Why are we blaming girls for the actions of predatory men?

When young boys are raped or molested, no one asks what they did to deserve it.

Grooming

When young boys are raped or molested, no one asks what they did to deserve it

Child sexual abuse is now ‘normal in parts of Greater Manchester’, according to Stockport MP Ann Coffey. Her independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation, released on Thursday, found that it is a ‘real and ongoing problem’ and a change in attitude is needed.

When it was found that police had failed to protect up to 1,400 sexually abused young girls (perhaps even more) in Rotherham, we have all been asking ourselves: why are children being groomed and abused? Why is this being allowed in our country?

But I’ll tell you why. It’s because we don’t care. Sexually abused girls are not seen as actual victims; they are treated as ‘little tarts’ or liars.

When the nine men from Rochdale and Oldham were successfully jailed for sexually grooming young girls, the instant reaction from Muslim and south Asian people was that those men do not represent all the men from that community. Not all Pakistani men are abusers.

Well I’m sorry to break it to you, but those men who viewed the young girls as ‘slags’ and as ‘easy targets’ etc, do share similar values to the other members of their communities. No, not all Muslim or Pakistani men are abusers – there are sick men in every community. But many others do share that mind set.

Don’t believe me? See the comments below (click to zoom in).

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The screenshots are taken from post on the BBC Asian Network’s page on Thursday, when presenter Nihal Arthanayake hosted a discussion show asking ‘Should parents let teenagers dress the way they want?’ Perhaps young girls should start wearing a burqa, as one Saudi cleric suggested – better to be safe than sorry, eh?

Beautician Preeti Vyas said (at 18:30) that there are sick men out there and women (let’s not forget the topic was about teenage girls, not women) should protect themselves as best as they can. But what if a woman is dressed ‘decently’ (whatever that means) – who is to blame for her rape?

Preeti could easily speak out against society; she appears to blame a female for her own abuse. The gang members from Rochdale and some in their communities are singing from the same hymn sheet. These people calling into the show may find rape abhorrent, but they justify it by blaming the victim.

And there is the problem, especially within the south Asian and Muslim communities in particular – it might make me unpopular, but it needs to be said. In fact, I was labelled an ‘Islamophobe’ and ‘sick feminist’ (which I took as a compliment) by one man who believes 15-year-olds should be classed as adults.

I was sitting with a group of Pakistani women who were talking about the Rochdale grooming gangs in 2012. One woman remarked, ‘Why were these girls even out in the first place? Silly tarts.’ Another added, ‘They’re always trying to entrap Asian lads.’ It was these underage girls, these children, who were the predators, not the other way around.

And if you’re a brown girl being abused, people care even less. Not only do you have a lack of confidence in the police because you are raised to believe they are institutionally racist, but your family members try to hush up the crimes once discovered.

This is certainly the view of Shaista Gohir, who believes the communities are allowing the abuse of girls to continue.

The chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, she is making an appeal to victims of sexual abuse by family members to come forward for a new report she is compiling to highlight the extent of the problem.

She said:

“I want to collect case studies within the Muslim community to make them realise that part of the problem is our silence and we’re covering it up. The problem is getting worse and worse. I am hoping the research will get them to be proactive rather than ignoring it.

“I’m finding that women are the barrier to justice – they’re covering it up. Women have been in the know. Isn’t it our fault as a community if we instantly protect the offender and demonise that victim? This happens in all communities but within the Asian culture there’s the shame and honour which results in covering it up.”

I am glad that Ann Coffey highlighted the need to change our attitudes, but I worry that some of her statements could be seen as perpetuating this victim-blaming mentality. She said:

“Sexting, selfies, Instagram and the like have given rise to new social norms in changed expectations of sexual entitlement, and with it a confused understanding of what constitutes consent. I think we have lost the sense of what a child is. Sexual predators out there are having their quite unacceptable views confirmed through messages in the wider media: that children are just sexualised young adults.”

If an older man is sexually attracted to a young girl, that shows there is something wrong with him, not the young child. How is that we are still blaming a child for the actions of predatory men?

A young girl, a child, should not be viewed at in a sexual manner just because she is wearing a crop top, or shoes with a heel higher than an inch, or for wearing lipgloss. I am fairly certain that paedophilia and rape existed long before the invention of the selfie and ‘provocative’ pop videos.

When young boys are raped or molested, no one asks them what they did to deserve it – that question is reserved for those who had the misfortune to be born with a vagina.

And I am sick of the words ‘honour’ and ‘shame’ constantly being used to silence girls for being victims of horrific crimes. The shame lies with the perpetrator, not the victim. Until we stop blaming a girl’s behaviour or clothing for her rape and abuse, we will never end the sexual exploitation of women and girls.

(Anyone can contact Shaista in complete confidence by emailing her on contact@shaistagohir.com or by calling 078022 25989.)

Iram Ramzan is a freelance journalist

12 Responses to “Why are we blaming girls for the actions of predatory men?”

  1. Dave Roberts

    When you ask the question in the title I assume you are not including me. I would like that made clear or James Bloodworth and co will be hearing from my solicitors. Think I’m joking? Try me.

  2. blarg1987

    part of the problem with Rochdale, has been a lack of community involvement over the decades, this has made it difficult to chase after gangs who are from minority backgrounds for fear of being branded racist or even causing racial tensions.

    As a consequence girls were sacrificed to keep the peace instead of encouraging and having active engagement in communities and perusing sex offenders of all race religions and colours.

