The Real Crisis at Rape Crisis Scotland

But I think the other thing is that sexual violence happens to bigoted people as well. And so, you know, it is not discerning crime. But 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, because how can you heal from trauma and build a new relationship with your trauma, because you can’t forget, and you can’t go back to life before traumatic incident or traumatic incidents. And some of us never, ever had a life before traumatic incidents. But if you have to reframe your trauma, I think it is important as part of that reframing, having a more positive relationship with it, where it becomes a story that empowers you and allows you to go and do other more beautiful things with your life, you also have to rethink your relationship with prejudice. Otherwise, you can’t really, in my view, recover from trauma and I think that’s a very important message that I am often discussing with my colleagues that in various places. Because you know, to me, therapy is political, and it isn’t always seen as that.

Mridul Wadhwa, Guilty Feminist podcast
Audio I Transcript

The passage above is from a podcast featuring Mridul Wadhwa, the Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh Rape Crisis. The podcast as a whole is a masterclass of gaslighting and features an extraordinary performance by the host Deborah Frances-White, who downplays the harassment women “might” get on a night bus at 1am when compared to the “very structurally violent constant flicks of eyes, and I don’t know, oh, God, and aggressive glares” that she says transwomen are exposed to. Other “anecdotal” assumptions by Frances-White include that of a transwoman’s reception at a shelter: “if they turn up they’re more likely to be vulnerable and fearful of their response. Because if I turned up to a refuge, a women’s refuge, in the middle of the night going, I’ve just had this terrible experience, my expectation would be you would say, Oh, please come in, we’ll take care of you. But I can imagine being trans and thinking I’ve, you know, I know what people say and I know that, you know, maybe this will be an inclusive space for me and maybe it won’t. Maybe they’ll say get out of here. And so this violence will be compounded by more structural violence.” 

Frances-White’s naive, factually incorrect analysis of violence against women and how women feel in accessing services and support is never challenged by the supposed expert Wadhwa who is happy to allow Frances-White and co-host Kemah Bob to talk about abused women being obliged to “check your privilege”. A podcast interviewing the CEO of a rape centre becomes an exercise in proving that the person in charge of the centre is a more vulnerable person than the women accessing the service.

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Sex Matters

Ahead of the census debate we are concerned that the definitions of male and female in Scots Law and practice need to be robust and that appropriate protections can also be put in place for the trans community through proper data gathering. But conflating sex and gender serves no-one and hurts many.

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