve been fighting it for well over 30 years. Where were you – with a few valid and appreciated exceptions of course – until the local outrage hit the fan not looking deep enough I guess.”