The Betrayed Girls: victims of PC culture

Cases of mass sexual abuse in the north and the midlands, perpetrated by British-Pakistani grooming gangs and covered up by authorities fearful of looking racist, continue to raise crucial questions about the consequences of political correctness.

A new BBC documentary, The Betrayed Girls, includes the harrowing testimonies of some of the victims from the cases in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Between 2008 and 2012, at least 47 girls, predominantly white and working class, were subject to sexual abuse by gangs of British-Pakistani men. They were plied with drugs and alcohol, passed between organised gangs, and repeatedly raped. The documentary questions why the police allowed these horrors to go on.

The Rochdale case came to light after the discovery of a similar and even larger scandal in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. In both cases, police told the affected families that they didn’t want to disrupt ‘social cohesion’ by pursuing the allegations. It is estimated that more than 1,400 young girls were abused in this manner between 1997 and 2013.

Meanwhile, anyone who did raise concerns was shouted down. Former Labour MP for Keighley Ann Cryer was labelled a racist when she tried to bring the scandal to the attention of MPs. Even Times journalist Andrew Norfolk has admitted to turning a blind eye to the story for fear of emboldening the British National Party (BNP).

There’s a grim irony here. The failure of the police and the press to look into these cases only emboldened racists – groups like the BNP were the only ones willing to speak about it. When we can’t discuss difficult issues openly, we empower those who seek to hijack them.

The Betrayed Girls is a harrowing watch, but it raises important questions about the consequences of our You Can’t Say That culture. The failure of the authorities to tackle these scandals is testimony to the inhumanity and injustice that political correctness can breed.

Izzy Lyons is a writer based in London. Follow her on Twitter: @LyonsIzzy

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