About building bridges

Jo Bartosch at The Critic:

On 2 August, the chief executive of [Edinburgh Rape Crisis], Mridul Wadhwa, appeared on the popular podcast The Guilty Feminist to discuss working in the women’s sector. While writing this, I am mindful that referring to Wadhwa as a man could be deemed a hate crime in Scotland — potentially carrying a hefty custodial sentence. But this legal gag cannot undo the fact that, despite identifying as a transwoman, Wadhwa is male. Furthermore, Wadhwa has boasted about not having a Gender Recognition Certificate and has taken multiple posts which are usually reserved for females, claiming that at least one of his previous employers didn’t know he was male.

When asked about “building bridges” between those who believe that women’s spaces should be segregated by sex, and others who believe they should be open to men if they identify as transwomen, Wadhwa opined:

“Sexual violence happens to bigoted people as well. And so, you know, it is not a discerning crime. But these spaces are also for you. But if you bring unacceptable beliefs that are discriminatory in nature, we will begin to work with you on your journey of recovery from trauma. But please also expect to be challenged on your prejudices.”

So if it’s a man who identifies as a woman who raped you, or a man who claims to be a woman when he’s accused of rape, then you can come in and they will “begin to work with you” but they will also challenge you for saying that the man who raped you was a man.

That should make the whole experience highly rewarding.

ERCC is advertising a post for a chief operating officer. In the blurb ERCC refer to the single-sex exemption in the Equality Act 2010 explaining “only women need apply”, before adding that as a “diverse organisation”, applications from “trans women” (i.e. males) are “especially welcome”. It is entirely possible that the upper echelons of the “women’s sector” in Scotland could soon be filled by men.

Only women need apply but if you tell us you’re a woman we’ll believe you.

While preparing to write this piece, I turned to social media to ask for survivors of sexual violence in Scotland to get in touch. Within minutes I had deleted my tweet because I was overwhelmed; women in direct messages and emails wanted to tell me their stories, to share with me why it mattered to have women-only spaces. Their experiences differed in the detail, but the fear they expressed was the same. These women, survivors of male sexual violence, told me they felt betrayed by RCS; they were angry at being made to feel powerless once again, this time by the very organisation charged with their protection. The most bitter blow for some was how the paid professional feminist class had tried to recast themselves as the victims.

The people who run RCS are putting their political obedience ahead of the needs of the women they are supposed to be helping – they are paid to be helping.

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