“Bad boyfriends”

This was written on Thursday night… Given that my resolution was to start blogging every day from the beginning of the new parliamentary session, I have 20 minutes to avoid failing within the first 36 hours! I’ve just been (half) watching Question Time and a rather frustrating debate about the men imprisoned this week for grooming, exploiting and abusing teenage girls. I may have missed it but I haven’t heard anyone this week pay tribute to Ann Cryer, who did so much to raise awareness of this during her time as MP for Keighley.
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I’ve worked with CROP, which campaigns against child exploitation, on a couple of cases. Both involved young women (15 year olds) who were groomed by older men, lured away from their families in the Home Counties, brought to Bristol, and suffered various degrees of abuse. Their families feared they were being regularly beaten, and involved in drugs and prostitution. Thankfully both were eventually reunited with their families, and I hope they both got their lives back on track.

Despite the girls being 15 when the abuse started, it was very difficult for their parents to get social services or the police in Essex and the Thames Valley to act, and once they had turned 16 the parents were told that the agencies couldn’t get involved in cases of ‘bad boyfriends’. The police in Bristol were, it has to be said, more helpful as were SW Barnardo’s who kept in regular contact with one of the young women at a time when she was estranged from her family. But others seemed to take the view that the girls, being almost adult, had to be allowed the freedom to make the wrong choices. There was little recognition of their youth and vulnerability, or that what had happened to them went beyond simply choosing a ‘boyfriend’ their parents didn’t like.

I should also say at this point that neither of these cases involved gangs of men, and neither involved Asian men. One of the men was known to have a track record of grooming young women over the internet, but had never been prosecuted and still hasn’t, as far as I know. So although the convictions this week do raise difficult issues about religious/ cultural attitudes towards women that we need to discuss, we shouldn’t see everything through that prism. We also need to look at how vulnerable young women can be protected, not just from gangs who systematically prey on them but fromĀ so-calledĀ ‘bad boyfriends’ too, and where the line between state intervention and state interference should be drawn.

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Comments

  • John Kimble  On May 15, 2012 at 5:33 am

    You appear to have spectacularly missed the point Kerry. “Asian” men (why don’t’ we just say Pakistanis rather than smearing a whole continent and in particular the one billion people form India?), engage in street grooming, trafficking and gang rape, targeting large numbers of the children as young as 11. It’s factory scale rape and paedophilia, carried out from business premises by gangs of older men.

    One drug addicted young idiot allegedly persuading his 16 year old girlfriend to have sex for money to feed a drug habit really isn’t of much relevance (I say allegedly as you offer no proof in your examples or even allegations, just a “fear” of prostitution from the families). What happened to the girls you describe is very unpleasant, but a million miles from the other cases, many of which resulted in suicides, abortions and alleged murders of the girls. Having consensual sex with your 16 year old partner is entirely legal too, whereas having multiple men, some in their 40s and 50s, rape, beat and traffic a 13 year old child is not.

    Interestingly you used the term “teenage girls”, which conveniently makes no distinction between a female a day shy of her 20th birthday and someone celebrating their 13th. It also completely ignores the 11 year old and 12 year old victims of the racists. The headlines today have featured yet another “asian” paedophile today, again openly going after vulnerable 12 year olds. Children grow up fast these days so the difference between being 12 and being 16 is absolutely vast.

    New Labour are the ones who presided over and covered up this abuse of vulnerable girls and therefore aided and abetted these racist paedophiles over the last decade, trying to silence any coverage of the issue. Anyone raising it was branded a racist up until a couple of years ago and you created the sick cultures in our councils and police forces whereby you’d happily let British kids be gang raped every day of the week in preference to upsetting “community relations”. It’s surely no coincidence that action finally starts being taken now you’re out of power.

    I note you correctly mention Ann Cryer, I think you did miss any credit she’s been given as I’ve seen her name pop up many times (you probably spend too much time reading crap in the Guardian who are still busy trying to brush this under the carpet). I’m no fan of the BNP but surely if we’re being completely fair and giving credit where it’s due then the BNP and Channel 4 deserve a lot of credit for trying to raise this issue. Of course, giving credit to the former would then raise the tricky issue of New Labour and its broadcasting arm, the BBC, attempting to imprison Nick Griffin trying to protect these children (yes I know his motives are very questionable, but that doesn’t mean we can deny he’s been the one who’s given the most attention to the issue).

    The way New Labour have handed all this is going to be a huge boost for the far right. To be honest, I sometimes wonder if you lot are trying to get the BNP into power. If we actually treated everyone in society equally and dealt with this issue when it first emerged all those years ago then the BNP wouldn’t be able to gain votes from being almost the only politicians talking about it honestly..

    Anyway it’s nice to see this issue finally being exposed after so long and things starting to change. Lets hope that along with the perpetrators, that some of the politicians, broadcasters and police who’ve protected them also face justice and at the very least lose their jobs.

  • kerrymccarthy  On May 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I don’t think I’ve missed the point at all. I wasn’t blogging about Rochdale, or about gangs grooming/ abusing young girls. I think I made that clear.

    And it’s not just something perpetrated by Pakistani men – you seem to have swallowed the BNP line on that. Perhaps you should spend more time reading the Guardian?

  • John Kimble  On May 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Street grooming is the topic discussed on Question Time and the issue by Cryer and the media all this week, if you’re not willing to talk about it then that’s a shame. Convictions have been almost exclusively of Pakistani men despite all the cover ups, and most others not from there were still from a Muslim background. Pakistani men make up a small percentage of the population of the country, so looking at the proportions of each community committing the offence rather than the basic figures shows an overwhelming pattern, though if you want to sweep it under the carpet then that’s to be expected from your party.

    By the way, I did read the Guardian’s coverage, how else would I know how shameful their coverage was?

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