Rape victim quits therapy as she feels threatened by trans woman

Rape victim is forced to quit her therapy sessions because she feels threatened by a 6ft trans woman in men’s clothes whoa woke charity insistshas as much right to be there as she does

  • Mother-of-two Sarah joined a survivor’s group after seeking support over rape
  • But she quit after feeling threatened by a trans woman who joined the sessions
  • The SurvivorsNetwork bosses said the trans woman had every right to be there
  • The Brighton-based charity allow people to define their gender for themselves
  • A rape victim who thought she had found a safe all-female space to help her come to terms with the sexual violence she endured has told how she was left deeply troubled by the arrival of a biologically male trans woman ‘with no obvious female attributes’.

    The mother of two joined a survivorsgroup seeking support over the rape and childhood abuse that had cast a traumatic shadow over her life.

    But she has told The Mail on Sunday how she felt the sanctuary and trust of the sessions were violated by the 6ft newcomer in masculine clothes.

    Charity bosses insisted the trans woman had every right to be there as they allow people to define their gender for themselves, 说: ‘We do not police gender.

    But the mother, 莎拉, said she was disturbed and panicked by the presence of someone with such a masculine appearance.

    她解释: ‘When I was sexually abused as a child, I was tricked into it by a man. Then I was raped as an adult by a man and felt tricked into it, so I don’t always trust men.

    She added she was left feeling even more uncomfortable after sharing her experience of sexual violence in front of the trans woman, who did not speak about any abuse she may have suffered.

    Mother of two Sarah, not her real name, joined Brighton-based Survivors' Network. But she said she felt the trust of the therapy sessions were violated by a trans woman (库存图片)

    Mother of two Sarah, not her real name, joined Brighton-based SurvivorsNetwork. But she said she felt the trust of the therapy sessions were violated by a trans woman (库存图片)

    莎拉, who was abused between the ages of eight and 12 and raped when she was in her 20s, said that the new arrival disrupted the dynamic of the support group.

    ‘Some women had been abused as children so obviously we had that shared experience of being a girl and abused by a man,’ 她说.

    ‘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.

    But after the trans woman arrived, such talk became ‘nonsensical’, 莎拉说, 加: ‘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.

    ‘No matter how much a man says they’re a woman, they’re still born male.

    Sarah – not her real name – said she wanted to speak out as she felt the rights of women are being eroded to appease trans activists.

    ‘I completely support trans people’s right to live how they want to live, but in practice women who have been raped are being left to get on with it on their own because of the approach these groups are now taking to please trans activists,’ 她说.

    ‘The reason I am speaking out is that I have a daughter and if something like this happened to her, I want her to be able to go to a female-only group if that’s what she wants.

    莎拉, now married and in her 40s, was abused by a family friend when a child, and later raped by a man she knew who persuaded her to take drugs.

    It was hearing that he was moving back into the area that persuaded her to seek help from the Brighton-based SurvivorsNetwork.

    When Sarah first contacted the charity, she noticed that the sessions were for ‘self-identifying female survivors’, and in her first phone call with a member of staff was asked what her ‘gender identity’ 原为.

    Imagine you are a woman who has suffered sexual abuse. You find group counselling sessions exclusively for women but you discover that a trans woman is attending (库存图片)

    Imagine you are a woman who has suffered sexual abuse. You find group counselling sessions exclusively for women but you discover that a trans woman is attending (库存图片)

    然而, she believed that as the charity also runs separate groups for trans and non-binary people (who identify neither as male or female), her Wednesday-night session would be most probably exclusively for biological women.

    For the first five ‘peer support’ 会话, that was indeed the case, but in the sixth, the towering transgender woman wearing masculine clothes sat two seats from her.

    ‘When I first went, it was all women and we all had similar experiences so I was reassured and it was really positive,’ 莎拉说.

    But the atmosphere in the sessions – in which the participants would sit in a circle to talk about their experiences – changed abruptly in September with the new addition to the group.

    The trans woman was introduced by the session facilitator with the comment: ‘Everyone is welcome here.

