There have been a few sensational articles in national papers recently about sex in the Jungle. All sounds like good fun but actually they are talking about the jungle refugee camp in Calais and then it becomes a little less funny. Claims have been made that women go over there just to have sex with the residents of the camp, that female volunteers exploit residents in return for sex. I don’t really know where to start on this, there are so many layers of stuff that it is onionesque but, what is shocking, and really shocking, are the comments from so called ‘normal’ people on social media and online.
So, apparently, women are travelling over to the camp to pluck young men out from tents and roger them senseless. I have not seen any of this. This does not mean that it doesn’t happen but I haven’t seen any of it. I have heard of some people having relationships (and I’ll get onto that a bit more in a minute) and rumours on the internet that some people have abused their position of power in return for sex. Well never heard of that happening before… There is not a single centimetre upon this planet where there is not someone exploiting someone else for sex. The difference here is that, allegedly, it is women doing it. That does not make it alright but the comments being made are vitriolic. It terrifies me that you scrape the surface and that is what is lying beneath, these are actually the thoughts that are rattling around people’s tiny brains.
There are reports of women being raped in the camps. Silence. There were articles about children being raped in the camps. Silence. The police are tear gassing children and babies. Silence. But a female volunteer having sex and all hell breaks loose. What the hell is wrong with people? None of it is alright, if it is exploitative, but the disproportianate responses are beyond. I just wonder what travels along the neuron pathways of people who are outraged by this and not by a small child being raped and the comments, I am very sad to say, are largely made by men.
The whole place is laid upon a bed of exploitation. The people are there as a result of governments, including our own, exploiting countries. People are fleeing exploitation of the very worst kind. They then run the gauntlet of exploitation on a journey across europe, being exploited out of thousands of pounds to make the journey. Exploitation, it would seem, is the name of the human game but not by all I am very happy to say. Where people are exploited, where there is misery, hunger and desperation there also emerges kindness and it is in the camps that I have come across the greatest kindness that I have ever known. The vast majority of the volunteers that I have met are kind hearted, courageous, get off their arse kind of people who simply want to do something where our governments have left a gaping hole of need. Any sane thinking person would find it unacceptable that someone does not have food and is being beaten by the very people who are paid to protect. Take any politics or beliefs out of the frame and that is what it boils down to. If anyone thinks that people deserve to die of cold, hunger and violence simply based upon their place of birth then they need to go and sit in a dark corner and give their head a good wobble.
As the camp is not recognised and as there are people who do live by the belief that a person is of lesser value based upon their place of birth then, as a result, there are also many people who are vulnerable. Where there is a vulnerable person, there is also a queue round the block to get to them. It is known that paeodophiles circle the camp rubbing their hands in glee at the children there with no government willing to protect them. It is the same here, it is probably the same wherever you are living. I used to work as a social worker and I know that it happens everywhere. That children and vulnerable adults are exploited by those who seem to believe that they have the right to do so is nothing new, sadly. What does appear to be new is the level of hatred aimed at people in need of help and towards those doing the helping. We are hearing a narrative going on now that even a year ago would have seemed impossible. Not just towards refugees but the comments about women and sex seem to be taking us back towards the dark ages.
A volunteer and a refugee, Sarah and Hamoud, fell in love and are going to be married. There was an article in the media about this and the response has meant that the level of hatred being aimed at them is making their lives a misery. I remember when they met and were all gooey eyed and swooning and still are and good luck to them. They are both fabulous people. Why shouldn’t a love story emerge from the whole sorry mess. And if it doesn’t work out then that will be sad but not massively unusual for a relationship. I read some of the comments after the article and my eyes were glued in a car crash kind of way, horrified and unable to believe that people actually think these things let alone take the time to articulate them. Proper knuckles dragging on the ground, neanderthal, hideously violent comments and pretty much all by men. Why? I don’t get it. Why does this cause such outrage and yet stories of children being raped draws silence all round? I worry that there are people who live near me that actually think like that. Is it the majority of men? Please restore my faith someone. Is it something to do with being a primal response or some such other kind of twoddle? Manners. Decency. Not wishing harm to someone you have never met. What happened to all of that? If people are frightened that the likes of Sarah choose to spend their life with a kind, funny, clever young man who happens to be from another country then what does that mean? I don’t know but I can’t help hoping that more people follow suit as it sounds like our murky gene pool could do with a bit of a swirl. Judging by the hideous comments being aimed just at these two young people it feel as though our dna needs a shake up before it returns to gorilla completely.