The news from England last week was almost entirely depressing, thanks to a report on the state of the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham. It is a colourless, working-class town in the country's northern region, in size and location roughly comparable to Thailand's town of Khon Kaen. In Rotherham, for the past 16 years, men and gangs groomed, raped, beat and actually trafficked young girls. They were aided, indeed encouraged, by police and social workers.
The acts against the youngsters were often violent, always horrific and almost certainly life-altering. Extreme cases included dousing children with gasoline. "Routine" cases involved making children watch the violence against their peers amid threats of worse if they complained. The worst acts of all were committed when their girls did, in fact, complain to police or child protection agencies. They did nothing.
Rotherham and England will have to sort out for itself this sordid, unforgiveable scandal. In a just world, the pusillanimous police and the craven "protection" agencies would receive equal punishment to the rapists and terrorising gangs. The bad news is that in Rotherham's world, it is entirely possible that no action at all will occur. The men and gangs written in the report authored by Prof Alexis Jay are mostly ethnic Pakistani Muslims. The authorities who refused to uphold both law and justice claim they knew about the crimes but were afraid they might upset what England delicately calls "race relations" if they actually took action against the criminals, to help the victims.
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