‘I was the victim of a grooming gang’: a personal story

Helen, who remains anonymous, discusses her experiences as the victim of a grooming gang

Helen contacted Left Foot Forward via the Ex-Muslims Forum after the publication of the report into the Rotherham abuse scandal. She discusses her experiences as the victim of a grooming gang, and speaks out about her sense of betrayal over the failure to address the issues decisively.

One day I ran into a furniture shop in my hometown in the south of England and hid behind a pine wardrobe, breathless, scared and hiding from the man looking for me.

I was at school when this happened, a 16 year old white girl, and my “boyfriend” was 24 and a violent, drug-dealing thug – from his own accounts. He was also of Pakistani Muslim origin.

I was a naïve teenager, from a family where the circumstances could be described as “difficult” at best, especially if my absent father failed to take his medication. My mother struggled to cope with her life, and was often depressed and suicidal. I can look back now and see I was vulnerable, with low self-esteem and desperate to get away from home.

I met Zimmy through Zamir, who I truly believed to be a “friend”, although since friends tend not to take you round to their uncle’s and offer you for sex in exchange for heroin, I can see now that he most definitely was not.

Zimmy was Zamir’s dealer and didn’t hesitate in asking me out, although like “friend”, “out” meant sitting in his Audi smoking a drug I thought was weed but that he later told me was heroin. Being such a good ‘boyfriend’, he also later introduced me to crack.

It was 1996. Looking back I was stupid, but at the time it was an escape from the misery of my family life and I thought everything would be fine. Over the next few weeks Zimmy showered me with gifts, money and drugs, but also started to tell tales of torturing his drug rivals and threatening me and my family:

“If you leave me I’ll burn your house down and only rescue you”; “You know too much about me now so if you leave me I’ll have to kill you”; “If you ever leave I’ll shoot you and leave you on the side of the M40”; “You are going to leave your family, and I’ll give you a nice flat in Reading”.

I was groomed. He targeted me, identified my vulnerability, and groomed me to be little more than meat for him to use and pass around. He deliberately got me addicted to heroin so I would be dependent on him.

Suddenly, his plan to force me to go and live in Reading, away from my family and friends, was all he wanted, so I started avoiding him, and situations like the one where I was hiding in shops to avoid him hunting me down began to happen.

It all came to a head one night when I was in a café and he came in and demanded I left with him. The café was full of Pakistani men, I was there with a “friend”- I didn’t like going home at night. I was terrified of what Zimmy would do to me, I told him I wouldn’t go, but no-one at all stood up for me and I was asked to leave.

As soon as I got in his car I asked him not to leave our town, but he left and started driving toward Heathrow on the M40. I knew he was going to shoot me – I knew too much about his businesses, so I acted as bubbly and friendly as I could. I thought that if I showed fear, he’d act accordingly and kill me.

He pulled over to the side of the motorway, and made me get out, and made me kneel on the side of the road. I waited, and then he drove off and left, and I never saw him again. I think he just wanted to scare me.

So it makes me really angry, when I see that this type of criminal behaviour and so much more was looked upon as nothing, as incidental, as deserved to the poor girls this has happened to.

I know how much power over me Zimmy had, and how scared I was, and to find out that this has been brushed aside in more than 1400 cases by people whose job it was to intervene in children as young as 11 – in just one town, is unbelieveable.

These people involved with this, passing me on to others, threatening me, getting me hooked on drugs, yes they were all Pakistani Muslim, but they were a criminal minority subculture. They did not represent the vast majority of Muslims in Britain. In fact, they were racist towards all other ethnicities and despised other Muslims who were integrating.

I was with a friend (yes a proper friend, who sees that you get home safely and looks out for you and after you), a Pakistani Muslim who owned a market stall, and we were walking through our town centre. He was attacked by a gang of Pakistani Muslims who beat him up for the sole reason that he was mixing with white people.

The Left has a responsibility to stand up for the most vulnerable people in our society.To stand against abuse and against bigotry. But this is not what has happened.

We learn that there may have been a culture of silence within Labour over this issue, and that a House of Commons Committee is going to investigate exactly what they knew and why they didn’t act more aggressively.

