I watched this on BBC iPlayer. It was shown over three consecutive nights and was based on the Rochdale child sex scandal.
There is institutional cover up, issues of class and racial bias. A blackness of themes that seems to find its way into the character’s voices I often shape in the stories I write. Nobody listens and it’s here in spades. Pseudonyms are adopted for the characters of Holly Winshaw (Molly Windsor), Amber Bowen (Ria Zmitrowicz) and Ruby Bowen (Liv Hill). They represent hundreds of children, perhaps thousands, who have been raped, beaten, tortured and terrorised into silence in England. White-working class girls. These girls do not know what justice looks like. In truth, neither do I. Imagine instead of the actress Holly Windsor, the queen or her daughter, Princess Anne, were fed burghers, told they were beautiful and then raped, ‘quid pro quo’ and ‘passed around like a ball’ for other Asian men to rape orally, anally and vaginally. I’ve never before sided with the British National Party, until now, who are by any reasonable standards, friends and allies with the moron’s moron in the Oval office. There only answer is Guantanamo Bay for those of the wrong colour and sending those non-whites back to the county of origin. In this case Pakistan. I’m all for it here. The nine convicted Rochdale rapists are from Pakistan. I’d torture them and send them back.
Daddy (Simone Nagra) a Rochdale taxi driver who we first see giving away freebies of vodka and fast food from ‘Speedy Kebab’ argues it’s not his fault if these young girls go about with their tits hanging out, asking for it. Girls from good Pakistani families don’t. Muslim girls don’t. Girls in Rochdale do. Eve testing, which came publically to the fore in 2012 with the Delhi gang rape of a physiotherapist. Six people on the bus raped her, including the driver. She was asking for it, of course, travelling on public transport. The ‘Eve testing’ argument is also played outside the courtroom with a public meeting after the trail with members of the Rochdale taxi community moaning that the general public no longer trusted their Pakistani drivers. And a young firebrand saying the usual stuff about it’s not their fault if young girls flaunt themselves on the streets, good Muslim, Pakistani girls don’t do that sort of thing. The flip side of the argument was the general public were associating these heinous crimes with the general Pakistani community and they didn’t know anything about it. Yeh, yeh, yeh, somebody knew about it. That is how this drama works. Somebody knew about it and did nothing, or when they tried to do something where silenced. This drama is real, because the characters are real life people.
When it comes to passing out awards at the end of the year when gongs and awards are handed out best director, best screenplay, best drama, best actress, best supporting actress…Three Girls should take a wheelbarrow and take the silverware away.
But when it comes to real life, nothing has changed. The heroes here, for example, Rochdale Sexual Health Worker, Sarah Rowbotham (Maxine Peake) who continually tried to get the abusers of these young girls and had a paper map of who the abusers where and where they stayed, was sacked, or in institutional jargon, made redundant. And DC Margaret Oliver (Lesley Sharp, who ironically appeared on Loose Women) were sidelined from the Rochdale investigation and forced to resign. These are women that should receive the highest awards in the land and be allowed to continue and carry on with the investigations of other male abusers of children, whether they are from Pakistan or China or Timbuktu. But institutions are designed to protect themselves and those that have failed such as the police, social work departments and judiciary remain the same old familiar faces. A triumph of drama. The question of what does justice look like? It doesn’t look like this. Cover up and scandal. Same old. Same old. Lack of transparency. No one is to blame and it wasn’t our fault. It’s only white working class girls. Fuck off.