Asian Women Aren't Reporting Sexual Abuse, But This CEO Wants To Change That

basharPhoto: Courtesy of Peek.com.
Ruzwana Bashir may best be known as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. But, the 31-year-old CEO of Peek.com grew up in a British-Pakistani community in Skipton, England. It's not far from Rotherham, a small town that's in the middle of a major sex abuse scandal.
A recent report details numerous instances of sexual abuse there, mostly from white victims who say the perpetrators were Asian men. However, Bashir says that's not the whole picture, because sexual abuse goes underreported by Asian girls and women.
She would know — she was once one of them. When Bashir was 10, she was sexually abused by a neighbor. Out of shame, she said nothing. Years later, she finally told her mother who, even in her horror, begged her daughter not to go to the police. She did, and soon other women came forward. Even in numbers, there was no safety, though. They were still shunned by their families and communities for making their accusations public.
Advertisement
People have been quick to point out the men accused of abuse in the Rodderham scandal are Muslim, but Bashir says this is not a religious issue or even a race issue: It's a cultural issue. "It is a culture where notions of shame result in the blaming of victims rather than perpetrators," she writes.
To counter this problem, she's offered up a four-prong solution. The U.K., she says, needs to better train social workers and police offers to identify victims, to require authority figures to report signs of sexual abuse, to improve support for victims who do come forward, and to appoint a person in every community to ensure follow-through on these policies.
While this would certainly help, it won't immediately address the attitude that girls and women are to blame when they're sexually abused. That could take decades to shift. It's something that's depressingly hard to do. Way too depressing.
For now, Bashir's solution is, at least, a good start. (The Guardian)
Advertisement

More from Politics

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.