A picture of innocence. The girl on the front cover of Girl A: the truth about the Rochdale sex ring by the victim who stopped them (Ebury Press) is rosy cheeked and clear eyed. Long straight hair, long fringe, hiding behind it.
Demur increases the allure; like 16-year-old Kate Moss in her first-ever front cover for The Face (Corinne Day’s ‘The 3rd Summer of Love’ photoshoot, July 1990).
Of course the book cover photo is not the real Girl A (neither did she write the book, which was ghosted byDaily Telegraph crime reporter Nigel Bunyan). But it is her real voice on the radio this morning (Today BBC Radio 4): Manc/Lancs accent flat as Lowry’s matchstick men, telling a terrible tale of repeated rape; singing her song of horrendous experience.
She’s being played again. This is not to say it’s as before, in smelly rooms underneath naked light bulbs with her half-clothed and sobbing at the bulk of brutal men. But she is being passed around the media, obliged to give a performance of innocence betrayed, for one interviewer/reviewer after another.
Again, she thinks she’s playing it. Previously, she must have counted up the free food and vodka and one or two good times, thinking she was coming out on top – until she was lying underneath, getting her comeuppance.
Now there’s another lot playing her for all they can get. Having written off her ‘chaotic’ kind the same way the police did (they’re all slags until proven otherwise), Girl A’s story is being used as the antidote to middle class cynicism: mea culpa, mea culpa, these working class girls were innocent all along; we were so in the wrong.
Uncomfortable, yes; but middle class therapy, nonetheless.
Girl A has been moved from the Rochdale sex ring to respectable hand wringing; both times the object of someone’s else’s self-interest.