Even rape-crisis centres are in hock to trans activists

Victims of sexual violence have been shamed and hung out to dry for failing to go along with gender ideology.

Jo Bartosch

Jo Bartosch

Topics Identity Politics UK

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Do rape-crisis centres exist to support rape victims, or to validate the beliefs of gender ideologues? This was the question at the heart of a recent UK tribunal ruling.

This week, it was revealed that the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre (ERCC) turned away rape survivors who were suspected of disagreeing with its trans-activist chief executive’s views on gender. Women who wrote to the ERCC to ask about women-only services were classed as bigots and had their communications stored in a folder called ‘Hate emails’.

All this came to light thanks to staff member Roz Adams winning her case for constructive dismissal against the ERCC. A panel of judges found that a ‘heresy hunt’ was launched against her because she ‘did not fully subscribe to gender ideology’, unlike ERCC management, which ‘wished to promote it in the organisation’. The targeting of Adams was instigated by what the employment tribunal described as the ‘invisible hand’ of Mridul Wadhwa, the transgender head of the ERCC.

Adams’s ordeal began when she tried to advocate for traumatised service users who wanted reassurance that they would be seen by a female counsellor. A female colleague, referred to as AB in the ruling, identified as nonbinary and chose a name that would be widely understood as male. This prompted one service user to ask Adams whether ERCC staff were all female because ‘as a woman, I would be very uncomfortable talking with a man’. Adams then emailed her manager for advice.

In a trail of emails, Adams pointed out that ‘people who have been abused by men… are very attuned to be triggered by the presence of male bodies’. If the biological sex of the ERCC’s case workers were to be disclosed, then the ‘barriers to [women] accessing support would be reduced’, she explained. But her lengthy and considered email asking for guidance was referred to by AB as ‘violent and humiliating’. The court dismissed this entirely, stating that ‘the email has not caused [AB] the upset and humiliation’ that she claimed it had. ‘It is also suspicious that the claim of humiliation only comes later after [AB had] been in contact with Mridul Wadhwa’, the judges added.

No matter how spurious the claims of offence, Adams’s colleagues insisted that she was a transphobe. She was then placed under an investigation that was described in the ruling as ‘somewhat reminiscent of the work of Franz Kafka’. Wadhwa, the tribunal noted, had already ‘formed the view that the claimant was transphobic’ before dismissing her. ‘This led to a completely spurious and mishandled disciplinary process.’

It has long been clear that Wadhwa has put his trans activism ahead of the needs of the women the ERCC is supposed to serve. Back in 2021, he appeared on the popular podcast, The Guilty Feminist, to talk about his career. When asked about whether women should be entitled to access rape-crisis centres that are free of men, he said:

‘Sexual violence happens to bigoted people as well. And so, you know, it is not a discerning crime… 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.’

There could hardly be a more glaring example of Wadhwa’s lack of respect for women’s boundaries. This is a man – biologically and legally (he does not have a gender-recognition certificate) – who thinks he has a right not only to run a women’s shelter, but also to ‘re-educate’ and chastise the women who come there seeking help.

As it happens, there is a service in Scotland for those supposedly ‘bigoted’ survivors of sexual violence who need support. In 2022, in part as a response to the takeover of the women’s sector by trans activists, JK Rowling funded a single-sex centre called Beira’s Place. But workers at the ERCC were barred from referring women there or even advising them of its existence. Wadhwa told ERCC staff that Beira’s Place is an organisation ‘founded on a platform of exclusion, misinformation and what I would describe as white feminist imperialism, that interesting combination of the flaws of white feminism and the white saviourism of colonialists and of course capitalism of which the founder is a beneficiary’. This is a long-winded way of saying that ERCC staff should go out of their way to avoid helping women who don’t share the boss’s ideology.

With what a feminist might refer to as male entitlement, Wadhwa has pushed himself into the women’s sector where he and his cronies have reshaped the services that desperate women rely on. Those who were brave enough to question him, those for whom looking after women was their highest priority, were frozen out and silenced.

It takes courage for a survivor of sexual violence to pick up the phone and ask for help. It can often be decades before women make the decision to ask for support. When they do, what they need is unconditional understanding, not judgement or chastisement. Rape-crisis centres ought to serve survivors, not pander to the eccentric beliefs of men.

Jo Bartosch is a journalist campaigning for the rights of women and girls.

Picture by: YouTube.

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Topics Identity Politics UK


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