In May 2012, nine men were jailed for horrific abuse committed against teenage girls in the town. It made headlines all round the world.This is what happens when the people in power decide that they know best, this is what happens when dogma trumps decency. When protecting the perpetrators because of their position or religion or colour of their skin became far more important than protecting the victims of their abuse.
When the father of one of the victims called me to tell me how his daughter’s cries for help had been ignored by the authorities I started to make my own enquiries. I spoke to the director of children’s services, Cheryl Eastwood, and was staggered by her attitude. She implied that young girls who were being systematically raped were making lifestyle choices and said that this kind of abuse was ‘a new phenomenon’ on which they [social services] hadn’t received guidance. You don’t need guidance from central government to know that when someone is reporting being raped it’s seriously wrong, I told her.
A few weeks earlier, a police officer had told me fellow officers had suggested the victims on council estates should have been drowned at birth. It also emerged that when one of the girls reported her abuse to a police officer, the officer yawned.
The cover-up of abuse by Cyril Smith (former Rochdale MP), the failed police investigations into his crimes, had ensured the public cry of outrage that needed to be heard was silenced.
For Smith’s young victims it was because they were bad boys from troublesome backgrounds who needed disciplining.
For the young girls who were victims of grooming gangs it was because they were bad girls from troublesome backgrounds who were making lifestyle choices.
Yet not one single prosecution will be brought against the council, its social services department, the Liberal Democrat Party who connived with the police to cover up Smith's crimes, the police or anyone else connected to the wholesale abuse who ignored it or actually hid it deliberately because to them the victims were lesser breeds and deserved (somehow) what was happening to them.
Even today Rochdale and those in power there are in denial of what happened, there has been no apologies and there are still ongoing attempts to sweep things under the carpet. Those who ignored the victims were even allowed to leave taking golden handshakes with them and are still at work elsewhere in the same business.
These people ruined kids lives as much as their abusers did, yet they've gotten away scot free, the next scandal comes along and they hope we forget. The corruption goes all the way to the top and won't stop until we hang them all.