12:42, August 21 379 0 theguardian.com

2017-08-21 12:42:03
The question of race in child abuse cases

In all of the outrage concerning Sarah Champion, it is important to remember the context of the vulnerable children she is seeking to protect (Shadow equalities minister quits in row over ‘racist’ article on sex abuse, 17 August). Over many years Britain’s children have been abused by a variety of institutional predators. These have included doctors, teachers and celebrities. All these institutions have reviewed practices and now seek to rigorously protect and prevent abuse.

Scrutiny of all instances of abuse must identify assailants who target those with no voice or no protectors. Sarah Champion has given them a voice. She, like them, deserves to be heard.

Sally Bates

Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire

Further to the article on the resignation of Sarah Champion from the Labour front bench, as one of her constituents and a resident of Rotherham I feel that she was right.

The abuse of young girls in the town was able to go on for so long due to the local council’s fear of appearing politically incorrect and racist. While no one who keeps up with news could fail to realise that child abuse is not confined to any one section of society, and indeed seems at times to have become an international sport, it is surely the protection of children that should be paramount rather than racial, religious or any other sensibilities.

Cath Hallam

Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Following the resignation of Sarah Champion, can someone explain why condemning white supremacists appears to be compulsory, but recognising that some Pakistanis view white females as “trash” and “easy meat” is prohibited? Both are nasty minorities within their respective cultures, both commit racially motivated crimes, but neither represents their wider community. To resolve either of these issues, the cultural roots need to be explicit and understood.

Roy Grimwood

Market Drayton, Shropshire

When a white man, whether in a gang, church, or work setting, on the streets or in the home, rapes or abuses a child or woman, no one blames his ethnicity or religion. Ask yourself why. Is it because white men don’t do that? Sadly, misogyny and sexual crimes are rife in this and all societies in the world, and are abhorrent (a contributory factor being, no doubt, the highly sexualised images of women in the media). And yes, the question must be asked as to why that ring of men in Newcastle were allowed to use their positions, associations, and power to commit those awful crimes, and get away with it for so long. But to blame the ethnicity or religion of the perpetrators is to blame by association all fellow Pakistanis, Muslims, black people. It feeds racism and gives oxygen to the ideas that whites are morally superior to everyone else and that Muslims are morally inferior.

In 2014-15, white fascists repeatedly invaded the streets of Rotherham on the back of the terrible child abuse scandal there, branding all Pakistani men and Muslims as child abusers. One elderly man was killed. Those who came to the streets to peacefully protest and protect their communities later gave testimony as defendants in a Sheffield court about how they felt just as shocked, mortified and outraged by the crimes of a number of Pakistani men whose actions were as abhorrent to them as to the rest of the right-thinking population. We all bear a responsibility to root out abuse of women and girls. We can stand together to do this, not apart. Don’t fall into the racism/Islamophobia trap.

Hilary Nelson


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