The news here in the UK is full of a child abuse scandal, this time in Rotherham. A nasty case involving the grooming of a staggering number of young people that was ignored by police and social services for a variety of reasons. Heads have rolled in high places, and I hope that dusty case files will be pulled out of storage and abusers will go down for a very long time. If they can chase up 1960s celebrities in their dotage they can chase up a gang of Asians in a Northern town.
This morning on the BBC's flagship radio news programme they interviewed one of the victims. Now in her mid twenties, she gave an eloquent and forthright description of the abuse and of the complete lack of action from the authorities when they were alerted.
The interviewer asked her if there was anything she could have done to prevent the abuse. This prompted a storm of criticism on social media accusing him of victim blaming.
I have to say, in this case I didn't agree with them.
There will be enough victim blamers out there, that is certain. She was a whore, she allowed it to happen, she dressed provocatively, she allowed herself to be plied with alcohol, we've heard it all before and it's particularly reprehensible.
Victim blamer arguments need addressing, and closing down. And the best way to do that is to ask the question of someone capable of answering it. What I heard was a robust interviewee being given exactly that opportunity, and a veteran journalist doing his job of dealing with the issue head on. The result was a particularly moving and effective piece of radio that should leave listeners in no doubt as to the magnitude of the crime or the seriousness of the lack of official response.
It is important to tackle victim blaming wherever it appears. It does no victim any favours though to cry wolf when somebody else is very effectively dealing with the issue by giving a victim the opportunity to speak for themself.