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BBC Documentary: The hidden scandal of Sikh girls being groomed

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by dalsingh1zero1, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. dalsingh1zero1

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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The Story of a British Panjabi girl who was tricked into prostitution




    My story started when I was 16 years old living in Handsworth, we had just finished our last GCSE exams. To celebrate, we all decided to go to a bhangra gig during the day, as we knew we would not have been allowed to go in the night. There were 4 of us, best of friends, we decided to go, although we knew we would get into trouble if are parents found out, but we thought that we "only live once" and as it was a special occasion, so we went.

    This was the first time any one of us had done something like this, it was an experience.

    When we got there we could not believe how many people our age were there from all over Birmingham, all Asian! I was shocked more than my friends, there were people drunk, boys/girls smoking, this was the new generation of Asians enjoying the western world freedoms. I remember saying to my friends, "We need to stick together, no matter what happens", we honestly did not know what was going to happen once we were inside.

    Once we got in, they were playing some old bhangra tune? The whole place was packed with "apnaay". Everyone was just so chilled out, it was unbelievable. We got to a side of the club, and just stood there staring at every one dancing and flirting. About an hour later, we were approached by this really nice looking guy, came over to my mate and started chatting, we then noticed the "Kara" on his arm so we assumed it was ok to chat to him, his name was "Mick". We were then introduced to his mates, all of them were really smart and good looking. And we were enjoying this mingling with boys for the first time, we felt both scared and excited, because we had never done this before.

    They brought us drinks, and encouraged us to have some alcohol, something we all strongly at that time refused, but once we paired up and went our separate ways everything changed (I never saw my friends again until a couple hours later, dancing with some strangers, and they were not themselves. I could not believe it, they were drunk! We justified dancing the way we were as we always danced at wedding parties.) I went over to them to see what had happened, they totally ignored me and encouraged me to drink which I then did. My dad would drink a lot so I assumed it be ok).

    We left the club at the end, it was about 4 o' clock, I remember thinking how the hell are we going to get home? We were giggling, And we were late and drunk. I knew my gran would, phone my mum at work if I did not get home in the next 20mins, (I was normally home about 3:50pm, and it was already ten past four, I was in the middle of Birmingham City centre, 40mins away from home by bus!! I was so scared, I knew I was going to get into serious trouble once I got home, and I smelt strongly of smoke and alcohol. My dad was going to kill me. We did not know what to do? Then the guys, who we were dancing in the club, came over and asked us if we were alright? or if we needed anything?, i.e. a lift home, because we were so desperate, we said yes.

    They dropped us home, we exchanged numbers and they went. I got slapped that day, my dad went absolutely mad, because I had lied, went to a club, danced with boys and got drunk! The whole family was really upset. I remember thinking I will never do anything like this again. My friends got the same treatment.

    It was not until a couple of weeks later, that some one kept ringing my house number, anonymous caller, and my gran, bless her, would go over to answer the phone, but no reply. Then one day, as my gran was cooking my roti, the phone rang and I answered, it was that guy from the club. I didn't know what to do. I was scared and yet anxious to what might happen. He wanted us to meet up again, he wanted to know how we were? This was going to be my first relationship. I got to know "Abs" over the next couple of months, we would arrange, the best times for him to call me, it was exciting, no one knew about him, I felt needed and loved. He was 18 at the time, and I had just turned 16. He drove a really nice car and worked for his uncle, in I.T.

    It got to a stage were we would meet up in the middle of the night, I would sneak out of my house, he would pick me up at the bottom of my street, and we would go everywhere together. I was loving every minute of it and every time we would not see each other, I felt like dying, I was truly in love with him. I did notice that he was not Punjabi, he dressed different to normal Punjabi boys that age, and he didn't drink and smoke. He knew a lot of Muslims, but I decide to ignore that fact, as I was having the time of my life.

