The shame of Rotherham

Baroness Lister of Burtersett

There was much that was shocking about recent reports of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.  Although I have to admit I’ve not read Professor Jay’s report, one point from it jumped out at me from the press accounts.  This was that the police treated the victims ‘with contempt’ and as ‘undesirables’ not worthy of protection.  This contempt could have stemmed from a number of factors but I can’t help but speculate that one of them was poverty.

Coincidentally I had just finished reading a study of the links between shame and poverty. (The Shame of Poverty by Robert Walker and colleagues, Oxford University Press).  It quotes a mother from Latin America speaking at the United Nations, observing that ‘the words could have been spoken by any of the respondents in any of the seven countries investigated’ including Britain.  This woman explained that ‘the worst thing about living in extreme poverty is the contempt – that they treat you like you are worthless, that they look at you with disgust and fear and that they even treat you like an enemy.  We and our children experience this every day, and it hurts us, humiliates us and makes us live in fear and shame’.

She was speaking at a conference organised by ATD Fourth World, an international anti-poverty organisation.  Its London branch has just produced a wonderful collection of photographic portraits, The Roles we Play: Recognising the Contribution of People in Poverty, which will be launched next month.  The message was the same.  In the words of Kathy, one of the people featured: ‘When you live in long-term poverty, you have to depend on services that are delivered with suspicion and disdain.  They make you feel humiliated’.

I fear that this suspicion and disdain contributed to the shameful response to child sexual exploitation from the people with power in Rotherham who could have done something about it.  ATD is developing a training programme to help social workers understand poverty and its effects better.  What the Rotherham experience suggests is that such training is needed much more widely.

5 comments for “The shame of Rotherham

  1. maude elwes
    03/09/2014 at 3:20 pm

    This had very little to do with poverty and everything to do with this disgusting political correctness we have dished out in this country endlessly since 1997. And I know how bad this creeping treachery can become, having spent many years living in the US where this kind of madness is at the level of depraved lunacy.

    These children or young girls were treated this way because of the fear by the so called ‘authorities’ being assessed as ‘racist’ if they took any serious notice of the complainers. And trying to pretend it is anything else is just another blow to the ‘human rights’ of these sad victims. The only reason it would have been less of a betrayal had the girls been from ‘wealthy’ families, would be because their parents would have hired an expensive lawyer to deal with the men who were at it. These young people and their families did not have access to legal assistance. Another horror the pro corporate take over has devised to reduce us all to pathetic worms.

    And I feel some sympathy for the police and social service staff as we all know this would indeed have resulted in a terrible fate for them should they have pursued it correctly. Job loss, denial of benefit, no other position available to them and it would have been practiced against them for years in order to teach others not to go against the ruling classes. They would have been left destitute. And for what?

    They could not fight the pretense of ‘multiculturalism’ is working, Those who sold this social experiment had a lot riding on it, credibility and political foolery could not be embarrassed, that would be going too far. Big business and the corporate big boys wanted cheap mass labour and it mattered not what it did to the proletariat. The old hire and fire game doesn’t work without the masses in dire straits and these tactics have brought this legacy to us all. The the traitorous politicians, who overwhelming voted this game through on the back of dong good, must not be shown to account. The denial of reality, the keep it quiet buster, we have been told this is what must rule. How we have turned into a fearful group of wimps is beyond me.

    The ones who should be paying for all of this rot are not those on the ground but those who brought it into our country with the open door policy. Those who new the culture they were bringing for us all to tolerate. They turned a blind eye to what it would reduce us to and with tenacity continue with it to this day. They could not have been unaware of the consequences they only had to take a close look at their ‘special friends’ across the big pond and see the mess they had there. To want to emulate that violence, rapes, killings and gun culture in order to impose on the nation Globalisation and a standard bog like existence was and is the aim. And they don’t care because the pickings are too big to give up.

    And then, if you contrast this with the appalling treatment of the ‘middle class’ couple who took their dearly loved son out of an NHS hospital, whom they had trusted with his life, only to feel betrayed and whoa ha, interpol and imprisonment, leaving their poor son languishing alone in a Spanish clinic. The police jumped to attention then, didn’t they? But these ‘white’ girls were considered fodder for men who live within a culture that sees anything female as an easy target for abuse. Girls who are not watched and followed day and night by their families, are deserving of such treatment, no matter their age because they are trash.

    I’m too furious about how ashamed I feel to be part of a country who has sold its people down the river this way and then have the gall to stand in denial pretending otherwise, whilst we citizens sit and gawp in disbelief but never get mad enough to raise a finger and arrest those at the top who brought this on us. In fact, didn’t GQ just award the avaricious lying Blair some kind of philanthropic award yesterday. He, the main player in this fiasco. As a commenter wrote on the Guardian this morning, only Benjamin Netanyahu could have been considered for runner up behind him.

    Face it Baroness, this country has become the equivalent of those we send our billions in aid to. A morally deplorable rat infested hell hole.

    • Baroness Lister of Burtersett
      Baroness Lister of Burtersett
      12/09/2014 at 10:44 am

      I’m not arguing that this was all just about poverty. But it’s an aspect which I believe has been largely overlooked and I think poverty/social class is highly relevant to understanding why the police reportedly treated the girls with contempt.

  2. MilesJSD
    03/09/2014 at 4:08 pm

    It is the overarching Civilisation that has been and is being insidiously corrupted, not by the victims and casualties at the n’bottom’ but by the Authorities above all the way through to the Top,
    and even breaking out ‘upwards’, beyond the unwittingly corrupt Establishment and Rule-of-Law, into Christendom and into other Divine-Interfaces.

  3. Paul Tyler
    05/09/2014 at 2:33 pm

    Surely Professor Jay’s report was about ROTHERHAM ……… ?

    • Baroness Lister of Burtersett
      Baroness Lister of Burtersett
      08/09/2014 at 8:58 am

      Thank you for pointing that out – a serious ‘senior moment’ I fear. Odd thing is that I forwarded it to a few people and none of them noticed. Now to work out how to change it!

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