Rotherham sexual abuse and British values

Discussions on the Rotherham sexual abuse continued today as hundreds of suspects including two Rotherham councillors have been identified by senior investigating officer Steve Baldwin. On Channel 4 News, Nazir Afzal, the former Chief Crown Prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service for North West England appeared progressing his points from last year on ethnicity and child sexual grooming and abuse.

He and Cathy Newman seemed in consensus on both white British males being the majority of perpetrators of sexual abuse in the UK, and also that in Rotherham the majority of men in street-gangs abusing girls as young as 12 are of ‘Asian appearance’.

It’s been almost a year since Professor Alexis Jay’s inquiry was published and it almost feels like a sea-change is around the corner, if not only because publicity is abundant right now.

There are arguably some closely cutting truths and lessons for British values, these are two that stick out:

  • British racism created the need to walk on eggshells and be ‘politically correct’. Did this give those street-gangs a cushion and a ‘hall pass’ for their actions amidst fear of breaking political correctness? And being seen as racist? Muhbeen Hussain was firm in his shock, making a point to ignore excuses and expel Muslim solidarity with the perpetrators. But many confirmed this.
  • British values of the 1970s onwards seemingly dictated that abuse victims be ignored and swept under the carpet. Professor Alexis Jay’s inquiry and subsequent discussion has lambasted the wide social acceptance upheld by the bureaucratic, police and social care systems. I lambast the values of the British public at large.

Britain is not a country with an uncaring heritage. But the children of the World War generation were a bridge between a polarising ‘all in this together’, post-war era of socialist adjustments to British life, and now – whatever you call this multi-coloured; loud; fast; busy and vibrant time. Blame is unnecessary for confusion over a multi-cultural Britain that one did not grow up in and for all the sweeping generality of a ‘societal value’ in nuanced British life there are always people who will make a stranger a warm cup of tea, even if they do not know how to confront a social-demographic disruption. But it was wrong that those who had already fallen through society’s cracks were further ignored. It is a facet of our modern collective heritage that is as disgusting as football holliganism.

Cultural values evolve and just as with the Jimmy Savile abuse, some persist that ‘times were different’. Is that the case? It must be hard to believe that the things you hear whispered in pubs and lectured about by outspoken, shaggy haired liberals with clipboards or wide-eyed conspiracy theorists were actually true. It is hard to believe that people we see, people we live near and with, are capable of such barbarism and self-gratification by means of piercing pain, hellish isolation, torture and life-destroying terror that they put the victims of their actions through. Victims who were children, in all likelihood looking to older men for solidity and affection, if looking at all.

Britain needs to learn, it needs to look into the eyes of the most vulnerable in our society and see that just because the shape of some people’s lives is so different to our own, it doesn’t mean it is not true. Britain needs to redevelop community, hell… Britain needs to give a shit. Britain is a strength in the world for morality, at least that’s how it is seen.

But for all the bell-ringing, society is a monolithic cargo ship not a sailboat. And it takes time to turn. Evolution, not revolution.

Male eating disorders (a brief point of view)

Binge eating, emotional eating, eating disorders. I’m sure we’re all expectant that women suffer from this more than men. But the world is changing. The shape of man is not necessarily man-shaped. The look of man is not necessarily man-shaped. Man/male/guy/heterosexual/lad/gay. What’s biological? What’s socially constructed? Is there a crisis of masculinity? Edward Norton and Brad Pitt’s David Fincher directed Chuck Palahniuk story Fight Club was zeitgeist defining: what does it mean to be a man. “Is that what a man looks like?” Questions the only-when-standing-next-to-Brad-Pitt ordinary looking Edward Norton, next to one of the most beautiful men who ever lived.

Walk through any two streets in any average British city and you’ll get any number of different reactions. I’ve been started on for trying to help people. I’ve been looked at as a thug when mistakenly ‘toughening’ myself up whilst feeling threatened. I’ve been shoulder barged, glared at and insulted in the past: when I was slim; when I had long hair; when I was wearing a piece of clothing that made me stand out. The truth is that now, with a XL chest or with my grade 1 shaved head I had no real problems, people didn’t try and mess with me.

It’s tough being a woman, especially a hot one. “If she didn’t want attention she shouldn’t have dressed like that”. But it’s also really tough being a man. Modern life is structured to benefit those who are sociopathic enough to care only about themselves. It’s simply too tiring for troubled people. It’s totally natural that mental health trouble would flourish. It’s totally natural that in the days of Dwayne Johnson taking what “man shaped” is to absurdity (he wasn’t exactly small when he was The Rock) that the “Bane” body is perceived as a genuine target. And when a man comes out as suffering with this, what happens? Well, in the case of Mail columnist Richard “stupid cunt” Littlejohn responding to John Prescott’s expression of his eating disorder, you publish your ridicule of the guy to over a million people. But for the gender of the species who are expected to be strong and in control a collapse of self-esteem does crazy things.

The Rock, difference in size over the years

The Rock/ Dwayne Johnson, difference in size

Tom Hardy as Bane

Tom Hardy as Bane

But for a lot of men, emotional eating and self-loathing are a lifelong struggle. I know, I’m one of them.

Read more: Binge Eating Among Men Steps Out of the Shadows

Malcolm X quote

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Malcolm X

If [insert party name that aren’t the Conservatives] got into power, businesses would leave Britain. Thoughts?

“If [insert party name that aren’t the Conservatives] got into power, businesses would leave Britain” Thoughts? Mine:…

Posted by Thought Jetty on Wednesday, 29 April 2015