My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Grooming often works in the following manner: a young man, a lure, befriends an 11 to 16 year old girl. Winning her trust, he then introduces her to an "older friend," usually a guy in his mid-20s. This older friend plies the young girl with gifts, car rides, compliments, attention, drugs, alcohol. He becomes her "older boyfriend." Eventually, he introduces her to sex. Next, the boyfriend manipulates the young girl into having sex with one of his friends. Eventually, the girl finds herself gang-raped, passed around, trafficked, kidnapped, beaten, degraded. She is threatened with physical violence should she refuse to play along. Her family may also be threatened.
Grooming was the fate of 1,400 girls in Rotherham, UK, between 1997 and 2013. Author Jayne Senior worked for a local program designed to identify girls at-risk for sexual exploitation. She witnessed the mass grooming of mostly working-class white girls by British Pakistani Muslim men. Police and social worker indifference and denial contributed to a rape crisis that has been called "industrial scale."
The story of Senior's fight to protect the girls, alert a willfully obtuse police and social worker bureaucracy, bring perpetrators to justice, all while suffering loss in her own family, is a story both hopeful and galling. Senior's battle shows the difference one committed person can make. However, the grooming toll of white English victims (along with Sikh and Hindu girls) continues at the hands of mostly Pakistani perpetrators. Since Rotherham, similar rape gangs have been discovered in Newcastle, Oxford, Telford, Rochdale, Darby. A situation most appalling.
A fast, somber read.
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