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Anorak | Poor and white Telford girls are the wrong kind of victims

Poor and white Telford girls are the wrong kind of victims

by | 14th, March 2018

From Rochdale and Rotherham and Oxford, we’re now reading grim news of horrendous sexual abuse in Telford, Shropshire. The Mirror reports on the claims that over 1,000 girls, some as young as 11, were raped – three were murdered – by gangs of predominately Muslim, Asian-heritage men over four decades. Huge news, then. Or not.

 

Sunday Mirror TElford

Sunday Mirror – Telford

 

One day on from the story only the Daily Mail led with it.  No other paper thought it worth a front page, including the Guardian, which champions the #MeToo movement, and The Times, which went big with the story of how Damien Green MP allegedly touched Tory activist Kate Maltby’s knee and attempted to seduce her. Why is that the suffering of 1,000 beaten and raped young women and girls from an unfashionable part of the world is ignored but so much space is afforded to better off, better educated and better looking victims?

The world knows what actress Rose McGowan says she experienced at the hands of movie mogul and “monster” Harvey Weinstein, but we don’t know what happened to Charlene Downes, the poor, white girl who vanished in Blackpool, Lancashire. Maybe if she’d been seen in the company of a famous face, we would have?

 

Joanne Williams notes on the #KneeToo movement:

The lack of comment on the Telford abuse scandal exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of the #MeToo movement. High-profile campaigners announce time and again that they are not driven by self-interest, but from a desire to help women less fortunate than themselves. Jane Merrick told all because, ‘I knew that by failing to act I was letting down not only my 29-year-old self, but also any other women who may have been subjected to the same behaviour since. More importantly, I would be failing to protect other women in future.’ Kate Maltby made a similar declaration: ‘It is true that I have many privileges that other women do not. That is why I owed it to others to come forward. When we see white, financially secure women saying #MeToo, we should ask: where are the voices that we are not hearing?’ Yet Merrick and Maltby, for all their self-sacrifice and sisterly compassion, have so far had nothing to say about the rape of teenage girls in Telford.

Time’s Up, the celebrity #MeToo spin-off, launched a fundraiser to pay legal fees for victims of sexual harassment and assault seeking justice. The aim, it said, was to ‘lift up the voices, power and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation’. More than $16.7million was raised in less than a month. The British actress Emma Watson, one of the most generous and high-profile donors, posted on social media: ‘The clock’s been ticking on the abuse of power. I stand in solidarity with women across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, and assault. #TIMESUP on oppression and marginalisation.’ Only, it seems, some women are more deserving of solidarity than others; some women’s voices are more worthy of being lifted up.

Too true. The story has yet to catch. The Sun cover it lightly on page 27; and the Express on page 11. The Mail uses the horror to give the BBC a kick, citing MPS “from across the political divide” who accused the BBC of “failing to cover the Telford scandal adequately”. What is adequate for what one victim calls a “whirlwind of rape” meted out to her between the age of 14 and 18? The Mail has the story on page 22, after first covering news of a new Harry and Meghan TV movie and Ken Small’s painting, which looks a lot like a Canaletto, but isn’t. Even the Mirror has it on page 5.

 

It’s not all about #MeToo. It’s also about them.



Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink