This last week has seen an outpouring of vitriol and venom against those who were in charge in Rotherham council, its social services and the police during the period when it is reported that at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited whilst in the care of the local authority between 1997 and 2013. (The independent report can be downloaded here).
The outcry, which has amounted to a societal shriek, has echoed around the media echo-chamber, gaining momentum in a classic feedback loop. It has even spread to the other side of the globe with calls for Sonia Sharp, the former Rotherham children’s services director, now in Australia, to resign from her current job over the scandal.
Ms Sharp’s response was that she wished she had been able to do more to prevent the abuse.
Like many people, I don’t generally hold a banner aloft praising the work of social services and social workers. Indeed, like many, I hold them collectively in a degree of distrust, if not contempt, at some of their antics in interfering with the family. In this case, however, what Ms Sharp said rang a bell in me: a resonance with something much deeper in what this is all about.
First of all, let us get out of the way that the victims were almost exclusively white girls, and the offenders were almost exclusively men of Asian, mainly Pakistani, ethnic origin, at least as it appears from the report. People can rage about the cultural attitudes of men such as these towards women in general, and white women in particular. People can rage and allege racialism, sexism, whatever. These arguments have all been well rehearsed this last week, particularly by feminists and their fellow-travellers.
What took place in Rotherham was wrong. Irrespective of whether you see cultural misogyny at play or any other stereotype, even in the girls themselves, what those men did is deeply, deeply wrong. They need to be caught and punished and I hope they are quaking in their shoes at what is bound to be a righteous crusade by the local police to find them and bring them to trial.
It is also wrong that many of the girls were labelled by the police and others as ‘undesirables’ and not worthy of police protection1Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997-2013. Alexis Jay OBE. Section 8.2. Page 69. However, according to the independent report, these girls were likely players in the entire thing. The report refers to Julie Bindel, a lesbian radical feminist, who, apparently, had written in the Guardian in May 2008 about similar activity in Blackpool, saying ‘It emerged that the girls had been swapping sex for food, cigarettes and affection.’ (Bindel, of course, was making a sexist case against men and their attitudes to women, but she was also revealing something that speaks against the very ideology of which she is a high-priestess.)
The point I want to draw is that these young women and girls were in local authority care, and, by some accounts, they were leaving their care accommodation during the night, at the behest of the beasts who had groomed them, and were calling their care homes the next morning asking for a taxi to be sent to pick them up from wherever they had been. The staff there, of course, had no choice but to do what they could to bring them back ‘home’.
And this was not just an occasional business. It was commonplace according to one commentator on BBC radio during the week. My view is,
These girls were ‘in care’ but they were neither being cared for, nor cared about. I can well understand Sonia Sharp’s comment, that she wished she had been able to do more to prevent the abuse. But how could she? How could anybody?
These girls were well off the rails: the victims not only of the vile men who abused them, but of their own immaturity and vulnerability – and, more importantly, of the very society that is in uproar about it all. The bottom line here is that these girls were fair game for predatory men because there was nobody to protect them – even from themselves.
Society has disposed of the very people who could have done something about it – their fathers. Where were the fathers in all of this? We talk about these girls being the victims of predatory men, but they are even more the victims of a society that destroys fathers and their patriarchal role in the protection of their daughters.
Obviously I cannot comment about the specifics of individual cases, but it is obvious that if girls are ‘in care’, it means they don’t have a functional family to care for them – and by that I mean a family with a father and a mother: where the mother makes the rules for her daughter, and the father enforces them, by mutual consent. That is how whole families work. Children in care do not have this, so they are at risk of going off the rails.
Single families, which really means fatherless families, can’t possible function as a family should. Yet this arrangement is rapidly becoming the norm, such is the degree to which fatherhood has been destroyed – by a society that has embraced feminism with such alacrity, in the name of a false form of so-called equality.
I have said it many times, and even at the risk of sounding like a recored stuck in its groove, I have no compunction in saying it again, in 1970, when all this kicked off, Germaine Greer said,
‘Women’s liberation, if it abolishes the patriarchal family, will abolish a necessary substructure of the authoritarian state, and once that withers away Marx will have come true, willy nilly, so let’s get on with it.’ (The Female Eunuch ‘Revolution’ 1970)
Women’s liberation aka feminism, aka Marxism, has abolished the patriarchal family – and with it the rule of authority – especially in the family, but also of the state that is needed to constrain the lusts of men such as this. What the Marxist feminist Greer said has all come about.
