THE first day I met the adult survivor of Child Sexual Exploitation who identifies herself as “Elizabeth” was on August 2 2016. I handed Elizabeth a copy of “Voices of Despair, Voices of Hope”. Elizabeth read the voice on page 34 titled “Council Showboating”. Elizabeth’s first ever words to me were “It is still going on”.
Voices of Despair Voices of Hope is a 40-page collection of the voices of victims, survivors, their family members and others adversely and directly affected by Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
About ten days after “Voices” was published on February 28 2015, RMBC ordered and paid for 1,500 copies. On September 15 2015, suddenly, unexpectedly and shockingly, an officer at RMBC announced that the council was no longer going to distribute “Voices” through their workforce as promised.
I still do not know to this day why that decision was made.
Just over four years have passed since the day I first met Elizabeth on August 2 2016. It is with deep sadness that I have to say that there is a wealth of evidence that Rotherham Council showboating is fit and healthy. With Elizabeth’s call on July 28 for the chief executive to be suspended (without prejudice), maybe, just maybe, council showboating as experienced repeatedly by victims and survivors of CSE will come to an end.
People ask me why I am still so strongly persisting in seeking the truth almost five years since the fateful decision so suddenly, unexpectedly and shocking announced (in response to an email suggesting a second edition of Voices to address hate and racism).
The reason is that, as long as I breathe, I will never abandon those who entrusted me with their Voices.