Betrayal

Women Are Human last November on that Brighton “women-only” refuge that’s not women only:

A woman who survived multiple incidents of sexual violence sought female-only group support from a charity, only to be driven away in panic when a tall man with a “deep voice” and “men’s clothes” became a member. The charity, which is funded by the Government, local authorities and the NHS, told the woman it does not “police gender,” and the male individual has every right to be present at the sessions.

If it doesn’t “police gender” i.e. offer women-only spaces for rape victims then what good is it?

“When I first went, it was all women and we all had similar experiences so I was reassured and it was really positive,” the survivor told the press. “Some women had been abused as children so obviously we had that shared experience of being a girl and abused by a man. … We talked a lot about male entitlement, about how men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Quite often we just said how we didn’t trust men and it felt like a safe space to say that.”

The sense of sanctuary was shattered during the sixth session. The facilitator announced to the group: “Everyone is welcome here.” The rape survivor noticed “there was someone there who I presume identified as a woman, but to me they just seemed like a man.” The individual, who was two seats away from her in the circle, was “6ft tall, had a deep voice, wore casual trousers and a sweatshirt and had no obvious female attributes,” nor visible signs of “transitioning” to a feminine appearance.

Due to the trauma of having been “tricked” by male abusers in the past, “I immediately wanted to walk out. I thought, ‘I don’t want to be in this space.’”

The feelings intensified when the new member did not share any personal experiences of surviving sexual abuse.

“My paranoid side makes me think they were there for voyeuristic reasons. My rational side thinks they were probably there because they need help,” she said.

No, I don’t think it is particularly rational to think the man was there because he needed help, and I don’t think it’s even slightly paranoid to think he’s there for voyeuristic reasons. I also think the women running that shelter are abusing the women who need it.

The quality of the group immediately degraded, she added. “It felt like the priority of the group was not to talk about male entitlement any more or our shared experiences, but about making sure this person who was born male felt comfortable.”

Contemporary “feminism” in a nutshell. Stop talking about male entitlement and any other aspect of sexist hierarchies, and instead focus on making men feel welcome.

She wrote a letter, the service rebuffed her and told her to find a different service. But there’s a catch!

The rape survivor sought to follow this advice. However, attempts to find a female-only support network in Brighton proved fruitless, as she found that they all welcome “self-identifying females.”

She requested the Survivors’ Network set up a service for only women, but the suggestion was rejected.

Jay Breslaw, CEO at the Survivors’ Network, the Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex, submitted a letter to a Parliament Commons select committee last year which expressed strong opposition to the placement of stricter regulations on single-sex spaces:

We are deeply concerned about the possibility of tightening of access to single-sex spaces and we strongly feel that the use of women only spaces by trans women should be actively encouraged and we would urge reviewing the law around single-sex space exemptions. There is no safe or survivor-centred way to police the anatomy of someone accessing a service or using a bathroom/changing room.

Utterly disgusting.

One Response to “Betrayal”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting