Ben Trovato has pubished this excellent reflection on the appalling Rochdale case, on his blog Countercultural Father.
I wanted to pay some attention to an element that has not been mentioned in any detail in the media reports I have seen so far. That is, the question of attitudes to slavery.
We all know that during the course of history people have acquired slaves by various means. They still do so in some cultures. These methods have historically included by capture, whether in battle or otherwise; by the birth of children to those already enslaved; as a gift; or by purchase from dealers. To which I think we should add, by enticement and trickery.
The history of slavery from a Christian perspective is set out in great detail in this article in the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is really worth reading.
This year I managed to finish reading the foundational book of a certain religion. I read it five pages at a time, having to force myself to do so at times, not because it was difficult to understand, but because of a mixture of its style and content. I will just say that there are some things in it which leap out at the reader, whichever way you may wish to take that comment.
In the context of this post on slavery, the book sets the limits beyond which adherents are not to go in their use of female slaves. Here is a text relating to prostitution:
You shall not force your slave girls into prostitution in order that you may enrich yourselves, if they wish to preserve their chastity. If anyone compels them, God will be forgiving and merciful to them. (Reference 24:33)I think it’s a pretty fair bet that those unfortunate young girls in Rochdale, who had reached an age when they were enthralled by the idea of romance (and thought they had found it in the takeaway shop, heaven help us), had never been taught about the value of the virtue of chastity – indeed, of its vital importance in the dangerous atmosphere of some parts of modern society. They may never even have heard the word, let alone the idea.
Shall we, by the way, avoid referring to the girls as white? It is not clear that all of them were, if we include other parts of the country in which similar cases have been revealed. I don't think the chief attraction lay in this. They were not members of their predators’ religion; they were young and emotionally vulnerable; they were willing to engage in unchaste behaviour. This combination provided the ideal opportunity for their abusers to act upon the entitlement implied in the text quoted above.
I will say no more on this matter, and I should warn my readers not to be disappointed if their comments do not appear. I may also be somewhat inconsistent in my censorship.