Sarah Champion was wrong to pinpoint the perpetrators' race. Whether it's in Rotherham, Rochdale or Newcastle, the solution lies in listening to young womenby Nicholas Blincoe / August 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
The MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, resigned from her front bench post this week, brought down by an article she wrote for the Sun which included the line, “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.” The job of being the MP for Rotherham will always be shaped by the Rotherham abuse cases. In two trials, in 2010 and 2016, eight men of Pakistani origin and two white English women were convicted of the most serious sexual crimes going back to 1997. The official report estimates there were 1400 victims, many “barely pubescent.” The chief whistle-blower, a youth worker named Jayne Senior, places the figure closer to 1700. It was the shadow of this case that led the Sun to invite Champion to comment on a similar case in Newcastle that saw seventeen men, most of Muslim Pakistani heritage, and a single white British woman convicted of nearly one hundred offenses.
Jayne Senior’s account of the Rotherham scandal, “Broken and Betrayed,” is heart-breaking not only for its account of the severity of the abuse, but for the details of the authorities’ attempts to first ignore the crimes and, when that became impossible, to actively subvert the investigations. At one point, Senior’s offices were raided, her files stolen, and her team silenced with reprimands and sackings. Sarah Champion was not the town’s MP during the darkest days: she won the seat in a 2012 bye-election after the sitting MP, Dennis MacShane, was convicted of and imprisoned for expenses fraud.
MacShane has stated that no one ever came to him about an abuse problem in Rotherham. Senior contradicts him, stating she personally wrote him a paper ahead of a conference they attended together on child grooming. MacShane has also claimed he was deterred by “not wanting to rock the multicultural boat.” Senior has dealt with this claim, too, showing that the authorities ignored the girls not out of sensitivity for the Asian men, but from contempt for the women, who they saw as slags. Again and again, it was claimed that the girls had brought misfortune on their own heads. Far from being motivated by liberal sensitivities, the authorities’ cover-up was motivated by fear. The police and social services were criminally culpable for the fate of the young women, as three official reports have shown, and they acted to keep the abuse secret.