I have no words

Post about the mine and the media reaction to the child abuse in Rotherham. Be warned.


I slept through most of yesterday, so it was today I got the news about Rotherham; kids abused, assaulted, raped. Stolen away, traded and used. Just bodies, just meat without faces.

I am trying to see their faces.

My news these days comes via twitter, and of course twitter is sickened, revolted, appalled; because people are sickened, revolted, appalled. The abuse, and the seeming cover-up, complicity and indifferent silence of those in charge. The staff on the ground, screaming yet unheard. The kids, too afraid to scream.

And twitter is talking, because people are talking, pointing fingers and shouting blame. Spelling out what exactly went wrong.

Because it’s political correctness gone mad, it’s the fault of a patriarchal system, it’s violence against women. It’s the culture embedded in the council, of managerialism, leftism, sexism. It’s the fault of the financial crash (services cut back, blame the Tories, the bankers, the Labour government who left us in this mess).

But how dare they score cheap political points in the face of such tragedy! Says everyone, pointing fingers and shouting blame at everyone else. But someone, something is surely to blame, shouts everyone. Pointing fingers, waving words, spelling it out to everyone else.

None of it makes sense. Admit it. None of it makes sense. We try to pin the world down with words, give us the comfort of control. Words, at least, make sense, words we at least understand. Water is wet. Fire is hot. This is revolting, abhorrent. Rotten meat.

None of it makes sense, but we’ll try, everyone’s trying. Trying to trap the truth with words, as if we ever could, as if words could ever do that. Words can’t slake your thirst or warm your bones. Words can’t trap the world. They can’t make the senseless make sense, no matter how we try, screaming someone must be to blame, something must be to blame, we must know what happened to stop it happening again, let our words lull us again into that feeling of control. Pointing fingers, shouting.

And really, I think, we’re weeping, hiding, scared. Pointing fingers, shouting, we don’t have to hear that silence from kids too afraid to speak. Walls of words between us and the world, between us and them, ensuring the children remain faceless.

I have no words, but how else am I to speak? They’re the only way to spell out how I feel, so I join the cacophony, raising my voice against that fearful silence. Trying to make sense of people, of the world. Just as trapped as everyone else.

Words, fogging up my world, even as I try to hear their silence, as I try to see their faces.


The full report is here. I recommend reading, although it intervals. It is very, very hard reading; but the best way of getting to the reality, away from the punditry. The bare facts, unembellished by theory, are horrific. I think we owe it to ourselves, as a society, to get those bare facts.


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