Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
3 March 2016, 11:32
If People Blame Adam Johnson's Victim, Why Not Rotherham Victims Too?
Blaming the victim in the Adam Johnson case? James O'Brien asks why you're not blaming the Rotherham victims too, then?
James O'Brien had a powerful message for people who are blaming the victim in the Adam Johnson case: do you blame the Rotherham victims too?
Adam Johnson was found guilty of sexual activity with a child yesterday following the meeting with a 15-year-old girl.
Some people on social media have been quick to blame the victim, saying that 15-year-old girls know what they are doing and are old enough to make that decision. But James insists that the law is there to protect girls who are not old enough to make that decision.
But James had one question that few of these people can answer: if you blame this victim, do you blame the Rotherham victims too?
Speaking on his LBC show, he said: "The Adam Johnson conversation is about victim blaming.
"It happened in Rotherham during the grooming cases up there, where police and social workers and an awful lot of professionals who should have known better felt that a 15-year-old girl could somehow consent to sexual activity with adults. Words like slag were used, as they were in the footballer grooming case.
"To me, the crimes are comparable. The scale of events in Rotherham obviously much much dwarfs the Adam Johnson story.
"But you probably don't remember a story in 2006 when a group of footballers were cleared of gang-raping a 15-year-old girl on the grounds that she had consented.
"We've come a long way as a society since 2006. We seem to be a lot clearer now on the fact that girls under the age of consent can not meaningfully give consent.
"It's a point that all of the victim blamers miss. And I think they miss it deliberately sometimes.
"I think they miss it hypocritically. You find very few people attacking the girl in the Adam Johnson case also blaming the young women abused in the Rotherham case.
"There's a massive double standard there."