We sent the following letter to Iain Livingstone, Chief Constable and Emma Bond, Deputy Chief Constable at Police Scotland following their decision not to charge a transactivist who assaulted a woman at the Women Won’t Wheesht event in Aberdeen.
We are writing with regard to an incident in Duthie Park, Aberdeen on 23 July where a woman was assaulted and which we feel was not appropriately dealt with by Police Scotland. We understand that the assailant was only issued with a warning despite clear video evidence of the assault given to police officers and before statements were even taken from numerous witnesses.
The unprovoked attack happened at a peaceful gathering of women and, unfortunately, appears to be making good on an incitement of violence towards “TERFS” (a slur used against women who oppose legal reforms for self-identification of sex) as broadcast at a Trans Pride event only two weeks prior where a speaker urged activists to punch such women in the face.
The Metropolitan Police did not initially take any action regarding this incident and only charged the speaker after considerable public outrage and media attention. We are concerned that a similar level of disregard for women’s safety is being shown by Police Scotland.
In light of Mr Livingstone’s public comments on institutional misogyny in the police force it is particularly worrying that such a serious incident was treated so trivially. Women speaking publicly about their rights do so in a climate of fear where transactivists aggressively try to shut down their events and intimidate women into silence. Acts of violence are not unknown and, while we are always grateful for Police Scotland’s support in policing such events, the threats and actual violence are escalating. We find it alarming that little action was taken on this occasion and it is a very real fear that the lack of consequences means the police have effectively given the green light to further physical assaults on women who are simply going about their lawful business, just because some people disagree with their opinion.
Ms Bond stated she was prepared to be held totally accountable for turning things around and therefore we would like to ask if the decision not to prosecute the assailant can be revisited? Can the police give women reassurance that when there is, inevitably, another similar incident that Police Scotland will make all efforts to protect women and use the full force of the law to prosecute violent men?