Denis McShane says he was forced into making a ‘grovelling climb down’ after he raised these issues out of fear of them affecting ‘community cohesion’. And herein lays the tragic irony. By sweeping the issue under the carpet, the Left actually damaged community cohesion and betrayed the girls who were being victimised. Ann Cryer says she was shunned by parts of Labour for raising the matter of grooming gangs.

Labour’s culture of denial betrayed the victims and actually served to increase mistrust in society.

When you think that the same pattern of abuse has been happening across England in towns and cities since the 1990s it leaves you horrified.

What horrifies me as well is how Labour and the Left failed to stop this, how they shot the messengers, and how I cannot be sure that the Left is introspecting honestly now about how this could happen. Do we realise how this kind of blindness and cultural relativism has ruined lives, and ethically compromised us in the eyes of many of our supporters?

I was lucky. I escaped from the gang that abused me. I wasn’t just a worthless piece of meat to be used by perverted men who saw me as an inferior ‘kaffir’ girl to be abused without any consequence. I was a human being with the same worth as anyone else. Isn’t the Left supposed to stand up for that principle, to stand up for the vulnerable and the weak, that all people in our society have the light of equal dignity and worth inside them?

Today, I have a family, and a career. I escaped the abuse. I will protect my children from the evil in this world. Other girls are not so lucky. I cannot stop thinking about these girls, and I feel anger that this was allowed to continue, partly because of the failure by institutions that are supposed to protect the weak and vulnerable, rather than look away when they are being abused by cruel men.

Helen grew up in a town in south-east England. She is a Labour party voter in her thirties.

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20 Responses to “‘I was the victim of a grooming gang’: a personal story”

  1. Foullaini

    “What horrifies me as well is how Labour and the Left failed to stop this, how they shot the messengers, and how I cannot be sure that the Left is introspecting honestly now about how this could happen. Do we realise how this kind of blindness and cultural relativism has ruined lives, and ethically compromised us in the eyes of many of our supporters?”

    Nobody should ever vote for them again.

  2. T and A man

    “The Left has a responsibility to stand up for the most vulnerable people in our society.”

    The left doesn’t do responsibility, only rights (without responsibility), The burden of most of societies responsibilities is left to the most despicable of people of all, White heterosexual males.

  3. sgide

    This will probably come as a shock to you but poor, troubled white girls or boys are at the bottom of the victim hierarchy that the left has constructed. Brown people, whatever race or religion, wealthy or not, will always trump white people. This is one technique the left uses to carve up society to serve their divide and conquer ideology.

  4. carpetburn

    “These people involved with this, passing me on to others, threatening me, getting me hooked on drugs, yes they were all Pakistani Muslim, but they were a criminal minority subculture” – This is the most disturbing aspect of this phenomenon. They are the pakistani equivalent of the white chav or the black drug dealing gangster in the inner city.

    The black and white criminal counterparts of these perpetrators are no doubt dealing drugs and sleeping with multiple partners. However very few will be sleeping with under-age girls. They still have the moral fortitude to know that being a nonce is inherently wrong and will most likely see them attain an outcast status within their peer group. The white paedophiles that are caught being nonces are usually loners, social outcasts and look the part of the nonce. And when they are organised into groups it’s a big collection of these socially outcast nonces. They are the outliers rather than the mainstream of the english community.

    This is in stark comparison to these pakistani nonces. They are dressed in fashionable inner city hip hop sports attire and are in every way the mainstream of their societies rather than outliers and are the drug dealing gangster counterparts of their white and black contemporaries in the inner cities. So to an extent this behaviour appears to have been normalised rather than marginalised in this section of the community.

  5. Just Visiting

    “I was intimidated and branded a racist for bringing Rochdale abuse gang to justice, says prosecutor ”

    Nazir Afzal, “As the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West, I led the teams that
    brought the so-called Rochdale Grooming Gang to justice in 2012 for
    abusing up to 47 girls.

    “My work saw me go up against not only the offenders, but those who tried
    to intimidate me for bringing abusers before the courts. They said I had
    given racists a stick with which to beat minorities – I said our
    communities should be carrying their own sticks.”

