Shaista Gohir Attacked Idea of White Only Victims
A shocking report by a leading activist has suggested that young girls in Birmingham are being groomed by Asian men. Speaking to a city council inquiry, Shaista Gohir MBE highlighted the case of one teenage girl who had been groomed and raped by “up to 30 men” which included a father and his schoolboy son and lasted six-hours.
The report, called Unheard Voices, states that “sexual exploitation and grooming of young Asian girls by men is happening in Birmingham” it also blasts community leaders, schools and families for dismissing the attacks or covering them up.
Talking about the teenager, Ms Gohir said that there had been between 20-30 men involved in the rape which included a father and his son who was dresses in school uniform along with a number of taxi drivers who turned up in groups.
She attacked the idea of Asian grooming only happening to white girls which had been previously suggested by high profiled cases such as those in Rochdale and Oxford. “People tell me they have heard about Rochdale and Oxford and see it as something which happens elsewhere to other people, but it is happening in Birmingham, it’s happening everywhere” she said.
She went on to add that girls who are targeted by these individuals are most likely to be targeted by “people of the same ethnic and cultural background” with the additional vulnerability aspect “as they can be blackmailed into keeping quiet because of the risk of bringing shame on a community.”
“When abuse is revealed some families are more likely to send the daughter abroad or hastily arrange a wedding to get rid of the problem rather than face it. “The biggest barrier that we need to address is the shame and honour card,” Ms Gohir said. “They would rather protect the honour of the family and community than report an offender and protect other girls, as well as get the victim the counselling and help they need.”
Ms Gohir called on young boys and men to change their attitudes “as often they did not see what they did as rape and had no awareness of the impact of their actions on women.”
East Handsworth and Lozells Coun Waseem Zaffer said: “I have seen this presentation three times and each time I get angrier and angrier. There are a number of issues in the south Asian community which are swept under the carpet and this is one of them.”
Anita Ward Lab Coun and Inquiry chairwoman added: “When we are dealing with child sexual exploitation we need to recognise that it is not only Asian men grooming white girls. The victims do not come from any one particular culture or community, and neither do the perpetrators.
The inquiry will take further evidence in March before compiling a report for the city council.