Reluctant as they are to refer to ethnicity, BBC news had to show us the faces of the latest Muslim men sentenced for child-rape. Six Asians from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Bradford, who groomed two schoolgirls for sex between 2006 and 2012 were jailed this week, 7/9/15 for between three and nineteen and a half years.The Old Bailey heard the abuse carried out in Aylesbury, where the girls were sold to all comers, involved multiples rapes, child prostitution and administering substances to ‘stupefy.’
The defendants received tough words from the beak, at least tough for these days. Referring to girl A, judge John Bevan QC said, ‘For the price of a McDonald’s, a milkshake and cinema ticket, she became ‘liked’ by stall holders in Aylesbury market, taxi and bus drivers.
‘Why these defendants focused their attention on white under-age girls is unexplained,’ he went on presumably with cod naivety,’ but I have no doubt vulnerability played a substantial part in it.
‘If they’d pursued Asian under-age girls, they would have paid a heavy price in their community,’ he said, adding a little more reality to his summing up.
Some of the men convicted were husbands and fathers and what stood out most about their mug shots was the sheer confusion in their eyes. They all looked truly perplexed.
But how could they understand their own behaviour as a crime? The age of consent for girls in Islam is twelve. In their community boys and girls are allowed no contact with each other as they grow up. Teenage boys and men are ferociously sexually repressed, they have no access to sex other than as part of an arranged marriage.
Yet in the UK all around them they see young girls, little girls even, freely walking about half dressed, without any accompanying male relative. In Muslim countries unaccompanied girls and women are available for rape. English girls are often out in the street with friends, frequently drunk and sexually promiscuous from a very early age. Most crucially, not only are they out and about without a male relative, they often seem to have no parents at all. There is no one waiting at home who cares whether they come home or not.
Despite this, most perplexing of all, there are white British people in the form of police and social workers, who arrive very late on the scene, usually years after the rapes have started. They say to the men, ‘these trashy girls out on the streets who can do whatever they like, are very precious to us and if you touch them you will go to prison for a long time.’
It must be hard for anyone from outside British culture, and for many who are not of the liberal middle classes to understand this. They have to try to grasp the idea that although we send paedophiles to prison with alacrity, most sexual taboos are forbidden and regarded with abhorrence by most right thinking people for whom enforced sexual constraint is archaic and as distasteful as racism and sexism.
Perhaps this paradox was best summed up by a commentator of Woman’s Hour last week who was talking about the issue of ‘sexting,’ children sending explicit images of themselves to each other. This was being discussed because a fourteen year old boy had landed up on the sex offenders register for sending a naked photo of himself to another child.
‘You can’t tell teenagers what to do,’ said the voice on Woman’s Hour. No one demurred.
Presumably some people do tell their children not to commit murder, steal or bully, but they probably don’t bother talking about adultery because where sex is concerned they leave their offspring to make up their own little minds and get on with doing what comes naturally.
‘Parents these days don’t want to impose anything onto children,’ a grandmother explained to me recently. The fourteen year sexter old told the BBC that he’d got into that situation because, ‘Everyone does it. It’s something to do.’
Social workers involved in the earlier cases of grooming and rape in Rotherham, Rochdale and Halifax, allowed young girls to be taken from their parents, beaten, intimidated and forced into gang rape and trafficking . This was part ,apparently of ‘a lifestyle choice.’
Last week a report by Radio 5 Live found that thousands of children are sexually abused at school every year. More than 5,500 sex offences in schools across the UK were reported to the police in the last three years, including almost 4,000 indecent assaults and more than 600 rapes. More than 1,500 victims were under thirteen and most were primary and secondary school pupils. One in five of the attacks were carried out by other children and in some cases the victim and abuser were both as young as five.
These figures are very disturbing, especially as many victims are so young and the reported offences took place on school premises, said Jon Brown, head of sexual abuse programmes at the NSPCC.
‘Sadly, we are not surprised,’ he added, ‘As previous NSPCC research has illustrated the scale of abuse committed by young people.’
We have an whole generation of children who are now highly sexualised by free use of the internet allowed by parents or rather non parents who have taken no part in guiding or sheilding them. Children are precious, so precious that we have become a ‘child centered’ society. Unlike the children of Pakistan who have to work from an early age and are totally under the control of their extended families, many kids here are cosseted by parents from infancy to university. Food and beverage companies spend billions on marketing and advertising their products to children and teenagers. Children now have to be given special food, special clothing, and their Christmas fads become front page news.
Yet no one wants to spend time with them, let alone talk to them about serious issues such as being better people, or growing up with moral responsibility. Rather it’s considered more healthy that children are free from such concerns. While our grandparents never mentioned sex because it was a frightening force that had to be kept under control by a strict code of moral compunction, today graphic sex is seen everywhere but never mentioned as a serious subject, freed as it is from all connection to moral values.
It’s not surprising that the foreign men in the dock are perplexed, surprised at receiving harsh sentences for having sex in a country of sexual license, where children are encouraged to own their own bodies and sexually abuse each other if they wish. As a native resident, I am baffled too.