Rochdale Grooming case revisited- Who will address ‘Generation Sex’?

By Majed Iqbal- The grooming of underage girls for sex in Rochdale which hit headline national news in 2012 has surfaced on the scene once again.

What started off as a ‘concern’ from MP Jack straw, who dubbed it as  ‘A Pakistani cultural issue’ on how Pakistani men view white women, has now been turned into a national debate on Sexual attitudes- a far cry from the limited discourse previously reserved to ethnicity for this case.

A report released by Ann Coffey MP says Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a “real and on-going problem that has become a new social norm”.

She said “My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case. This is a real and ongoing problem.

The cases of abuse seem to be continuing. Greater Manchester Police received 2,286 pieces of intelligence relating to child sexual exploitation in the nine months between March 2013 and January 2014.  There are currently 260 ongoing police investigations into child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester, highlighting the severity and magnitude of the problem being faced.

The report addressed many failures from social services and the police who distanced themselves many a time from victims who either came to them for help or showed signs of sexual abuse. There have only been 1,000 convictions out of 13,000 reported cases of serious sexual offences against under 16-year-olds. Why?

Whistle-blower Sara Rowbotham, who worked as Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team coordinator from 2004, claimed police had put a “ceiling” on the number of victims they could interview and people they could arrest.

The health worker, who was responsible for gathering the main evidence in the 2012 Rochdale child sex abuse case, said she was disappointed with the results of a report led by MP Ann Coffey.

Anne Coffey MP’s report managed to expand the discourse on grooming by highlighting how society had a big role to play.

“The increased sexualisation of youngsters through explicit music videos and sexting, selfies and Instagram may be fuelling child sex abuse” Coffey suggested in the report.

She said these had “changed expectations of sexual entitlement, and with it a confused understanding of what constitutes consent.”

Generation sex had become the hidden elephant in the room that no one wanted to acknowledge. Sex is everywhere. Magazines, internet sites, Mobile phones, in SRE lessons in schools, in popular culture on Television shows, soaps, Drama serials and ‘Entertainment’ films through giants like Hollywood.

Social attitudes have gone through a huge change where sexuality is a defining factor in how people view one another. It is no surprise to see young and old sucked into a culture which celebrates sexual permissiveness and behaviours which borders loosely on what is legal and what is not.

So why do children take sexually simulated selfies? Why do children feel the need to dress in a sexually suggestive manner? Why do older men think it’s ‘ok’ to wine, dine and bed young girls? What shapes these attitudes? Where do these values come from? That is the question!

It seems like everyone wants it. So why celebrate a sexualised culture and then cry over it later on?

The debate surrounding treating under 16 year olds as children is valid, to a certain degree. They need to be protected from sexual advances whether wanted or unwanted. What they also need to be protected from is sexualised culture which is taking precedence over everything else in their lives and providing help to steer them towards more productive pursuits.

Society is fixated on sex and this is where the idea of freedom comes under scrutiny. On the one hand the ‘Adult industry’ is legal and open but when these behaviours spill over and affect young victims, all of a sudden defences are up and a culprit or bogeyman is sought to be hanged and punished to exonerate the blame for the ills that society has produced. A house built on sand will inevitably crumble and a society erected on dysfunctional and diametrically opposed values will be affected.

No community will accept the grooming of girls for sex. It is also not a time to point figures at victims and go through a blame game. What right minded, thinking individuals should be doing is questioning the values upon which society is built and how from here they plan to safeguard those under their protection.

Until then, Generation sex will continue to swallow many more into its clutches


  1. Reblogged this on Muslim Parent Forum and commented:
    Such people do not follow Islam. Rather they aspire to the catch-me-if-you-can, liberal freedoms of this failing secular society

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