Sexual violence against women and girls should be treated as a national emergency until it’s been defeated, writes Rishi Sunak in the Daily Mail, which in it’s leader to the piece suggests that this is a crack down on grooming gangs.
I chose to write my response on LinkedIn rather than here. My audience for this site is victims, their friends and families. I’m hoping that by publishing on a ‘professional’ platform, one intended to reach people at work, in positions of influence, it may make a difference.
The recent BBC One series, “The Serpent” tells the story of Charles Sobhraj, a charming and charismatic serial killer who targeted young people on the hippy trail across Asia in 1975 and 1976, drugging them, stealing their passports and money, killing several of them and stealing their identities.
This week we are looking at unsolicited nudes and at policing as they relate to grooming and beyond. We’ve called it Penises and Police #PAP, because the two are intertwined in many cases when it comes to justice.
But moreover, many people who have been groomed have been subjected to other forms of abuse as well, from rape to stalking, from harassment to being accused of harassing. Yet embarrassment seems to be the prevailing attitude of many officers.
We present two more accounts: one in which the UK police failed to take seriously unsolicited nudes being sent as part of grooming gang’s abuse; and another in the US, the Weinstein case, where the police showed exactly why ALL police need to stop being so squeamish.
Beth bravely stepped forward to tell CAAGe part of her story of being abused by a gang of taxi driver groomers in Wales (white Welshmen, note – grooming gangs are not all Asian! See also Epstein, Weinstein and more).
When she reported the part of the abuse that included sending her images of men’s penises, she was visited by police officers who not only giggled, but made it obvious that they had no intention of investigating at that stage. Sound familiar?
Why are we talking about penises and the police this week? Because I need to talk about it – it’s time someone did. I just want to scream loudly – grow up!! Why are men’s bodies sacred yet women’s treated as mere commodities?
And now is the time, because my own case is clearly going no further with the police, and perhaps by speaking out, it will help someone else. I was reluctant – I didn’t want my groomer to have the satisfaction. But if I share this, it may just help someone else.
To some, talking about unsolicited pictures, videos or livestreams of nudes will seem irrelevant to the act of adult grooming, which this site is about. Talking about what a man’s penis looks like may seem embarrassing or distasteful. But grooming is rarely an isolated act. And if you think it’s distasteful to talk about, think about how it feels to be on the receiving end.
Why, if adult grooming is legal (in the UK at least), should the police have anything to do with it? Why would anyone be reporting?
Firstly, for complex reasons which we’ll address later this week, the crime of ‘rape by deception’/’obtaining sex by deception’ had been rendered almost useless by a UK judge, leaving people (especially women) unprotected. We hope that this will reverse and are aware of test cases being prepared.
Secondly, groomers rarely commit just one crime. They will often harass any victim who speaks up; they will often turn the law on their victims; sometimes they will stalk their prey. Sometimes their grooming targets are vulnerable adults (who ARE afforded some protection under the law). If their goal is their target’s children, there may be paedophile related crimes to report. And if their goal is financial, there may be theft/financial crimes to report.
It is therefore vital for the police to understand grooming as the first stage leading to a crime, and how the victims may be feeling/what they need.