    Sarah recalls: '我想, ‘What’s that about?’ Then I realised there was someone there who I presume identified as a woman, but to me they just seemed like a man.

    ‘She was over 6ft tall, had a deep voice, wore casual trousers and a sweatshirt and had no obvious female attributes.

    Because of her traumatic experiences at being ‘trickedby her male abusers, 她说: ‘I immediately wanted to walk out. 我想, ‘I don’t want to be in this space.

    Sarah said there was no outward physical sign that the new member was transitioning to become a woman and the recruit did not volunteer any comment about any sexual abuse that she may have suffered.

    ‘I’ve no idea why she was there,’ Sarah added. ‘My paranoid side makes me think they were there for voyeuristic reasons. My rational side thinks they were probably there because they need help.

    After discussing the matter with her husband, Sarah wrote a long, carefully considered letter of complaint to the charity.

    ‘Please understand this is not a personal attack on the individual group member but an account of how their inclusion felt for me,’ 她解释.

    ‘When the trans service user began speaking, my first instinct was to leave the group and never come back. I knew that I couldn’t possibly tell the facilitator or any of the volunteers how I felt because the group is explicitly trans-inclusive and I could be labelled a bigot or a transphobe.

    But a reply from Carys Jenkins, head of operations at the charity, ruled out any change of policy.

    ‘We do not police gender and we do not define who is and is not a woman; we allow women to define this for themselves,’ 她写了.

    The letter added, in what Sarah considers a cruel snub, that her ‘primary optionwas to move to one-to-one support or to find another service in the city which ‘may be suitable for you’.

    莎拉, who works in accountancy, took the advice and tried to find another support group solely for biological females in Brighton, but discovered there were none, as they all stated that they welcomed ‘self-identifying females’.

    Sarah suggested the charity should set up a service solely for those who were born women – which is allowed under an exemption to equality legislation – but was turned down.

    她说: '我想, ‘How can you let women down so badly?’ You’re supposed to be a service for women who have experienced sexual violence. How can you completely disregard that the main thing about sexual violence is that you feel triggered by males?

    莎拉, now married and in her 40s, was abused by a family friend when a child, and later raped by a man she knew who persuaded her to take drugs (库存图片)

    莎拉, now married and in her 40s, was abused by a family friend when a child, and later raped by a man she knew who persuaded her to take drugs (库存图片)

    ‘We’ve been told by men to ignore our instincts and do what they want us to do and now we’re being told that by a rape crisis service. It’s crazy.

    ‘SurvivorsNetwork runs a group for men. They can run a group for trans people, so male-born people are really well catered for.

    ‘But women, who make up the majority of those who get sexually assaulted, haven’t got a space where they can just be with other women.

    SurvivorsNetwork was set up in 1990 by former child abuse victims, and was recognised for its work when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid a high-profile visit in 2018. It is funded by the Government, local authorities and the NHS.

    In written evidence to a Commons select committee last year, its chief executive Jay Breslaw opposed tightening rules on single-sex spaces, adding that her charity ‘strongly feel that the use of women-only spaces by trans women should be actively encouraged’.

    在昨晚的一份声明中, SurvivorsNetwork said: ‘We are a feminist organisation and we support survivors of all genders.

    ‘Survivors of trauma and sexual violence, irrespective of gender identity, need support, care and belief. 用 30 years of expert knowledge, we are well equipped to offer this in a safe, survivor-led and empowerment-based way.

    ‘Trans-inclusive feminism is key to our values and central to our services as a rape crisis centre.

    The charity declined to say what, 如果有的话, gender reassignment surgery the trans woman at the session also attended by Sarah has received.

    They also did not provide details of any vetting process undertaken in the case, but said they had ‘robust safeguarding procedures and training in place to support the safety of everyone who accesses and delivers our services.

    妇女正被顺流而下——慈善机构害怕跨性别暴徒, 朱莉·宾德尔写道, co-founder of Justice for Women

    Imagine you are a woman who has suffered childhood sexual abuse and that you are subsequently raped in adulthood. All your life you have blamed yourself, felt you must somehow have been ‘asking for it’.

