Ann Coffey MP has welcomed the Children’s Commissioners report into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups, which found a “deep malaise within society.”
The report found shocking evidence of sexual assault including rape being carried out by young people against other children and young people.
Chillingly this was more widespread than simply gang associated violence.
The report found that the issue of consent was “muddled “in many children’s minds and some did not understand it at all.
The inquiry found, over and over again, evidence of forced or coerced sex by young people against young people taking place in an extraordinary casual way.
Ms Coffey, who is the chair of the All Party Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, supported the call for schools and youth services to provide high quality relationship and sex education to help children understand the idea of “consent” and to counteract popular culture.
She said the music and porn industries had a lot to answer for.
Ms Coffey said:
“Young people are growing up in an overtly sexualised world. You only have to listen to and watch current explicit music videos to understand how difficult it must be for some young people to understand the idea of consent.
“The noxious Robin Thickes song “Blurred Lines” has now been banned from about twenty student unions because they believe it promotes rape because its lyrics describe a woman as an “animal” who “wants it”.
“If young boys really believe that, then it gives no space for the idea of “consent” from young girls. The music and pornography industries, which make vast amounts of profits, have a great deal to answer for.”
Ms Coffey added:
“Jimmy Savile was able to abuse young girls because the popular culture of the day permitted him to do so.
“It is deeply depressing that 50 years on from that we still have songs like “Blurred Lines” which can give rise to the perception in young men’s minds that they can dispense with the idea of consent because all women “want it”. For child sexual abusers, these sort of lyrics are a green light for their activities.
“It is no use going on about Jimmy Savile 50 years ago, if we are creating the conditions for the next Jimmy Savile today.”