    Now there has been a big clamp down on such gangs hopefully we have learned the lessons of the past and getting communities involved and arresting many people from many backgrounds so no one group can play the minority card to try and get away with such abuses.

  3. Just Visiting

    The Guardian quotes Nazir Afzal, the Crown Prosecution Service’s lead on child sexual abuse
    > “The Muslim community must accept and address the fact that Asian and Pakistani men are disproportionately involved in “localised, street grooming” of vulnerable girls

    > “We do have an issue with people of our ethnicity and we have to take care of it, we have to deal with it. The solution comes from within. It comes from you,” he told the group of councillors, community workers and campaigners.

  4. KoreanKat

    Oh the irony that all four of the women blaming girls for their dress and spouting off about their ‘modesty,’ do not even wear hijab, thus making them ‘acceptable’ targets of harassment, even rape, among certain more conservative Muslims.

  5. madge hirsch

    What clamp down? Headteachers are still sending letters to parents about gangs of men i cars outside school gates. The liklihood of being prosecuted and jailed for this is minimal.

  6. blarg1987

    You can’t arrest a gang of men for being in car outside a school! To do so would set a slippery president, for example would you arrest a group of men for being in a park because they went to play football?

    The point about schools sending out letters to parents is a step in the right direction which shows they are trying to combat the problem.

    There has been a clampdown overall,why you think their has been operations on destroying paedophile rings?

    The problem is these things take time and behind closed doors they are probably gathering evidence to prosecute many other gangs, however they are not going to broadcast it to give the culprits to cover thing sup are they?

  7. steroflex

    First of all, this is exactly how English society used to be in the 1950s when I was a teenager. Girls then dressed appropriately and they knew that if they wandered the streets in the early hours that they stood a very good chance of being raped. They just didn’t. Earlier on, as Karl Marx noted (among a lot of other writers), young girls went into the sex trade very young indeed.
    Secondly, polygamy must take a fair share of the blame here. If young men, honestly, have not much chance of romance and flirting and mixing with decent and reasonable girls with a view to marriage/partnership/fatherhood because they are all hidden away and offered to polygamous older men, then they will take whatever is going.

  8. JoeDM

    That first paragraph is utter nonsense.

  9. steroflex

    Please read the Communist Manifesto on bourgeois marriage. Did you see Les Miserables? Tried and Dickens lately?
    The important paragraph, actually, was the second which nobody dare even mention but which was once described to me by a West Africa expert as the worst scourge of Africa.

  10. YamalDodgyData

    Attention “right-on” Left-ards you are continuing the denier policies set by Labour

    The following is a quote from THE most senior Islamic scholar resident in a western nation:

    “young girls who do not wear the hijab are like ‘uncovered meat’ who are “just asking for it””

    So can someone tell me how many working class girls are to be sacrificed to maintain the pro-Labour islamic voting bloc ?

    The Bosnian civil war resulted in the molestation of nearly 15,000 women.
    The number of young British girls similarly attacked is estimated to be as high as 40,000.
    Labour’s “multi-cultural” policies have resulted in the worst mass crime since the end of the second world war, even outdoing even the Bosnian civil war.

  11. NO

    “And if you’re a brown girl being abused, people care even less. Not only
    do you have a lack of confidence in the police because you are raised to
    believe they are institutionally racist, but your family members try to
    hush up the crimes once discovered.”

    Hey, let’s stop with the “if you are a brown girl, you have it worse”. That statement is totally unqualified and you know it, but you couldn’t blog about the topic without dragging your tired race comments. How dare you rank sexual abuse victims by race for a fucking politically correct cookie! My family member was gang raped by a bunch of black men who were “out to punish a white bitch” but I bet you are the kind of feminist who would have to side with the rapists cause they are “historically oppressed” and white women are “privileged”.

    You are not much of a feminist, apparently and you obviously don’t care about actual child sexual assault or you wouldn’t be blogging your shallow progressive interpretation of child rape. How bout every rape is terrible and traumatic NO MATTER THE SKIN COLOR? Your stupid neo-Marxist racial analysis is insulting to all sexual assault survivors of all ages and skin tones.

    Think about this:A little pale girl and a darker skinned girl both get raped. One’s mommy is a rich lawyer the others is disabled on welfare. Even if it is the darker child’s mother who is a lawyer, she definitely has it worse than the light skinned raped child who has no legal support or money, amirite?! If I’m a good leftist I will ALWAYS say the darker child “has it worse”. That’s how leftists get their internet cookies and academic back pats these days.

    Please take your neo-Marxist identity politics bs and shove it. How dare you rank child rape by your dumb assumptions about how raped children’s families feel about “institutional racism” ! Goddamn Feminists are OBSESSED with race these days and they are happy to exploit child rape victims so they can blog about “racism”. Get your head out of your ass, you selfish idiot. This is why modern feminism does nothing but exploit rape victims and molested children. Feminists are busy deciding which rape victim “has it worse” based on their fucking skin tone so they can look oh so progressive.

    Intersectionality! They say while exploiting raped children of all colors so they can get politically correct points from their feminist friends. Fuck this type of race obsessed feminst crap.

  12. Nick

    anyone who has ever had dealings with a conservative minister will know full well in that they lie through their teeth

    the young doctors today are not fools as in the past thank god so therefor the game is up for the government

    sure the government will still duck and dive for the rest of their lives but they wont be falling the pros anymore but for those not professional it will be they that will have to pick up the pieces of minapulathion and abuse and all the harm that does

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