Ruzwana Bashir

September 3, 2014

I was wrong last week when I wrote about 1,400 children being abused in Rotherham. I said it was perpetrated by Pakistani heritage men preying mostly on venerable white girls.

Ruzwana Bashir

In the picture is Ruzwana Bashir. A girl who lived just up the road from Rotherham in Skipton. She was abused when she was young. She felt so ashamed at the time she didn’t tell anyone. She dared not to. She kept herself to herself and studied. She thought it might be her way out. At 18 she was offered a place at Oxford University, put aside the traditional shalwar kameez, left her home, wore jeans and tried to fit in. She succeeded in so many ways, became president of Oxford Union, got an amazing job in the City with Goldman Sachs and a few years later got her MBA.   But she was haunted by her passed.

She is one of those abused.

But when she told her parents of the abuse later in life, of the identity of the abuser they begged her not to go public, not to bring shame on the family. They were afraid of what their community would think of them. They would be shunned.

What ignorance perpetrates this and allows the most innocent to be fodder?

Ruzwana said had she been living at home she would have not sought the right redress she was due, justice. She told her story against her families wishes and her abuser was arrested, others came out and told their story because she had been brave and lead the way. Ruzwana is convinced, because of the fear of shame, many, many more Asian girls fall victim of abuse and it is never reported.

I was wrong in saying the abuse was perpetrated by Pakistani men heritage preying on vulnerable white girls, it’s Asian girls too. It’s just, it seems they are even more afraid of losing their family and their homes if they report the abuse than they are of the abuser.

If you are from one of those in a community that think it is shameful to out an abuser the shame is with you. Your ignorance and fear allows the perpetrators of such acts to run free and abuse children. All children. All races.

Isn’t it about time we stood up and said no more. To say no, it is not OK to turn a blind eye, to stop condoning and start condemning.

For me there is an extra tragedy behind the Rotherham story that is a blight on our society, that so many children are under the care of society. It’s a tragedy that communities, authorities and families when challenged, don’t have the back bone to do the right thing because other right minded people could look the other way because it’s not in their back yard.

I know we can do better. Not belief or faith tells me this, I know and it starts with the one talking to another and for the other to say, hey, you’re not alone, lets do what is good and right.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke”

Good men and women don’t do nothing, they do something. The right thing.