Feminists like her have relentlessly attacked patriarchy in order to liberate women from the protective rule of their fathers. That is what the feminist fight is all about.
The patriarchal family is the family in which the father’s rule has sway. That is the meaning of the word – the ‘patri’ part means ‘father’, not man. It is the word for father that goes back as far as Indian Sanskrit. And the ‘archy’ part comes from the Greek word archon meaning power, rule or force.
In just 45 years or so, feminism has brought down the family. Feminists have achieved Greer’s aim of liberation of women, but they have released a genie out of a bottle. The truth is, those women ‘liberated’ other women and girls from their fathers, and their father’s patriarchal protection, and the damage they have caused for girls, let alone boys (although that is another story – another iniquity) is incalculable.
And they are still around today, plying their angry, rebellious creed. Harriet Harman for example who in 1990 co-authored the report ‘The Family Way’ in which she said,
‘It cannot be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social cohesion.’
These views have turned into reality, and the general populace haven’t even realised their import.
Is anyone going to tell me that if these abused kids in Rotherham had had a father in their lives, able to exercise authority under a generally understood rule, indeed an expectation, that he had a right to do so, some of them (maybe many of them, or even all of them) might have escaped the exploitation and abuse which the evil men, acting like little more than animals, engaged in?
What father would not have wanted to protect a daughter form men like these? What father whose daughter was going off the rails would not want to drag her back home, and keep her there until she realised how much he loved her and wanted to protect her from the wiles and ways of low-life men – ways he knows only too well, not because he is like that, but simply because he is a man and understands what dangers stalk the world?
Sure, daughters rebel against their fathers. They need to, because it is part of their own development as future adults. They are practicing independence and agency – that responsibility for one’s own actions as a full citizen equal under the law that everyone is presumed to have. Children need to break free and become autonomous, and there comes a time in their relationship with their parents when they kick over the traces. Often that takes the form of challenging the father’s rule when the time is right.
This is part of the maturing process toward adulthood. (And, incidentally, it is a process, it doesn’t just happen at age sixteen, or eighteen, or twenty-one, depending on the legal regime of the country. It is nonsense to think that many of these girls, particularly the older ones, did not have a degree of agency, albeit immature. To see them purely as victims without agency is too ridiculous for words, and doesn’t help.)
It is true that some fathers have the most extreme difficulty in coping with their daughter’s rebelliousness. It is true that many fathers are too heavy-handed. They are human and flawed. Some fathers – all too many these days – are ineffectual as a result of the denigration of manhood that is so rife today. In an age when young women are constantly told they are not under the rule or domination of men, how can a father exercise his protective role?
Many men just give up. Many more cave in to it all. Especially when they realise they have no mandate from society to protect their children; when they know they can be challenged and charged with all manner of domestic violence offences by a state that, even now, is seeking more power to intrude into the home, criminalising domestic behaviour as abuse.
Even more fathers are taken out of the equation altogether by the family courts of the very state to which they pay taxes, that routinely create single-mother families (and often mothers who can’t cope with having to assume the father’s role as well as the mother’s). If you treat fathers as a cash machines with no rights, but assign to them onerous financial responsibilities from which they cannot escape, what do you expect?
The truth is, all the clamour and opinionating about the Rotherham scandal apart, there is a much deeper issue at play that no one seems to have spotted:
Girls need fathers. Boys need fathers. Families need fathers. Hello?
You can go on as much as you like criticising people in public office who, perhaps, should have done a better job. Who in this world could not do a better job of what they do?
Some of them may have been negligent, that is for others to judge.
However, one of the greatest offences a society can commit against its public servants is to give them heavy responsibility without also giving them the power to discharge that responsibility – and it is asking the impossible to require public servants to care for children in a state system that creates so many fatherless (and, in this case, motherless) children.
The state cannot care for children. Only parents can.
It is about time the state woke up to this fundamental truth and started supporting and encouraging the conventional family, rather than destroying it.
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|1.||↩||Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997-2013. Alexis Jay OBE. Section 8.2. Page 69|