“Bubbling tension” and communities living parallel lives could create monumental societal problems further down the line, according to the central victim of the Halifax grooming gang scandal.
Courageous Georgia, in the last of her three-part interview with Shy Society, warned that in places like her hometown of Halifax and Bradford, tensions were rising to the surface and the issue of grooming gangs was even more widespread than has currently been uncovered.
She said: “From speaking to other victims and from my own experience, I do think this is very widespread. Perhaps more so than any of us fear. For example I’m pretty sure this is still going on in Bradford and elsewhere. Although it was great the main ringleaders were convicted, even in my case there were far more men that didn’t ever get prosecuted – or they got done for sexual intercourse with a child rather than rape which carries a lighter sentence. From the Crown Prosecution Service’s perspective it was easier to get a prosecution but surely they should have been done for both?
“The fact some abusers are still walking the streets makes me feel there may be girls out there who are still being abused. If they are reading this, I’d encourage them to speak out – help is definitely out there – and I’d urge the authorities to learn lessons from what has already happened in other cases of this nature, including mine.”
Georgia, who has studied the Qur’an in her quest to find out more about her perpetrators motivations, said she believed a literal interpretation of Islamic scriptures – such as Salafism and Wahhabism – played a significant role in certain Muslim men treating women from different cultures so appallingly.
“I think it is religion and culture. But that culture does ultimately stem out of the religious texts that have been interpreted word for word – it’s the worst possible interpretation but it is an interpretation which people don’t seem to understand,” Georgia explains.
“No monotheistic religion is completely peaceful. The issue that you have with Islam is that it says that it comes straight from the mouth of God, so if you then question that you are questioning God, does that make sense? So it’s more difficult to criticise.
“Obviously the reality is the majority don’t think you should stone people to death or kill all the infidels but some people – a minority but significant nonetheless – do think that and that comes from the religious texts themselves. Imams definitely have to bear more responsibility, speak out more and generally just do more to tackle the hard-line interpretations of the texts.”
The multiculturalism experiment pursued by the Blair government is failing, Georgia claims, as evidenced by her occasional journeys back to West Yorkshire to try and rid herself of any lingering demons. Her anecdotal evidence is backed up by the 200-page Casey Review, published last year, which highlighted the segregation and illiberal attitudes which are the direct result of the mass migration of recent decades. In it, Dame Louise Casey said there had been a failure of calling out “deeply regressive religious and cultural practices, especially when it comes to women” in some ethnic minority communities in the UK.
“I don’t know what can be done but they are going to have to do something or there’s going to be riots,” Georgia adds. “On the scale of, if not more than, the London riots predominantly in the north. When I occasionally return home to reflect – which is something I need to do for myself to know I’m strong enough to walk back in those streets and stuff – I can just feel this bubbling tension everywhere. You can just see people living parallel lives.
“Communities are just living isolated from each other. Totally separate. There are just streets, and you’ll just know because you’ll see all the Halal signs in the windows, and people don’t go down them. And I don’t think that’s healthy. We’re European and diversity is good but you need to adapt to our customs and way of life as well.”
A huge ‘thank you’ must go to Georgia for being brave enough to share her experiences publicly and for speaking out on this important topic to help other victims of child sexual exploitation come forward. We hope you enjoyed this three-part interview – please comment below and share.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain