A women-only service

Susan Dalgety at The Scotsman on the opening of Beira’s Place:

Beira’s Place, named after the Scottish goddess of winter, will offer support and advocacy to women in the Lothian region, aged 16 and over, who have experienced sexual violence or abuse at any time in their lives.

The service has been launched to follow the global 16 Days Campaign for the elimination of violence against women. It is free and has been set up in response to demand from female survivors for a women-only service.

J.K. Rowling, who will fully fund Beira’s Place, said that she had founded the project to provide what she believes is an unmet need for women in Edinburgh and the Lothians said: “As a survivor of sexual assault myself, I know how important it is that survivors have the option of women-centred and women-delivered care at such a vulnerable time.

Which Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre used to provide but no longer does: it’s run by a man who calls himself a woman.

[Chief executive Isabelle] Kerr emphasised that the Beira’s Place will provide women-centred services. She said: “Violence against women and girls is an issue that crosses all cultures, classes, and religions. These are gendered crimes that are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and disproportionately experienced by women.

“Beira’s Place recognises that effective sexual violence services must be independent, needs-led, and provide responsive, women-centred services so that they are free from the pressure of current political agendas. We are committed to ensuring that our service is free, confidential, and accessible to women survivors who may need it.”

They won’t be putting men who call themselves women in charge.

J.K. Rowling will be joined on the board of Beira’s Place by several of Scotland’s most prominent women’s rights campaigners. They are, Rhona Hotchkiss, a former governor of Cornton Vale women’s prison; Johann Lamont, who was Scottish Labour leader from 2011 to 2014; Dr Margaret McCartney, a leading GP, academic and broadcaster and Susan Smith, a director of For Women Scotland, the country’s largest grassroots women’s organisation.

The backlash will be swift.

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