Victim Ruzwana Bashir on Confronting Abuse in the Asian Community

It isn’t just White women and girls, who were at risk from predators within the British Asian community. Women and girls from within the community were also preyed upon and abused, but a powerful culture of shame meant that it was underreported and its victims deterred from coming forward to confront their abusers. In this video from 2014, Channel 4 News’ John Snow talks to Ruzwana Bashir, a successful British Asian businesswoman, who has set up her own travel business in America. However, she was abused at the age of 10 in her own family, and the community’s shame culture prevented her parents from speaking about it or prosecuting the abuser. Once away from the community in her twenties she was able to face the past and, with another victim of the same abuser, prosecuted her abuser and had them jailed.

I am not suggesting for a single moment that Asians, and particularly Muslims and Pakistanis, are more likely to commit crimes against children than any other ethnic group.

Perverts are to be found in all communities, regardless of colour, ethnicity or religion. But they will do everything they can to hide their crimes and escape prosecution. The well-connected use the links they have with the powerful to silence the victims and stop investigations. And in the case of the White victims of the grooming gangs, the abusers hid behind their colour and the authorities feared accusations of racism and racial violence. In the case of Ruzwana Bashir, her abuser, and abusers like them, exploit the Asian community’s shame culture and relative lack of education. I hope that Bashir’s appearance on Channel 4 News encouraged more victims of abuse, regardless of colour, to break the silence imposed by shame and demand justice.

We need to make sure that every woman and girl in Britain, whether White, Asian, Black or whatever is protected against sexual abuse, regardless of their race and that of their attackers.

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