By Sunny Hundal
May 16th 2012
Did you know that British Pakistani women don’t get raped by British Pakistani men? Neither did I, because it’s not true. It is more likely in fact that most sexually abused British Pakistani women suffer at the hands of British-Pakistani men, since rape cases usually involve people who know each other.
The case of gangs of British-Pakistani men grooming and raping young white girls in Bradford should be a cause of huge concern to all of us. And yes, sometimes it is political correctness gone mad when the police and social services ignore cries of help for risk of looking racist (which they clearly did).
I’m not new to this issue: I’ve been saying for nearly a decade that this problem needs to be exposed and rooted out or it will get worse. Nevertheless, some accusations and assumptions about this case have annoyed me.
Accusation 1: It’s about their ‘culture’
Broadly, this can mean only two things: they targeted white girls because of their race, or their culture encourages this sort of behaviour. Both of these miss the wood for the trees.
No doubt these men felt it was OK to exploit white girls. But don’t think for a second they had any regard for Asian women either. Misogynists rarely make racial distinctions – they are willing to exploit any woman that comes their way. They just found it easier to groom and rape white girls in this case. They may be racist too – but I highly doubt that was theirmotivation for this crime
The second argument implies something in their culture encourages such behaviour towards white women. But does it really? Thousands of women in Pakistan get trafficked and/or raped every year. They definitely don’t get special consideration in the culture.
Or is the implication that Pakistani culture (or Islam itself, if you’re Melanie Phillips or David Aaranovitch) that is to blame? In which case, is Irish culture in general to blame for what happened in the churches? Is Catholicism overall at fault? Is Judaism to blame for ultra-Orthodox Jews suppressing sexual abuse of kids?
Is ‘white culture’ to blame for this sex abuse ring? I’d like people to spell out what they mean when they blame ‘culture’ and apply the same standards to other cases and groups of people.
Accusation 2: The Asian community should take responsibility
I have spent years arguing that Asians are not a homogenous group any more than white people are. Even Pakistanis aren’t a homogenous group: they speak different languages and live differently.
There isn’t an ‘Asian community’ any more than there is a ‘white community’, and so-called ‘community leaders’ are mostly a bunch of self appointed middle-aged men who want to feel important.
It is not the job of any community to police themselves: it is the job of the police to prevent crime and protect girls from exploitation. Local families should help, obviously, but blaming them all is like saying all Irish, Scottish or Jews are to blame for cases I mentioned above.
And how many families want to get involved against or deal with people who deal drugs and move about in gangs?
Accusation 3: We shouldn’t be afraid to say its a Pakistani problem
Sure it is – if you just want to concentrate on one type of crime in one area over a specific period of time. But sexual violence in the UK is rife. Lots of white men do it too – just in different contexts. So why do the same people not get heated about that? Why not get heated an angry about internet grooming?
Why not call for legislation to deal with domestic violence, rape, grooming and molestation? Why do these people suddenly find their morality when Asian men are involved, and focus just on those kinds of sex crimes?
Accusation 4: Liberals have said nothing for years
Like night follows day, almost every incident is used by right-wing political commentators to score points. According to Ed West for example, liberals have kept quiet about this for years.
Erm, you could have fooled me. Or you could have fooled Adil Ray. The BBC Asian Network too has covered this issue repeatedly. In 2006 a group of Muslims clerics even issued a warning that children were being abused in Muslim schools and set out to reform institutions.
Furthermore – feminists have been saying for years that sexual violence is endemic and authorities have ignored it (in all areas, not just gang-grooming). Commentators who routinely dismissed feminists in the past regarding rape culture now have the temerity to accuse them of being quiet.
It goes without saying: we need stronger legislation to deal with this problem; the police need to be more pro-active; some people need to stop blaming the girls.
Update: A few have asked what more legislation is required. For a start, there is no criminal offence of ‘on-street grooming’ – though arguably covered by other legislation. Secondly, more needs to be done to deal with the CPS disbelieving many survivors.