Women are being sold down the river - by charities terrified of the trans mob, ...

Women are being sold down the river - by charities terrified of the trans mob, ...
Women are being sold down the river - by charities terrified of the trans mob, ...

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'. 

Finally, 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, raped, 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 (stock image)

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 (stock image)

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

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