    Back in 2012: the Guardian wrote:
    “Nazir Afzal … famously reopened the case against the
    gang of Asian men that groomed young girls for sex, shortly after his
    appointment as head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the north-west of England. … And white professionals’ oversensitivity to political correctness and fear of appearing racist may well have contributed to justice being stalled.”

    Nazir Afzal looks like one of the good guys.

  6. Ortega

    However very few will be sleeping with under-age girls.

    What makes you say that? Under-age sex in this country is already fairly normalised let alone in poor areas and leaving aside any gang aspect. Research has also shown that girls who associate with gang members are likely to be pressured or forced into sex. The difference is that these Pakistani gangs can’t pimp out girls from their own community to any large extent, because of the social conservatism. Whereas black and white gangs can get hold of girls from their own community.

  7. Fearitself73

    “Brown people, whatever race or religion, wealthy or not, will always trump white people”

    Speaking as a 41 year old Brown person who spent all of his life in Britain, a majority white nation, I’m dubious about the veracity of your statement…

  8. anon

    Helen is a Labour party voter… yes the same Labour party who placed muslims above working class white girls and enabled all this abuse in the first place.

  9. carpetburn

    Under age sex is normalised for blacks and whites in poor areas yes, but black and white men into crime will have sex with teenagers, when they are teenagers at the same age as the females

    You don’t get blacks or whites in their 20’s 30’s and 40’s pimping girls at least not under age, its bad for business you don’t want the reputation of being a nonce. They will attain an outlier outcast status for engaging in these activities. Therefore it is marginalised. And I have had first hand experience of this without needing to look at research.

    A sexually repressed and over protective religious culture leads to pakistanis being sexually under developed in comparison to their english and afro-Caribbean counterparts in the inner cities. When they get to their early 20’s and are free of their religious cocoon to an extent they are able to start looking at potential sexual partners. But their sexual maturity
    is extremely under developed in comparison to their white and black
    counterparts who had sex with teenage girls at the appropriate time
    (when they were teenagers). And sexually mature women in their early
    20’s aren’t interested in sexually repressed immature pakistanis so
    they have to target immature teenagers and children who are at the
    same stage of sexual maturity as themselves.

  10. Ortega

    Under age sex is normalised for blacks and whites in poor areas yes, but black and white men into crime will have sex with teenagers, when they are teenagers at the same age as the females

    I’ve known numerous teenage girls when I was younger who had sex with men in their late 20s and early 30s, and that was without any gang aspect. I know this is a really terrible thing to say, but in poor areas girls do appear to age much quicker facially and often the ones considered most conventionally attractive are going to be in their teens.

    However, I do agree with your overall point. What I was trying to convey was that these groomings aren’t “hate crimes” and that Pakistani gangs aren’t more violent or evil that white/black gangs.

  11. carpetburn

    Yes you have men in their twenties and thirties having sex with girls in their teens. By teens I mean over 16 and over. Under 16 and you are a nonce and you will lose the respect of your peers if you are from the black or white english community. You will also bee seen as slightly weird anyway due to going for a younger woman and not being able to successfully engage with some-one at your own level of maturity.

    All criminal gangs are as bad as each other to an extent but with this particular phenomenon it has become normalised in the worst possible section of Pakistani society. And I would disagree that these aren’t hate crimes. They main motivation is money and sex but they are also brutal racist rapes, torture and murder on a massive scale, deliberately targeting the weakest sections of the English community. 5-10% of the English female population of Rotherham between the ages of 10-30 has been the victim of sexual abuse from a backward pakistani nonce.

    You have an increasingly criminal fragmented society where the more prosperous english working class have moved from the inner cities leaving behind a poorer marginalised and fragmented english working class unable to afford to move who watch the society around them becoming more foreign and less english every day. The balance of power shifts and the criminal element of the pakistani population take advantage in taking over the drugs trade and being able to target these girls due to now having the upper hand. The pakistanis understand that they have the power within the communities in which they live and are able to organise across religious lines and so have intimidated the local English into accepting their power over many years. They also have the advantage of organisation along religious lines in comparison to the poor white working class who have learned long ago that fighting is useless and will only get you a beating due to the pakistanis being able to call on re-enforcements and organise quicker. They are now able to target these under-age girls and go for the weakest families in their immediate area, The ones they know have little extended family or friends to support them and have social problems to match. An example being a single mother in Telford who had to leave her daughter at home at times. The pakistani nonce would note when the mother left then go over and rape the young girl in her own home repeatedly. Another example is a young single child in oxford brought up by parents with learning difficulties. These c**ts know that the parents will have little power to resist or indeed comprehend what is happening. Its a sick, depraved, backward, racist, exploitative state of mind to be actively looking for the weakest members of a community to target for abuse.

