By SHAUNA ANDERSON
Warning: This post contains details of rape and sexual abuse and may be distressing for some readers.
Girls shared by groups of men.
Traded, bartered for drugs, money.
Locked naked in rooms and forced to have sex with dozens of men lined up outside.
Transported across the country for gang-rapes.
Victims as young as eleven.
And the sheer number of girls abused – something that is almost too hard to comprehend.
Over 16 years in the town of Rotherham in Southern Yorkshire, England more than 1,400 young women have been abused and raped.
Some tried to speak out but were shut down by authorities who turned a blind eye to the horrors occurring. Others who threatened to speak out were tortured – one girl doused in petrol, her attacker threatening to set her alight.
Others forced to watch – or take part in – brutal gang rapes if they told of what was really going on.
And the perpetrators overwhelmingly men from Asian gangs – predominantly Pakistani.
Unbelievably up until 2013 only one case was prosecuted – involving three teenage girls – and five men were sent to jail. Just five.
The sheer depravity and scale of the abuse came to light last week in a report commissioned by the local council and led by Professor Alexis Jay.
The report said “It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered… No one knows the true scale of the child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.”
Its details shocked a nation, and left the town reeling.
One writer described it as “A major British town was turned into a rape camp”
Professor Alexis Jay’s report highlighted that the abuse suffered by these children was left to continue due to a fear of councillors being labeled racist.
“They seemed to think is was a one-off problem they hoped would go away and several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist”. She said
“Others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”
The reports states “young people in Rotherham believed at that time that the Police dared not act against Asian youths for fear of allegations of racism”.
Several people interviewed by Professor Jay “expressed the general view that ethnic considerations had influenced the policy response of the Council and the Police”.