Women only spaces are a core principle

Rape Crisis Scotland has joined the fray.

Rape Crisis Scotland is Scotland’s leading organisation working to transform attitudes, improve responses and ultimately to end rape and sexual violence in all its forms. Our helpline is open to anyone – including women, trans and non-binary people, men and boys – affected by sexual violence…

Accessing support is – for many survivors – a daunting and difficult thing to do. We think that all survivors should be supported to access specialist services when they are ready and that these should be available at the point of need.

Sexual violence is a gendered and has a disproportionate impact on women and girls; our services reflect that. Women only spaces are a core principle of the Rape Crisis movement and upheld through our National Service Standards (read these here). These spaces include women with a diverse range of lived experience and views, including trans women and girls.

So, in other words, their women only spaces are not women only spaces. Being a man or a boy is not part of a diverse range of lived experience of being a woman or a girl. Women only spaces are not a core principle of the Rape Crisis movement if men are included in the category “women.”

It’s just such contemptuous defiant out in the open gaslighting to tell women “we provide women only spaces that include men.”

What they’re doing, basically, is putting their own membership in the Approved Thinking Club ahead of the gut-level needs of raped women. They care more about demonstrating their personal orthodoxy than they do about helping actual raped women…which is supposed to be their whole purpose.

Over the weekend we became aware of coordinated and harmful claims circulating about Rape Crisis services in Scotland, stemming from a twitter thread that questioned the provision of women-only spaces in Rape Crisis Centres.

Maybe because you include men in your “women-only” spaces?

We engage, and will continue to do so, in good faith conversations about what support Rape Crisis offers, and what that support looks like in practice, because it helps survivors to know what to expect when they reach out. While we normally refrain from commenting on the abuse we receive on social media, to focus on our vital work, we are responding here to reiterate the principles that guide our work in supporting survivors.

We are feminist. Our work is underpinned by a feminist understanding of violence and inequality and our services are committed to being women-led and the provision of women only spaces and services. We are proudly diverse, intergenerational and inclusive and strive to ensure that all survivors in Scotland receive the response and support that they need and deserve.

But by “women only” you mean including men, so that’s an issue.

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