The great Victorian journalist William T Stead, who campaigned vigorously against child prostitution, must be turning in his grave. He stuck his neck out and bought a little girl for £5 (she was carefully looked after by someone else), just to show how easy it was to procure children for sex. Stead was sent to prison. Your editorial (10 May) on the recent Rochdale sex grooming trial is notable for its cowardice. Bending over backwards to political correctness, you state that "this is not an ethnic or cultural crime ? More than nine in 10 of those on the sex offenders' register are white British". You conveniently ignore the fact reiterated regularly by Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, that out of 77 recent convictions for grooming, rape and other predatory sex crimes, 67 involved Pakistani men. Analysis of five police investigations into these horrendous activities has revealed that 94% of the perpetrators were Asian.
What you do is blame the victims, not the perpetrators. We cannot ignore the fact that all nine men convicted of sex grooming in Rochdale came from the same community or that sections of this community have a problem, seeing young, vulnerable white girls as white trash. As the Times editorial of 10 May states, the true scandal of Rochdale is that "of a group of people in which a grotesque and backward attitude to women was taken to a vile conclusion".
? Martin Narey has called for an inquiry into the "over-representation by Asian men in child exploitation" (Grooming offences committed mostly by Asian men, says ex-Barnardo's chief, 9 May). What does he know about child exploitation? As former director general of the prison service and assistant governor of Deerbolt prison, Narey failed to apologise for the widespread rape and beating of children when it was brought into the open on his watch (How did Neville Husband get away with the horrific abuse of teenagers in his care?, Weekend, 14 April). Narey's racist spotlight on Asian men conveniently obscures the action and inaction of police, CPS and social workers who allowed the rape of more than 40 children over years. Why didn't they stop it?
Your editorial asks the question but blames "the poor, chaotic family lives of the victims. This is about class, not race". Does that mean police and others ignored the child who described what was being done to her four years ago because of her class? Whenever a serial rape hits the news the agencies of the state claim it couldn't happen now. But it does happen, because they allow it. Last month, Brian Witty, a white ex-military banker, was convicted of four sex attacks (Report, 24 April). The first was reported in 1995. The victims were not children in care. What was the excuse then?
The response to serial rapists, whatever their class or colour, is a serial disregard for victims. Those who report more than once are more likely to be dismissed and some are even prosecuted while their attackers are free to rape again. We are campaigning to overturn two miscarriages of justice against rape victims imprisoned after they refused to retract their allegations despite police pressure. And Michael Doherty ? prosecuted for harassing the police after he complained of inaction when he reported that a stranger was grooming his teenage daughter ? is taking a private prosecution against an officer. Predictably the CPS wants the prosecution dropped. When will police, prosecutors and social workers who allow rape to go on for years be sacked and prosecuted for aiding and abetting rapists? That would be change.
Cristel Amiss Black Women's Rape Action Project, Kiki Axelsson Women Against Rape, Nina L?pez Legal Action for Women
? "Rather than being preyed on because they are white, these girls were victims because they were seen as weak and vulnerable" (The great silent crime, G2, 10 May). I'm no racist, but how do you know? Perhaps they were vulnerable and white. How coy we've become in facing up to what may be unpleasant truths. What's racism ? the possibility that some act was racially motivated or drawing attention to that possibility? What if they'd been white men targeting vulnerable Asian girls?