    I had a funny feeling he was Muslim, but he wore a Kara? and I never had the courage to ask him, because I didn’t want to ruin anything between us. But finally that day came when he revealed that he must go to the mosque, I was taken back, I didn’t know how to respond, my boyfriend was a Muslim, and I loved him too much to let him go. I asked him about his name, his nickname was Abs. he had told me his name was Harbinder, but in fact his name was Yasseen.

    This was a distressing situation, he had lied to me and led me on to believe he was Sikh, but was in fact a Muslim. I confronted him, I asked him, you knew I was a Sikh, then why did you get into this relationship with me? He answered my question with a question, does it matter? And I remember replying "No" after a few minutes, I thought to myself he's not your typical Muslim, and he has treated me with respect.

    It was a hard time, I felt like breaking up with him, he was a Muslim, it wouldn't work? But I could not help it, he loved me, I loved him, and I kept reminding myself, he was different, and all those good times we had during the start of our relationship.

    So we decided to give it a shot, (what fool I was), we would spend a lot of time together, he got me job at his uncle’s firm, they all treated me with respect although I was a Sikh, and all of them were Muslim, they were so nice to me. I felt wanted and at home with me boyfriends family.

    We saw each other for over 2 year's (all through collage) and then came the time for me to leave my home and go to university, I went out of town a good few hours away, I wanted to live as far as away from my family as possible, as they were the obstacle, in my life from him. I had stopped wearing my Kara and my gold khanda necklace. I also stopped going to the Gurdwara, because I did not want to offend him, and I would use that time instead to be with him. I loved him and would do anything for him, anything.

    At university. Things got a bit serious, I lived in halls first, but everyone would look at me and call me names to my face and behind my back, they even trashed my flat twice!! All because I was going out with a Muslim, I would try to explain to them, he was different and he loved me, they would not have none of it, I felt so bad, he had to go through a lot because of me. This was a really bad experience for me, and I felt vulnerable and weak. Things started to change a lot during the first few weeks at my university.

    I quit uni, and moved into a flat with him, he got me another job, and again his cousin helped us financially. I never told my parents that I had done this, they would phone me, I would say everything was going excellent, and I would lie to them.

    During this time, I started to stop going home, I would say that I had too much uni work to do, and so I couldn’t come home. Then, I stopped answering my phone from my family and friends, because I knew all they would say is to stop seeing him, and come home etc. so I changed my number, that's not the only thing I changed, a few months later I changed my name!

    We were happy together, we were in love, we were made for each other!! A few months later I even changed my faith, I became a Muslim, I was happy then to finally be apart of something that was so great, everyone loved me, and I was finally at home and peace. Islam then offered everything to me, it made sense and was the truth, Sikhism had to many flaws in it, or that is what I was told, and I believed everything he said, it all made sense, Sikhism was a man-made religion, it believed in caste (we had Gurdwara made on caste) we would make our women dance half naked on bhangra video's, while Islam would teach us to cover the women because she is so precious, like an diamond. I was duped, I knew nothing about Sikhism, my parents never told me, and I never learnt anything at the Gurdwara, never understood what the Granthi's were saying. And as a result I believed everything he told me.

    We then decided to get married, but he said we should go to Pakistan to that, because his sisters were there, and they were all dying to meet me! So I agreed, we went. The year was 1994, I was 19 years old.

    What I am about to tell you now, is the most disturbing part of my life, I have had to receive medical treatment from Doctor's on a regular basis for a long period, due to this. I would like to say something before I continue, what I am about to tell you, is no exaggeration in any way, this is exactly how it happened, and the metropolitan police are well aware of it.

    Whilst I was on the flight over to Pakistan, I was so excited, I was finally going to get married to the love of my Life, I never thought about my family or friends, as I had everything I ever needed through him. And because I was taught to believe that they were the devil, they will take me to hell, and I did not want to go there.