    最后, you find group counselling sessions exclusively for women where you feel safe and supported. The professionals are compassionate, kind and helpful.

    They understand how you are feeling and you share a common ground with the other women seeking help. You start to find your confidence.

    But you then discover that a male-bodied trans woman who self-identifies as female is also attending the sessions.

    Already abused, 被强奸, traumatised, you desperately need a space away from males to recover.

    You feel so threatened that you ask if it is possible to exclude the trans woman from the female-only sessions and suggest they instead join a designated group for transgender people.

    Imagine you are a woman who has suffered sexual abuse. You find group counselling sessions exclusively for women but you discover that a trans woman is attending (库存图片)

    But you are told no, they have as much right to attend women-only group sessions as you do.

    This is what happened to Sarah, as the report on these pages reveals. And it is happening to increasing numbers of women across Britain.

    Feminists began to set up refuges and other women-only services in the 1970s in response to the tsunami of rape and domestic abuse cases.

    As a young woman in the early 1980s, I volunteered in a domestic violence refuge three evenings a week and ran a Rape Crisis Helpline on a shift basis.

    The women who called the helpline and came to the refuge were desperate to speak to other women without the prying – and often judgmental – presence of a man.

    I recall heartbreaking stories from women about their girlhood, about being raised to take responsibility for themselves from a very early age. About the stigma of reporting any kind of sexual harassment or assault because they knew they would be disbelieved or blamed.

    I also recall the look of pure relief on the women’s faces as they were told that everybody in the room understood what they were talking about and would unequivocally support them.

    We would often talk about how difficult it would be to disclose such traumatic detail of sexual and domestic violation with men present.

    It is heartbreaking and enraging in equal measure that, 在 2021, women like Sarah are being made to feel like they cannot safely access this much needed group support.

    Feminists have offered help to trans activists to set up trans-women-only facilities, in the hope this would stop them demanding access to women-only spaces. But they have never shown any interest in taking up our offer.

    顺便, this debate goes beyond the four walls of the therapy room. The head of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre – the person ultimately responsible for its culture and policies – is currently a trans woman.

    I have no idea why the likes of Edinburgh Rape Crisis and the SurvivorsNetwork have decided that their definition of ‘women-onlyincludes trans women who were born male.

    You feel so threatened that you ask if it is possible to exclude the trans woman from the female-only sessions, but you are told no, they have as every right to attend (库存图片)

    You feel so threatened that you ask if it is possible to exclude the trans woman from the female-only sessions, but you are told no, they have as every right to attend (库存图片)

    They must know there is a clause in the 2010 Equality Act which explicitly states that it is legal to exclude trans women from group sexual assault therapy sessions where it is ‘a proportionate means to a legitimate aim’.

    在英国, gender self-identification is not enshrined in law and must stay that way. I have seen first-hand how allowing people to self-identify as trans women can have a terrible effect on women-only support services.

    Under Canada’s self-identification laws, 例如, men don’t even have to begin to meaningfully transition. Many of them still have male genitalia and it is not necessary to seek hormone treatment to get a gender recognition certificate.

    I visited the desperately poor Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver, where pimps, drug dealers and violent gangs often profit by selling young women for sex.

    Feminists have set up services to help support these young women out of prostitution and keep them safe from predators.

    I was shown around one charity that was described as a lifeline for many of the women who have gone through its doors. At a table in the kitchen sat a group who all, 对我来说, looked like men. They had beards and showed no signs of transitioning.

    Yet a volunteer told me the group had self-identified as women when they arrived, 加: ‘They come here because it’s nicer than the homeless hostel and they know it’s illegal to throw them out.

    The blood, sweat and tears of feminists went into setting up refuges and counselling sessions that mop up the mess of male violence.

    Yet for many women, just knowing that they are in the presence of someone who was born male will be enough to stop them from speaking out.

    It is a total disgrace that some of the women who run these vital charities have become so scared of the trans lobby that they have sold women like Sarah down the river.

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