Last month, I wrote about underage sexual abuse in the UK where vulnerable children in care in locations such as Rotherham and Rochdale were repeatedly failed by their social workers’ indifference while men removed them from their care homes and raped them.
However, there is another group of vulnerable individuals whose plight has been come to light recently: women with disabilities in State care. Since last summer, three such women have been raped and become pregnant while under the protection of the UK’s National Health Service, the NHS. In the first two cases, it appears that no-one has yet been charged with rape.
In October 2019, I wrote about one such case of an unnamed Nigerian woman known as AB who was almost forced to undergo an abortion at Justice Nathalie Lieven’s ruling but whose decision was overturned with the help of a massive public outcry. The woman gave birth to her baby in October and her own mother will raise the child.
This vulnerable woman was in the case of the State tasked with protecting her. She did not want an abortion but having failed in its responsibility, the state then attempted to force another violation on her.
As Lord Alton commented, the truly chilling decision to end the life of a child, against the wishes of its mother, grandmother and a social worker, would have been a coercive abortion worthy of the brutality of the People’s Republic of China, where forced abortions are a regular practice.
After giving birth by caesarean in October last, it was reported that AB was fitted with a “contraceptive device” – again, without the capability to give consent to this. It almost seems that the responsibility of not becoming pregnant again has been left to AB herself, a woman with the mental age of a toddler, which begs the question: what if she is raped again? She can’t verbalise such an assault and now that it appears she has been fitted with an IUD, this may actually make her more vulnerable to sexual predators within the “care” industry.
Very little was reported in the British media regarding the case of the second woman who was raped while in care and her forced abortion in October 2019. But as with AB, many people lobbied in an attempt to prevent her from also being subjected to a similar violation but sadly, their efforts were overthrown.
At the time, Mr Justice Williams ruled that medics could physically restrain the vulnerable woman, if necessary, in order to administer a general anesthetic and perform the abortion. SPUC commented that it was astonishing that yet another ruling of forced abortion was being made less than five months after AB’s case, despite having sought reassurances that such a violation of human rights would never happen again.
In February this year, a third case came to light. The rapist was named as 55-year-old Edson Munyikwa who will serve a custodial term of 12 years. He raped the non-verbal patient when he was looking after her in respite care. His crime was only discovered when the victim missed her period and began suffering a series of fits. The news only appeared on the Yorkshire BBC website and local papers. Leeds Crown Court was told that the woman was left seriously traumatised by the abortion as she did not understand what had happened to her. Margaret Akers of SPUC commented that it was very troubling that authorities saw forced abortion as an acceptable solution, compounding the violence.
The young woman’s family made the following comment about her ordeal: “We find it increasingly difficult to come to terms with the fact that another professional body has caused indescribable distress to a vulnerable young woman.” Another woman has been failed by a UK organisation that should have better standards of care.
Just as in the towns of Rotherham and Rochdale, many promises were made that these crimes would be severely dealt with. This has not happened. Similarly, public outcry that AB’s rape and scheduled abortion should not happen to another have not been heeded. Since the rapes of these three women with special needs were only discovered through pregnancies, how many other similar women are being raped while in care in the UK? And why is so little being done about it?