    When we reached Pakistan, there were a few people there to greet us, I had worn the hi-jab, as a sign of respect to my new in-laws and faith. They were so happy to see me. We were then herded into a 4x4, and then of we went to meet the rest of Yasseen's family.

    We were driving for a few hours, and I was absolutely worn out. We then stopped at what seemed to be a police station or the local sheriff's office, the luggage was taken out of the jeep, and these men came and took the luggage away, Yasseen came over and took my personal belongings, everything, my passport, money even my toothbrush, he said the police wanted to check our things, in case we were smuggling drugs, I remember laughing at first, but when I looked at his face, he was deadly serious, I gave him everything and then I was taken to a room, where I was told to wait. They asked Yasseen questions.

    It seemed like ages, while I waited in that room, on my own. I was getting very worried for Yasseen. During this time, two more cars and a jeep had come to this police station. Finally, a middle aged man came over and started to ask me personal questions. I had trouble understanding what he was saying, he spoke so fast, in Urdu. I kept asking him to take me to Yasseen. He said "Yasseen has gone", those three words stopped my heart beating, I was alone in a remote village in Pakistan, with no belongings and locked up a room. I did not know what to think? What was happening? This was not supposed to happen? Where had Yasseen gone? I cried, and pleaded with the men there to take me to Lahore, they would simply laugh at me and beat me.

    For a few days, I did not eat or sleep, I was disorientated, and I did not know what to do? I became ill, I was very weak, a doctor was called, he gave me some medicine, with which all I did was sleep. The next thing I remember was, when I woke up in a room, with a small barred window, and a small door. This door was locked from the outside, I started to scream, a women cam rushing over. I was relieved for a moment that women had come over to my aid, until she started to shout at me and curse me. I didn't know what was going on. I just sat there in that small, cold room, with blank mind.

    By now I had realized, I was not going home and Yasseen was not coming to my rescue. The building I stayed at was 3 storeys, and was very big. It must have had more than 30 rooms. It was the only building there, there was nothing anywhere around this building, just fields and 1 tarmac road. It was a brothel.

    I was not alone there were 3 other girls (Sikh) that were in the same situation as me. We were all kept on the top floor, we were all given one room each. The other girls had been there longer than me, we would get a chance to speak during the night. They told me of their stories and how they got here, they sounded familiar. It would be very cold during the night. They told me, on the 3rd day, what happens here. This where, the locals came to enjoy themselves. I was very frightened.

    This is where they would come to quench their desires. I remember how they treated us, they would treat us like animals, they would rape us, and then spit on our faces after they were done. It was a living nightmare, with no escape.

    I spent 15 months here, over that period of time, I have seen 36 more girls been brought here, I have some commit suicide and some taken away by rich businessmen who would use them in their own brothels. I saw and lived in HELL, I saw young girls being raped, I herd the screams of these girls and their frustration, that no one would help them. I saw this with my own eyes, and no-one ever helped us.

    A time came when me and another girl, got the opportunity to escape, we had been taken to a local tribesman’s house, a fight had broken out, in his house, the confusion gave us an opportunity to escape, we took a jeep, and set out on the roads, we didn’t know where we were going, we just went, where ever the road took us. We got close to a town Called Eminabad, here we informed the police of what had happened to us, they helped us, we were handed over to the British embassy and sent back to the UK.

    Once back in the UK, the police tried to hand us back to our families, OUR OWN families had disowned us, my family told me to go away, that I had brought shame to the family name, I tried to apologise, and they would not accept it. I even tried to get help form the Gurdwara, they said they could not help us. We had to go back to the police, who then put us in a witness protection programme. The year is 1996, I was then 21.

    We both were given a new chance to start a fresh, the police helped us a great deal. In the programme we were given a place to stay and they gave us new jobs, to rebuild our lives.

    I am now 29, married and have a 3 year old girl. I re-initiated into Sikhism in 1998, me and my friend, we took Amrit and took an active role to combat what had happened to us and help others in the same situation.

