Sorry its been a while I’ve been super busy at work recently. I wanted to take about a 3 part drama I watched this week. its available on BBC I player on catch up.
This series shows the journey of teenage girls in Rochdale who have been groomed by a group of men. The first episode shows how these girls make friends with a new girl called Holly. Holly is 14 and hasn’t had much of a social life previously so for her she just wants to go out with her mates. Her new friends take her to a kebab shop where they all get free food and vodka. The gang is led by Amber who claims one of the guys Tariq ,is her boyfriend.
At first Holly sees nothing wrong with her lifestyle choice to drink a lot at a young age, in the end she does it to cope. One day of the men, who is the leader, Daddy, asks holly when he’s going to get sex. This is where it all goes wrong. After he rapes Holly he then threatens to kill her. Amber says to Holly its just what we have to do, Ambers younger sister ruby 13 who has learning difficulties was also a victim.
After ‘Daddy’ forces holly and amber into a car he then makes it clear if they say anything or don’t play along, he will kill them. With this hanging over the girls heads they continue to do what’s expected of them. The girls are forced to sleep with many different men and Amber was made to collect the money for doing so. With the girls stuck in this endless cycle, Holly almost things she finds her way out. One day when holly snaps and smashes the window in the shop, the men report her to the police. Holly explains about the rape and yet the police do nothing.
Sara is the local worker at the sexual health clinic. Sara is concerned for the girls safety and believes she knows what’s going on. She made an appeal to the police to try and get them to stop what was happening to the girls but they wouldn’t listen to her. At 15 Holly was pregnant and had a daughter called Ella, she didn’t know who the father was. At 13 Ruby got pregnant and had a termination. Ruby told Sara about the abortion, who tipped off the police in hope it may be the evidence they needed to put this gang to an end. Even with the foetus as proof of DNA, they still didn’t take the case any further.
This was very hard for the girls and Sara to come to turns with. After holly went to the police the first time and had no luck she assumed this would be the same if she ever tried again. It was Sara who sat with her and wrote out her statement and then took it to the police. Only for No Further Action Again. The case in this story was huge, there were over 47 girls who had the same claims but each time has been let down for one reason or another.
15 months after Holly had her baby the case was reopened. The former detective constable, Maggie Oliver, was asked to review the case as she had been on previous cases like this before. The man who was head of the greater Manchester police agreed to open the case, but they now needed to re-appeal to the girls who were involved, girls who in had been let down again and again by the police. As you can imagine this case was huge, it was young white minors and older Pakistani men. It was very controversial when it all came to a head. Holly and Ruby didn’t want to go to court, after they had been let down before. The other issue in the case was that amber was not to be treated the same as her sister and friend. Amber was classed as a vulnerable witness and therefore she could potentially jeopardise the case.
Maggie and Sara were able to get holly and ruby to appear via video link to give evidence and for the cross examination. This was extremely hard for the girls, they faced 9 different barristers cross examining them on everything. In the end the jury did return the verdict as GUILTY. All men were found guilty because on sex with a child and various other charge for the planning of how they orchestrated.
Holly and Ruby got justice for everyone concerned, even if it was years later. Amber, however was not classed as the same as the other two victims when I believe she should have been. Amber was classed as a co-conspirator to the case because the girls where doing it through and via Amber. Amber collected the money but never profited she had to give the money to her boyfriend Tariq. I think amber was doing what she had to do to not get beaten herself. When holly said she was going home and she couldn’t keep being forced to have sex with strangers and cope by consuming alcohol, Amber let her go I think she respected her decision.
I know this is a long way of telling the story, and I may have recalled parts wrong. but I really wanted to share this with you because it doesn’t sit right with me. How do we let this happen today in our country, who is meant to stop this, how can I stop this from happening again.
The truth is there probably isn’t a lot I can do personally. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to though, and I really do want to do something to prevent others from going through this. But this didn’t happen in my area, and how can I find out how to help others?
I highly recommend this to anyone who likes to see the unfair systems we have.