Former newspaper owner Shah says girls can be blamed for abuse
Former newspaper owner and author Eddy Shah has caused a storm after suggesting underage girls who can consent are “to blame” for the abuse they suffer.
The comments are particularly significant given Mr Shah’s recent legal history. In May 2013 he was found not guilty of six charges of rape involving a girl between the ages of 12 and 15. The incidents were alleged to have occurred in the 1990s.
Mr Shah founded the newspaper Today in the 1980s and was well-renowned for his support of Margaret Thatcher’s anti-union stance, which he demonstrated by firing six of his workers in a decidedly anti-union move.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5, Mr Shah said: “If we take the pop groups and people of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, who everybody knows that women were throwing themselves at them – young girls who looked 17, 18, 19 and 20…. ”.
He added: “Rape was a technical thing – below a certain age. But these girls were going out with the pop groups and becoming groupies and all the rest of it, and throwing themselves at them. You cannot put that down to the fact they’ve been abused.”
He concluded: “Young girls and young men have always wanted a bit of excitement when they are young. They want to appear adult and do adult things.”
Mr Shah’s comments has drawn criticism from Pete Saunders, the chief executive of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood.
Mr Saunders said: “I’d like to meet with Eddy, and to have him explain to me, and maybe explain to some rape victims, what he means by ‘raped raped’, because my understanding is there is rape, or there is not rape, and rape is always a crime.”