    There is not a single second that goes by, without me thinking about those poor girls locked up in Pakistan. I have been scared for life. But I must do everything I can to try to create awareness to help those girls that scream every night and go through that abuse. I am thankful to the Police who are trying to help those girls, but I think we as a community need to do much more.

    We must come out of hiding, and face the danger these girls now face. But what we find is a really negative attitude employed by all parties, the families, Gurdwara and the girls, to do anything about this. I know what happened to me and what is still happening to those that are in Pakistan.

    Accordingly to the latest figures, there are 300 girls there right now, facing constant abuse, who are getting drugged up everyday and then raped. One of them is your relative!! Just keep that I mind, your cousin who you have not seen for over 3 years, went to university and never came back!
     
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  5. angrisha

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    I haven't watched the documentary yet... but this is another article on this topic

    http://www.{url not allowed}/news/there-sikh-code-silence-sexual-grooming



    Personally, I still find this to be a huge issue in our community about abuse and what families will acknowledge. I was thinking that maybe in our generation it was changing, but the taboo around talking about it is still very much prevalent....
     
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  6. jaginder

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    This is among the lowest level a human can get.
    I don't understand why this is not treated with equal force as child porn?
    We must let our children know that its not their fault if this happens, otherwise we are also victimizing them.
    A victim must not suffer beyond the incident.
    I honestly don't know how to react to this. Most disturbing.
    Are some Pakistani Muslims really targeting Sikh girls alone or any vulnerable girl in society?
    This is sickening in any case.
    So hard to be political correct sometimes.
    Kudos to the SAS for the exemplary work! BRAVO!
    We must not wait for miracles to happen for miracles does not come to those who wait. People like the folks in SAS are miracle makers for the girls helped by them.
    This reminds me to keep telling my kids that they can share anything with us without being judged. Please do the same everyone, sometimes its simple things like this that keeps the monsters away.
    Will talk to locals here and see if such things are happening and perhaps set up a watch group.
    Stay cool everyone.
     
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    #5 jaginder, Sep 8, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  7. dalsingh1zero1

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    Here is an after show discussion on a Sikh channel.

    SAS Sikh Ethics Special aired on 2/9/13 on Sikh channel after BBC Inside Out London special - YouTube

    I think we should all take note of what the bibi says towards the end when she says that she believes that the problem is about to get much worse as the police have now been trained to spot and intervene when a young white girl is with a group of 'Asian' men but wouldn't necessarily do so if the encountered a group with a brown girl. This means groomers are likely to focus on brown girls to remain under the radar - so to speak. This mixed with our own communities general reluctance to face up the issue (as well as many others), creates a perfect scenario for abusers.
     
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  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    as long as parents continue to treat their kids as "kids" and not have open communication channels 24/7 and trust on both sides..this is going to get worse...
     
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  9. spnadmin

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  10. dalsingh1zero1

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    I think another majorly significant factor that frequently contributes to the problem is what I'd call 'the Panjabi Sikh family model.'

    I see so many apnay families that live in this sort of naive, gullible bubble, completely isolated from, and almost ignoring the existence of dark, insidious forces around us. You see it all the time.

    Then when they get hit by reality, the simply sweep it under the carpet. Our family model needs to change and be about more than just academic and career success. Which is all apnay frequently seem to be concerned about?


    This creates hordes of guileless, simpletons. We need more 'chaturta' or street smarts going on.

    From where I'm standing it looks like our society can be simply and accurately described as one where the ultimate and biggest concern boils down to who has the best job. We have this ideal of this sort of picture perfect, innocent, naive, smiley ladida family completely divorced from the realities of an often deceptive, insidious and dark world around them. Our perfect family model actually relies on patently ignoring 'bad things' like they will disappear if we refuse to acknowledge them. Any whiff of something that might have one question the reality of the ladida facade is avoided like the plague, and when the worse happens, its swept under the carpet and the facade maintained.
     
