Here is a link to an interview with Dr Ella Hill, a survivor of the Rotherham grooming gang scandal.
Some headline comments
- The Home Office needs to urgently move to publish the report that was commissioned into grooming gang culture by Sajid Javid when he was in office.
- We need to acknowledge the shocking level of sexism, and appalling attitudes to young teenage, working class girls.
- The challenges of talking about issues that touch on race and also on symbolism (e.g. taking the knee) need a nuanced conversation. I will pick up on that in a little more detail below.
- We also need that nuanced conversation about how prejudice and racism affects all cultures. I fully support the use of #BlackLivesMatter as a response to immediate issues but as I have mentioned elsewhere, we do need the bigger conversation. Black lives matter because all lives matter.
- Part of the nuancing must include looking at how we are quick to label people politically based on the issues they engage with.
The Wee Flea
I note that David Robertson (The Wee Flea) has also posted the video with some key points summarised from the article. I’ve disagreed with David on the question of race, Black Lives Matter and the church. So, I just want to respond to him a little bit more here. I think it is important that we don’t use the video for other agendas.
David’s main charge is that there has been silence on the issue both from the press and the church. I’ve disagreed with him and others before as the issue has had significant media attention. Regarding the church, he may have more of a point. However, I think this is a misunderstanding of the situation. The reality in my experience is that church leaders are silent on issues concerning race (and class) generally. There are one or two white evangelicals talking about the issue of race consistently but until the recent #BlackLivesMatter response to George Floyd and the #NoSpaceForJewHate I personally have detected little traction for conversations on this subject. It’s not that church leaders are politically correct. It is simply that this is subject they simply haven’t got their heads (and dare I say, their hearts) around.
Unsurprisingly, he highlights the #BLM conversation and Ella’s reaction to “take the knee” because this is something he has strong views on. I think the interview itself handles the issue well. We can understand someone’s trauma leading to them emotionally reacting to a symbol in a particular way but that does not make the symbol, intended in a different context wrong in and of itself.
I think this gets to the crux of the matter. Dr Ella describes he experience as spiritual abuse. The grooming gangs were not in her experience simply about sex and paedophilia. Rape is as much about power as it is about sex. Ella describes a particular ideology that believes that western girls are deserving punishment because of failure to meet the moral and religious standards of the gang. Fascinatingly she also links this in to terrorism.
This is a significant issue and worthy of more attention.