Two survivors of Muslim child rape gangs have said that groomers are still abusing young girls in Rotherham.
Linzi Williams and Natalie Fuller, who have been best friends since childhood, waived their anonymity to speak to Channel 4 about being groomed and raped as children.
Ms. Williams was 15 when she was abused by Arshid “Ash” Hussain, but thought she was having a normal boyfriend-girlfriend relationship as she had never been out with anyone before.
After falling pregnant by her abuser and having an abortion, Ms. Williams told Channel 4 that the childhood trauma affected her ability to trust people and she now suffers from attachment problems.
“At one minute I thought I wanted to keep it, because I thought, ‘Oh, he’s going to be with me and everything’s going to be fine.’ Obviously, it wouldn’t have been,” Ms. Williams said.
Ms. Fuller was just 13 when she was raped by Ash’s brother, Bannaras. Natalie suffers from panic attacks, and described the experiences as a “torment” that she has to relive every day.
“I went home and remember getting straight in the bath and scrubbing myself… My childhood was ruined from that point,” Ms. Fuller said.
Describing an occasion when Bannaras tried to force Ms. Fuller to commit a sexual act in the woods, she refused and he beat and kicked her. Then a young girl, she was frightened, but mustered the courage to tell the police.
“I was scared. I said to them [the police] what he’d done, and they said, ‘Well, you’ve got to press charges. We can’t do anything.’”
“I said I was scared, because you don’t know what they’re like. I gave them a name, but nothing was done,” the young woman said.
“It was disgusting. I was just a child. There were all these people there that should have been protecting me, but they didn’t.”
Nearly half of all child exploitation cases being investigated in South Yorkshire are rooted in Rotherham with 21 convictions over the past three years.
In Rotherham, there have been 1,400 known victims of child sexual exploitation since the 1980s, described as “the biggest child protection scandal in UK history”, and 92 people have been convicted.
Bannaras and Ash Hussain have been convicted and imprisoned, but Ms. Williams and Ms. Fuller know that Muslim groomers are still operating in the city.
Ms. Williams told Channel 4: “You know it’s still happening. When you’re driving down town centre roads you see men in their cars with their girls and stuff.”
When asked why the police couldn’t see that if she could, she answered: “I don’t know.”
In May, Maggie Oliver, a former police detective who helped prosecute another Muslim grooming gang in Rochdale in 2012, wrote that offenders identified during the original investigation are still at large.
“There are still paedophiles who we identified… who are out there right now,” the whistleblower said. “I still support many of the girls and they tell me they’ve seen them.”
A nationwide pattern emerged after the first prosecutions in Rotherham, and then Rochdale, where a “culture of silence” and political correctness led to inaction by authorities who feared being called “racist” as the groomers were predominantly Pakistani-origin Muslims who preyed on vulnerable, white girls.
In some cases, authorities made the victims feel that they were racists for identifying the ethnicity of their abusers, and even suggested that the underaged girls’ victimisation was a “lifestyle choice” and that they were prostitutes.