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    #9 dalsingh1zero1, Sep 10, 2013
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  11. spnadmin

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    dalsingh ji

    Do you think this family model is unique to those you call "apnay?" Or did it have its origins somewhere else? Stuck because it worked in a different environment? Was transported to far and sundry lands? Continued even though it doesn't fit or serve very well? Yet... no one has a clue that there is a mismatch? That other models need to be adapted to the unique needs of new lands and situations? And if when one has a clue, one doesn't know what to do about problems one now sees in a different way?

    The genius of the grassroots movement among kaurs in the UK to instigate change comes from working in unison to craft a different perspective, get people to see with new awareness, and offer some tools to change the situation.

    Sikh Women's Alliance is demonstrating the why, who and how very well.
    Sometimes it is necessary to simply take leadership when leadership rises from mounting frustration.
     
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  12. LittlePrem

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    I read about this last year, happening to White girls. Now Sikh girls too. Apparently, this seems to be an epidemic in the UK. I hope the UK legal system is finally getting off it's politically correct behind and admitting to the problem and using a swift hand of justice.
    The families of these girls need some serious education on how to care for thier victimized daughters. Someone needs to pound "it's not her fault" into thier narrow minds. The girl has every right to heal, move on, live and be loved. She should never be made to feel ashamed.
     
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  13. Ishna

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    I wonder if these Muslim men would go as far as to wear a dastaar and untrimmed darhi? If not, then if Sikh girls and women avoid those who aren't wearing the Guru's bana then they won't be so easily led astray. It might have the added benefit of encouraging more Sikh men to wear the full uniform, not just a kara.

    Due caution needs to be exercised at all times however, a dastar and darhi is by no means a guarantee that the person wearing such is honest and trustworthy (unfortunately).

    Also Dalsingh Ji writes:

    It is easier to police when a white girl is with a group of 'Asian' men - how are they supposed to police it if a 'brown girl' is with her family, or extended family, perfectly safe, as opposed to legitimately socialising with 'Asian' men, or when she is being led astray?
     
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    #12 Ishna, Sep 10, 2013
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  14. angrisha

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    This does happen in our own communities probably more so than we are aware of. The truth is, this is a hard topic of discussion with any culture.
    Sexual assault, physical abuse etc is very under-reported especially with minors involved. Its only been in the last few years (and I credit Oprah) that this topic has actually hit mainstream and we are hearing more and more about this, across the board in almost every community.

    Biggest problem in our own community is lack of available language and support system for ppl to turn to. If these childrens parents have never been taught the language, or understood any other way of addressing such an issue we cant expect them to react any other way. I cant imagine it being easy on any parent to hear about this happening to their daughter... but they end up isolating, and re-victimizing them.

    Community education is going to be very important if anything is to change, and its actually a very good thing IMO that these discussions are happening.
     
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  15. dalsingh1zero1

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    Wanted to bump this one up again; just to give the subject focus again.

    Too many of our lot like to turn a blind eye to uncomfortable subjects.
     
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  16. Luckysingh

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    Yep, it's easy to turn a blind eye unless it happens to someone you know !

    By now, nearly every Sikh knows of someone in the neighborhood that has experienced this, or someone that knows someone, lets' say.

    Problem is that muslim groomers have no fear
    In fact they feel they are doing good and getting brownie points to get to the 72 virgin heaven.

    One of the many factors for me to leave UK was the rise in these cases and the fear for my kids in the future.
    (what better place than Vancouver, where more than 85% of brown people are Sikh!)

    I know how most Sikhs feel uncomfortable about the situations there. Another problem is that the Sikhs or Punjabis outside of UK cannot really comprehend the matter and don't think it's all that bad.

