The child abuse in Rotherham needs to be addressed properly, not through witch hunts and racist campaigns.
The scale is shocking, but abuse is appallingly common. Around
10 percent of children suffer abuse—this includes being exposed to “flashers”, inappropriate touching, grooming and rape.
It happens in all parts of society and the majority of perpetrators are white.
The BBC and Westminster child sexual exploitation scandals show that abuse goes right to the top of society.
Such systematic occurrence of abuse shows it is not simply about individuals. It didn’t happen because men—or particular men—are born that way.
The roots of child sexual exploitation are in a capitalist society that’s based on exploitation and has inbuilt inequality and oppression.
It is a society of rich and poor, those with social power and those with none, some who are listened to and some who are ignored.
And it is a society where profit comes first and the police exist to protect the rich rather than ordinary people.
Even the Financial Times noted, “It is hard to miss the class component of this scandal…the blatant disregard shown to working class children and their families.”
Inequality and oppression are entrenched in our society’s institutions.
The family is an important part of the capitalist society. It fulfils the role of producing the next generation of workers. Our rulers also encourage us to think of it as a refuge from the pressures of work and competition.
But it has never been this idyll. It is more like a pressure cooker.
The majority of children who suffer abuse are abused by a family member. Many women who are raped are attacked by a current or former partner, or a family member.
In capitalist society, we are alienated and our relationships are continually distorted.
Everything—including our sexuality—is “repackaged” and “sold” to us as a commodity on the market. That’s why the form that violence takes can be sexual.
Treating sexuality as a commodity means women’s bodies will be seen as existing for men’s satisfaction.
Socialists argue that every allegation of child abuse should be taken seriously.
Children should be supported materially and helped to talk about what has happened. We need fully-funded services.
But to tear out the roots of child abuse we have to transform all human relationships.
We need a socialist world where people come before profit and are seen as human beings, not competitors or objects.
Child abuse is a crime of class society. It is another reason to fight for socialism.