'Gender' Self-ID: Listen to Female Survivors

FOVAS (Female-Only; Violence and Abuse Survivors) have written a powerful statement on their concerns, as female survivors of male violence (including rape, sexual abuse and assault), regarding the threats posed by the proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act (consultation deadline: 19th October 2018).


“We are women survivors of systemic male violence in all its forms. As you probably know, 98% of sexual offences and 80% of violent crimes are committed by males against females and not the reverse. We have suffered every kind of horror inflicted on our bodies and minds. For many of us, we are battling every day with trauma symptoms. Speaking out is not easy for us and we respectfully ask that you listen.” - FOVAS (Female-Only; Violence and Abuse Survivors)


The idea of 'gender' or sex self-ID would allow a man to change the sex marker on his birth certificate without the requirement of any medical 'evidence', checks or balances.

Legally, it is possible for organisations to utilise exemptions under The Equality Act 2010 in order to provide single-sex spaces for women. However, these are not being used effectively. Partially this is due to abuse from pro-'trans' groups and the threat of funding withdrawal. This is classed as unlawful victimisation under the Equality Act.

Victimisation is defined as treating someone unfavourably due to their engagement in, or intention to engage in, a 'protected act'. E.G. Making an EA exemption to exclude 'transwomen' from working or staying in a women's refuge (in order to maintain a space exclusively for biological females). This is a 'protected act' but this fact is not being recognised or acted upon. Instead it is being denounced as 'transphobic', an accusation which turns the tables and attempts to characterise the excluded 'transwomen' as the ones who are being discriminated against. This argument constitutes a form of 'gaslighting' – men's 'rights' activists (aka 'trans rights' activists) victim-blame women who attempt to protect and assert their own rights.


“The few brave companies that do invoke their legal right to maintain a space exclusive to natal woman are attacked and their policy called transphobic. Most give up, fearful of the adverse [publicity], fearful that they are breaking the law.” - Fair Play For Women


Fair Play For Women explain how under Self ID, it will be even harder for single-sex exemptions to be enforced. A man would simply be able to get his birth certificate changed to say 'female' – this means he can no longer be excluded on the basis of his 'sex'. However, under the EA Act, it would still be lawful to exclude him (e.g. from a women's refuge) due to the fact that he has undergone 'gender reassignment'. BUT the changes in the GRA Reform also include strict privacy 'rights' that make it difficult to officially prove that someone was not born female (even if it is blatantly obvious to the eye). If the reform goes ahead, EA exemptions on the basis of biological sex would be practically impossible to implement.

Some women's organisations, such as the rape crisis centre (Survivors' Network) in Brighton, have already capitulated to the demands of the 'trans' cult. They operate a 'gender' self ID policy, providing no female-only services whatsoever.

Last week, Harry and Meghan (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) visited this rape crisis centre as part of their Royal visit to Brighton & Hove. It is claimed that they met with staff and service users. The director of the charity, Jay Breslaw, laments that this visit was of huge importance to them at a time when “funding is difficult” and “funds are being cut” - perhaps this goes some way to explaining their stance on allowing men (‘transwomen’) to use their services? Harry and Meghan did not seek to speak to the female survivors who are excluded from using this rape crisis centre, due to fear of encountering a male-bodied person in what should be a safe space to seek support and healing.

Survivors voices are audible to those willing to listen to women. FOVAS have published an open letter to women's organisations, compelling them to hear the dangers of 'gender' self-ID. Survivor Clare Dimyon prepared a video statement to the Duke and Duchess, speaking for and on behalf of female survivors of rape, sexual violence and abuse; she urges them to look into the policy of 'self ID' being promulgated in what are supposed to be women's support services. She has sent a copy of the statement to Kensington Palace.

Please listen to the female survivors who can testify to the fact that sex-segregated, female-only spaces are a necessity to their recovery. Rape crisis centres and women's refuges are already taking up 'gender' self-ID policy. For those who are traumatised by the presence of biological males, these services are rendered useless by self-ID and alternative provision should be provided. It may be possible for the Equality Act to be used to argue that rape crisis centres and similar services should always be sex-segregated unless good reason is provided otherwise. The demand for rape crisis support for 'transwomen' is minute compared to that of women – it would therefore be ridiculous and unjustifiable for all UK rape crisis centres to operate 'self-ID' policy. It would be safer and more efficient to have a separate service for 'transwomen' if there is any genuine demand for one.

Remember to respond to the GRA consultation before the deadline: 19th October 2018. Question 13 of the consultation asks 'trans' people for their experience of accessing support for sexual violence or abuse; a similar question is not asked of women! Not even the female survivors of male sexual violence (including rape and abuse), who are likely to be most significantly impacted by allowing biological males access to women's spaces and services. We recommend answering this question with respect to your own experience accessing suitable services and/or to include a link to the statement produced by FOVAS.

Further advice on completing the consultation can be found at Fair Play For Women's website.


Hannah Harrison


References

Clare B Dimyon (2018) Female Survivors of Rape & other forms of sexual violence & abuse, of Brighton, Hove & Sussex welcome Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess & Duke of Sussex, on the occasion of their visit to Brighton on 3 October 2018. [Statement on the necessity of (biological) female-only spaces and services for female survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual violence.]

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2016). What is Victimisation.

Fair Play For Women. (2018) [Includes excellent guidance on completing the GRA Consultation.]

FOVAS (Female-Only; Violence and Abuse Survivors). (2018) Open letter to UK Women’s Organisations from female survivors of male violence. [Statement on the dangers of ‘gender’ self-ID, particularly to female survivors of male violence, and how the proposed GRA Reform would make Equality Act exemptions on the basis of biological sex unworkable.]

Government Equalities Office & Penny Mordaunt MP. (2018) Open Consultation. Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. [DEADLINE 19TH OCTOBER 2018].