The family recently convicted of keeping slaves for up to 26 years were all white. Jimmy Saville was white; Max, Clifford, white; Cyril Smith, white, Rolf Harris, white. Huge numbers of priests, you guessed it – white. There are also swirling allegations about former Prime Minister Ted Heath and Leon Brittan and other politicians, all white. Why no piece in the Sun from Sarah Champion MP about them? And that’s before we get onto the football coaches.
Each of the white men listed above abused (or is accused of abusing) multiple children. In Saville’s case it ran to the hundreds. But there was no outcry about it being a white or Christian cultural problem. Surely by Ms Champion’s standards the many, many cases of pedohile abuse by priests should have had her running to the Sun to write about Britain’s problem with white Christian men – not just the ones who abused children; all white Christian men. She didn’t differentiate between innocent Asian men and the tiny minority who brutally abused girls whom they had groomed.
Those dwelling on the race or religion of the criminals when they are Asian or Muslim but not mentioning it when they are white are most definitely racists and Sarah Champion is one of them. By making planned and systematic abuse about race she is making the cardinal error of ignoring what is really going on. This is about power and accountability.
Jimmy Saville had a huge amount of power and was not accountable to anyone for what he was doing. Much of it was on the premises of the BBC – an organisation funded by licence-payers and which should have been protecting children who were (albeit temporarily) in it’s care. It chose to protect its ratings by turning a blind eye to increasing allegations about ratings-puller Saville and others. No heads have rolled at the Beeb for enabling Saville.
The Catholic (and to a lesser extent) Anglican churches repeatedly protected priests accused of sexual abuse often by moving them to other parishes where they abused again. Same story for the football coaches. The clubs were more concerned about protecting their own reputations than the boys in their care. They ignored the accusations, failed to call the police and moved the perpetrators on to pastures new. Gary Speed, the talented footballer and manager who killed himself was coached by a convicted abuser. There is speculation that this could have lead to his depression and subsequent suicide. Where was Sarah Champion when this was going on?
And then there are the politicians. It stinks to high heaven of a cover up that Theresa May’s Home Office ‘lost’ 114 files of evidence against former and serving politicians. Individuals with power but no accountability are protected by their own. Was this about justice or protecting the Tory Party? The other thing all of the above have in common other than being white is that they are all men, but I don’t see the plethora of articles about the Newcastle examining it through the prism of male violence.
Men who want to abuse first seek to get into a position of power which gives them access to their preferred prey. Fit young boys in the case of football coaches; anyone unlikely to be believed in the case of Saville and the politicians and young girls looking for love and affection in the case of the grooming gangs. And what of the agencies charged with protecting the groomed girls, those who claimed that they had ‘chosen’ to have sex when they were legally incapable of giving consent.
To have made this about race is to have given ammunition to a newspaper with a racist agenda. It is to ignore the real problem of power without accountability; to allow the majority of child sex abuse victims (who are abused by members of their own families) to be forgotten. What is sad is that Sarah Champion knows this and said as much.
“More than 90 per cent of abused children know their abuser — it is usually someone from within the extended family — and the vast majority of convictions are against white men acting alone”, was buried near the bottom of her Sun article.
She mentioned Asian men not Muslims. Her piece was published on Friday 11th August, by Monday the Sun published an article asking what to do about the “Muslim Problem” which as rightly been condemned by over 100 MPs as fascist. They conflate Asian with Muslim when neither race not religion are the the deciding factors in sex-abuse. Ms Champion’s piece was cannon fodder for the Sun, helping to legitimise their racism. She should have known better.
Marcia Hutchinson MBE is a former lawyer and publisher of culturally diverse educational resources.