If you saw the powerful TV drama series Three Girls then I’m absolutely certain you’ll have been left with the same anger and heartache I was.
If you didn’t catch it, here’s a quick rundown – the series highlighted the true story of three young girls used as slaves in a sex ring in Rochdale by a group of evil men who should be castrated.
There was so much about the treatment of the girls by these depraved animals that filled me with a plethora of negative emotions like hatred and malevolent fury, but also at the same time intense empathy, sorrow and pride for these girls who had the bravery to speak out about their experiences.
They weren’t the only victims of this horrific case. The woman whose determination to see justice done and brought it all out into the open suffered too.
During her tenure as a specialist sex health worker in Rochdale, Sara Rowbotham made over 100 referrals to police and social services which were repeatedly ignored.
The young victims were dismissed as unreliable witnesses until an unwavering Rowbotham convinced police to investigate thoroughly which led to the conviction of nine men in 2012.
And what reward did this hero of society receive? Not an MBE, which seem to be handed to any sports person who get a sniff of a medal these days. No – she was thrown on the scrapheap and made redundant from the job she is so obviously brilliant at.
While we cannot change the past, we can at least applaud the amazing work this woman and her team did because authorities have failed her too.
There’s a petition on change.org to have Sara’s work recognised. Nearly 300,000 people have already signed it. Would be great if a few more did.