  12. Right

    The call this left foot forward and they let you keep this clearly racist and homophobic comment up here , and I think you’ll find that it’s not white heterosexual males that are guided by a peadophillic, sexist and ridiculously barbaric Neanderthal religion called islam.

  13. Ortega

    And I would disagree that these aren’t hate crimes. They main motivation is money and sex

    If their main motivation is money and sex then they’re not hate crimes. Bigoted language is often used by people as a means of intimidation rather than expressing deeply held prejudices. These gangs have been involved in abusing Pakistani girls but to a much lesser extent because of these girls having less freedom of movement.

  14. carpetburn

    You seem to be placing a lot of value on convincing yourself that the least motivating factor for these backward pakistani nonce c**ts is racism rather than the fact that you now have large dangerous sections of criminal pakistanis roaming around britain for whom the rape, torture and murder of 11 year old english girls is a normal activity.

  15. carpetburn

    And I’m sorry I though we were discussing a hate crime in the truest sense of the word rather than some watered down legal definition. These crimes are the worst of the worst in terms of a hate crime in the truest sense of the word and are motivated by racism, evil, money, sex, degradation and exploitation.

  16. Jay Punker

    The girls were SPECIFICALLY targeted because they were white and were constantly called ‘white trash’.
    How is that not a hate crime? Because the victims were white?

  17. Ortega

    The girls were SPECIFICALLY targeted because they were white

    No they were targeted because they were vulnerable. Most people in Rotheram are white. Additionally, when you take into account the cultural conservatism within Pakistani communities that would prevent many Pakistani girls from being groomed, the fact that most of the victims were white isn’t that remarkable.

    were constantly called ‘white trash’.

    “White trash” is a label invented by white people to stigmatise poor white people. By society’s definition they were “white trash”, so it’s not surprising that these gangs used it. If anything the phrase is more insulting to non-white people because it assumes the default state of white people is to be wealthy.

  18. Giles

    Well, I read an interview with a girl forced to recruit. She was told to choose only white victims. And many victims testify to the racial and religious hatred. True that wasn’t a factor for the Muslim victims of some gangs but stop denying the evident role of race hate. You just illustrate the left’s bottomless capacity for denial. As for all this talk of “vulnerable girls” it’s obscene nonsense. You had middle class virgins from loving families raped too. All girls are vulnerable to these gangs. Kudos to this site for putting lefties in contact with the real world.

  19. RodPolisher

    The left knew about the problems yet chose to ignore them as they could rely on vote banks from the Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslim communities. They even corrupted the language used and instead of describing these criminals accurately as Pakistani or Bangladeshi Muslims, they fudged the issue and used the politically-correct term “Asian”. No matter that this tarred the generally law-abiding Hindu and Sikh communities, not to mention the Chinese, Buddhists etc who are also “Asian” but not involved in rape, paedophilia and nonce-sense.

    In fact Hindu and Sikh organisations complained about the use of the term “Asian” in cases of grooming, rape and sexual assault but their complaints were ignored. Probably because they are not going round blowing things up, beheading people etc.



  20. RodPolisher

    Muslims follow the teachings of their prophet. He is called “al-insaan al-kamil” which translates to “the perfect man whose examples are to be emulated”. He married his “wife” Aisha when she was 6 and consummated the “marriage” when she was 9! Also, non-Muslims are referred to as “kuffar”, a derogatory term meaning infidel and worse. There is Koranic guidance and also in the “Hadith” (the sayings, teachings and deeds of Mohammed) where non-Muslims are taken as sexual slaves. As the Koran is the pure unadulterated word of Allah as revealed to him by the Angel Gabriel, they sure aren’t going to change a single letter of it. Once you understand these things, then you can understand why some Muslims behave in this criminal and repugnant manner.

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