    This was actually happening quite heavily in the early to mid 80's. However, very few cases ever came to light because of the shame felt by families.
    Every one of us will remember or would have heard of a case of a Sikh girl that disappeared from the scene and the family would claim that she's gone away abroad to study, studying and living in Glasgow or central London, living with her aunt/uncle abroad ....etc.... ALL sorts of excuses to justify the disappearance of a groomed/blackmailed child.
    So, if you remember that girl down the block that just disappeared to go and study or live abroad, the chances of her being groomed were most likely.
    Then there were cases where the girl had been seen in the company of muslims, so the excuse of gone away wouldn't work and in these cases it was very common to hear that ''They've done some black magic and thoonah on their poor kid''

    In mid 80's it was only because of 'Shere Punjab' that most of the Sikhs realized what was happening. They tried very hard to get to as many gurdwara stages and bring this to everyones attention. Even back then, they tried to handle the situation's themselves instead of going to Police because 'grooming' was not even a used term back then.
    Because, you could go to the police and say your kid(over 16) has been kidnapped....hang on...kidnapped....eh....eh.....BUT not by physical force!!!...... Then the police would say something like ....''we can't legally do anything because she wasn't taken by force'' !!!
    Next step, maybe, would be to approach her and ask if she was being harmed in any way ? we know what the answer would have been and then it would be file closed !
     
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  17. dalsingh1zero1

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    Notice how in that documentary, the BBC totally hide the fact that guys went in and violently confronted the groomers in the Leicester case. Even getting arrested for it.

    There is an element of the BBC, itself mired in emerging pedophilia cases (i.e. Saville and co.) trying to do a PR stunt by acting concerned about Sikh girls now.
     
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  18. spnadmin

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    dalsingh1zero1 ji

    Thanks for this update. One thing I would suggest, though it may go nowhere. But you should try. Why not write to the producers and ask for an explanation, making it clear that accountability is part of journalistic integrity.

    I have been doing this lately with BBC. Sending them questions. Sometimes I get a decent answer; other times I get a pro forma reply that is useless. It could be worth a try.

    Just a thought on my end. I share your frustration and am indignant myself.
     
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  19. spnadmin

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    BBC has gone downhill, I would say over the last year. It is getting to be a digital rag heap, both the news and tv coverage. At one time it used to lay claim to a lot of prestige and credibility among US audiences. No more.

    I have to add this. BBC at one time was a kind of refuge for US audiences seeking relief from American media. Their writing has become immature and simplistic. The tv coverage seems to aiming at the 14 year old mind.
     
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  20. dalsingh1zero1

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    My own experiences on complaining about biased coverage in the British media has been a joke. On historical documentaries they fall back on some rubbish about presenting things from a 'British perspective' as if that gives license to distort facts. An old documentary (Channel 4 I think) about SP, who were amongst the first to try and highlight and combat the grooming problem, only edited video interviews to make the Sikhs look like trouble makers, who were jealous of Muslim lovers.

    I think one of the positives of modern life is the way we can use the net to circumvent the traditional media outlets who frequently seem to skew things, at least in the UK. So you get an overemphasis on the role of Sikhs as imperial 'storm troopers' in British ventures. Or castigation for partition. I mean look at this case in point; confronted with the abuse of Sikh girls, the media falls onto some weak position of trying to implicate the Sikh community in some way because of some 'honour based silence' - when the reality is that members of the community have been trying to highlight the issue for a few decades now, only to be criminalised or undermined by the police and social services and media.

    Only under the potential threat of a spread of violence and reeling under the expose of pedophilia within the BBC ranks itself have they finally done something. A case of too little too late perhaps? But that isn't to say that it doesn't serve our purpose.

    In the end analysis, we can't really trust or rely on British institutes (be they police, media or social services) to protect naive Sikh girls. Once we (as a wider community) grasp this truth, we'll probably be in a better position to understand what we are facing and more importantly, what we need to do to overcome it.
     
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  21. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    You are right in so many ways. Media swings back and forth between glamourisation and vilification but the truth is about real people suffering on the ground. We end up being fed myths and mythology.
     
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