After a report on the Rotherham, England sex abuse scandal revealed Tuesday that at least 1,400 young girls were abused, beaten, raped, and threatened by a ring of men mostly of Pakistani origin for 16 years in the city, one victim of the horror spoke to the BBC and revealed harrowing details of her unthinkable 2-year ordeal.
According to the report, police and local authorities in Rotherham — a city of more than 200,000 in England’s north — turned a blind eye to the reports and accusations of widespread child sex abuse in the city for years because, at least in part, they feared being branded as racist for targeting Pakistani men.
If they cracked down on the men in the child sex abuse ring, the authorities feared stoking racial tensions that could attract right-wing extremists to Rotherham and threaten the “community cohesion” of the city, the report said.
In an interview Wednesday, a victim using the alias “Emma” told media in England that she wrote a list of 250 men who raped her over a two-year period when she was 13 to 15 years old. But when she gave the list to police and local political officials, they simply ignored her, she said.
“They knew young children were being raped but just brushed it under the carpet,” Emma said.
She also told the BBC that she saved clothing she wore when she was subjected to the repeated rapes, thinking that it may contain evidence that could be used against her abusers. But when she gave the clothing to police they inexplicably “lost” it.
Emma said that she first met a group of teenage boys of Pakistani origin hen she was 12 years old. They spent a year befriending her, then introduced her to a group of older men.
“They started introducing alcohol and soft drugs to me and then, when I was 13, I was sexually exploited by them,” “Emma” told the BBC’s Today program. “Up until this point they had never tried to touch me, they had not made me ever feel uncomfortable or ever feel unsafe or that they could harm me. I trusted them, they were my friends as I saw it, until one night my main perpetrator raped me, quite brutally as well, in front of a number of people. From then on I would get raped once a week, every week.”
She said that she was once forcibly stripped naked and locked in a bedroom for six hours as a seemingly endless succession of adult men came into the room and raped her.
The gang also threatened to rape her mother and force her to watch, a threat which Emma took seriously.
“They gang raped me, so what stops them from doing that to my mum?” she said.
About three months after the rapes began, Emma said she reported the horrific abuse in Rotherham to South Yorkshire police, only to be brushed aside.