The nine men convicted yesterday of trafficking, raping and sexually exploiting girls as young as thirteen did not commit their crimes because they were Asian, as some parties or news outlets would have you assuming.
They committed their crimes because they were men who chose to traffic, rape and sexually exploit children.
Contrary to the reporting in the Guardian of judge’s statement yesterday, it wasn’t that ‘ in some cases "those girls were raped callously, viciously and violently".’
Because all rapes are vicious, callous and violent.
These girls weren’t raped and sexually exploited because they had ‘chaotic lifestyles’ including being in care. They were abused because these men chose to abuse them.
And these girls continued to be abused because when, four years ago, one of them came forward to the police to report the crimes she had suffered, she was deemed ‘unreliable’. The police and the CPS didn’t pursue the case. How many girls were harmed in the remaining four years? How many girls were harmed because the system refused to believe the testimony of a young, abused and traumatised girl?
This case is not about ethnicity. This case is about the men who choose to abuse women and girls. Those men are identified not by the colour of their skin, the country they were born in, their class or job or status or family or wages or music taste. They’re identified by the fact that they are men who hate women, men who choose to exploit and harm and rape women and girls.
We need to change the conversation when we talk about cases like this. We shouldn’t be talking about race for starters. We should be talking about how we live in a society where violence against women and girls is endemic, is increasing and is ignored. So far this year 3.3 women have been murdered every week as a result of violence against women and girls. Rates of domestic violence have increased since 2010 (http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/domestic-violence-soars-25-in-first.html) and on average 80,000 women and girls are raped every year.
These men raped and exploited these girls because they hate women. And because they could. And because, for so long, we let them.