What violent sex offenders do

Accused.

Yesterday evening Professor James Treadwell, a criminologist at Staffordshire University, announced his dismay on Twitter at being accused of “transphobia”. The details are vague, even to him. He has not been presented with evidence and he doesn’t and may never know who has accused him. 

The issue is Professor Treadwell’s tweeting in favour of the right of female inmates to a single-sex prison estate. In a series of tweets on 27 December 2021, Professor Treadwell outlined his experience of the manipulative behaviour of violent sex offenders who will use loopholes to “game” the criminal justice system. He was clear that his tweets were not directed at the transgender community. He wrote:

“The idea that sex offenders are manipulative individuals who would exploit systems and laws could only be unreal to those who do not know how manipulative sexual offenders can be. All groom, seek to exploit and control.”

We’re talking about men convicted of sex crimes here. Why wouldn’t they be manipulative and prone to exploiting systems and laws where possible? Why wouldn’t they pretend to be trans women? It’s not “they’re trans, therefore evil,” it’s “they’re convicted sex criminals, therefore they have every motive to pretend to be trans women.”

“It isn’t about trans people, it’s about bad people who will exploit the law from self interest and work within a legal framework (that could protect women’s spaces) to do as they want and get what they want. You think that won’t happen, you don’t know how many sex offenders act.”

And you’re not even considering the obvious likelihoods.

Today, Professor Treadwell is in the awful position of fearing for his job; for a few tweets about a subject that he is specifically qualified to speak on. Meanwhile an effective message is simultaneously sent to his academic colleagues nationwide, that they could be targeted next. He is not the first and he won’t be the last. Many criminologists are choosing to look the other way. Professor Treadwell felt that he could no longer do so. His professional integrity appears to be exactly what he is being persecuted for.

Much the same thing happened to Jean Hatchet, who wrote the above.

This is the problem. Once the word “transphobia” is uttered, little else matters. Once it is written down the battle begins. It is like being blindfolded before being flung into a gladiatorial arena. You have no idea who or what you are fighting, and you have no weapons. You experience paralysing terror at what these unfounded accusations might do to your life. The loss of your job, home and everything you hold dear. A cold descends upon you and fear replaces the initial confidence that you have done nothing wrong. You can shout all you want about the unfairness, about your good character, your right to a personal belief, the boundary to your private life; but when the word “transphobia” is flung in your face, that incorporeal mud sticks immediately and it is up to you to prise it off over agonising months. 

And of course “transphobia” can mean simply not believing that people can change sex. We have two choices: say we believe the magic, or risk losing everything.

We must keep speaking. Women in prison don’t have a voice and we must be the voices that protect and safeguard them. The criminal justice system has failed these women by placing sexually violent men amongst them. Society has failed many of them before they even get to prison. 82 per cent are incarcerated for non-violent or petty crimes like shoplifting. Much of this “crime” is the result of poverty and debt and committed by women who have been brutalised by men over and over again. 

And they don’t have the out that men have. Saying they’re trans men and want to transfer to the men’s prison is obviously not a solution, and neither is staying where they are once men who call themselves trans are added.

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