Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Female Body: Battleground of Patriarchy in Rotherham.

30 August 2014
An uncompromising report by Professor Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work in U.K., was published Tuesday last. She was tasked with investigating Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Trafficking allegations in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham in North England. The report holds that over 1400 children below the age of 16, which is the legal age of consent in U.K., were sexually abused over 16 years. The figure is staggering by any measure. A new girl-child was ensnared by groups of men shockingly every fourth day on an average. The modus operandi was simple but lethal; in U.K. they call it “Grooming”. Intended target was plied with gifts, chocolates, alcohol, drugs, and expensive “socialising” until hooked; and then sexually exploited many times over by sharing between groups and even by sending them to other towns in England.

Though the official report has come in now, the journalist who tenaciously brought out enough facts to force government to act latched on to the murky goings roughly 4 years ago. Andrew Norfolk, the investigative journalist for Times, sniffed a strange pattern in the few cases that were brought to the courts wherein the  accused-names were suggestive of a particular religion and country of origin was almost invariably the same. He started digging deeper by talking to police, town-council officials, charity organizations, social workers, etc.; and encountered an awkward reluctance to talk or hedging of words that almost seemed like hitting a wall of silence. This experience only whetted his suspicions and made him work harder to ferret out the “secret”. What he discovered was astounding. There was a deliberate unspoken conspiracy to play down things, hide the tale-tell pattern, and blame and malign the victims as having lose moral character and for being drug abusers. The last, blaming victim, is a universal ruse in any patriarchy, which means practically in every nation of the world, though with varying intensity and outcomes. The conspiracy of silence was born out of misplaced sense of being “politically correct” and not to appear “racist”. That meant a female body had once again been made the battle ground for other “concerns” of patriarchy. This is reminiscent of what is happening in UP-India, where intent to polarise communities using rapes and talk of #LoveJihad is playing out its hideous dance. While situation in UP is at one end of the spectrum of Patriarchy’s abuse of the female body, the Rotherham scandal shows the opposite end. Tragically, Rotherham or UP, women are forced to be the losers. Rotherham stands out as an example of abject failure of those, who had the responsibility to protect the very children and whom they left vulnerable by harbouring egregiously harmful notions of what constitutes being non-communal or non-racial. Early in 2011, Andrew Norfolk wrote, Revealed: conspiracy of silence on UK sex gangs.

A culture of silence that has facilitated the sexual exploitation of hundreds of young British girls by criminal pimping gangs is exposed by The Times today. 
For more than a decade, child protection experts have identified a repeated pattern of sex offending in towns and cities across northern England and the Midlands involving groups of older men who groom and abuse vulnerable girls aged 11 to 16 after befriending them on the street.  Most of the victims are white and most of the convicted offenders are of Pakistani heritage, unlike other known models of child-sex offending in Britain, including child……
The entire series of Times’s reports is behind a pay wall, but one can access what happened at Rotherham in The Guardian article: Failures in Rotherham led to sexual abuse of 1,400 children:”(Jay) Report says failings in political and police leadership contributed to gang rape and trafficking in South Yorkshire”.
Andrew Norfolk’s investigation, Professor Jay’s official report, media and government need to be commended in this instance for the maturity shown in treating this as a reprehensible crime against girl-child; and not allowing patriarchy’s “concerns” of turning it into Religious, Community, or Honour (of whites) issues trump it. The offenders, mostly of Pakistani origin and within that too predominantly from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), must be most severely punished under the applicable British law as the society there would undoubtedly demand. Not only that, even the officialdom shouldn’t escape its punishment for dereliction of duty. More importantly, as Norfolk very wisely points out in his interview by Amanpour, that a serious research is required into the cultural and religious aspects that leads to such male predatory behaviour. For example, no society is innocent of sex-crimes or even paedophilia. Even in Britain, most convicted of CSE are middle-aged white men. Sex crime is peculiarly a male-abomination, but sadly is also informed and mediated by religious and  cultural values, which also change with time. Who is a child? In Britain and many other places, it is anyone below the age of 16, the official age of consent. In some other places when a female child reaches puberty, then she is considered eligible for sex or marriage, or more accurately marriage and sex, if not in law, in practise. In Britain, 11 years is the average age at which girls attain puberty. Did Men of POK origin consider “mature” white girls of “other” religion fair game for their sexual predations? For reaching understanding on such questions, Norfolk urges serious study, which may also reveal best approaches to reduce and curb recurrence of such despicable predatory behaviour.

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