On the 16th of January 2024, the trans-hostile gender-critical organisation Sex Matters released a report suggesting there was a crisis in the domestic abuse sector because people advocate for single-sex spaces.
To quote: The report, titled Women’s services: A sector silenced, is the first of its kind globally. It is based on interviews with 19 experts and leaders in the sector from a wide range of organisations providing support services to women. These include rape-crisis centres, domestic-violence refuges and support services, support for trafficked women and women in prostitution, and prison and probation services that engage with female offenders, many of whom are survivors of abuse“.
The issue to note is that Sex Matters could only muster 19, yes, 19 experts.
Without question, the leading national charity in the domestic abuse sector is ‘women’s aid‘, which has reported 220 different providers are running 368 local services in England alone. This figure excludes the specialist service providers involved with sex workers, ex-offenders (including prison and probation services) and trafficking. In short, there are hundreds of these too!
Consequently, the sample size is pathetically small and appears to amount to a few gender-critical women involved in the DA sector who are trans-exclusionary.
The Sex Matters report also states, “A new poll has found that the British public strongly backs single-sex support for women who have been the victims of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, with 84% believing such women should have access to female-only services“.
No one doubts the need for single-sex spaces in these circumstances – I am part of the 84%.
But the issue isn’t the need for single-sex spaces; the issue is when trans women should be excluded from single-sex spaces, which is why we have the Equality Act (EA). The fact is the EA is very clear: trans women can be excluded from these spaces if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, and occasionally, service providers may take this view.
One of those survey participants is Shonagh Dillon, founder and CEO of ‘Aurora New Dawn’ a domestic abuse charity local to me in Portsmouth that operates no refuges whatsoever and, to my mind, could easily be very trans-inclusive should they so wish.
Now, I have never met Shonagh, but I would certainly like to because I would like to hear her comments regarding a Medium article written in August 2021 which makes rather concerning reading. I would also like to know why she appears to be so trans-hostile.
Another person who contributed to Women’s services: A sector silenced is Karen Ingala Smith, another gender critical ‘feminist’ who authored “Defending Women’s Spaces”.
I am not quite certain who from – trans women? One of the most marginalised groups in society, and who often don’t dare to leave their homes for fear of abuse on the street?
In January 2023, I wrote an article de-bunking the claims there were issues in the domestic abuse sector. It really is worth checking that out, but the key features are these:
(1) Many domestic service providers no longer use communal refuge spaces; they have turned to the “independent living” model. There are no reasons using this model that trans women can’t be included.
(2) Trans people in England have their own dedicated domestic abuse charity, “Loving Me”. Why would a trans woman go anywhere else other than a specialist who understands our needs?
(3) If there are genuine concerns, and if counselling is required, it can be given on a personal “one-to-one” basis. Indeed, the majority of counselling appointments are done exactly like this.
(4) The Sex Matters report mentions prisons – but just SIX trans women are held in the female estate in England, the residue likely to being assaulted in male prisons as per a report by the BBC with the headline ” Eleven transgender inmates sexually assaulted in male prisons last year.”.
Last week alone, I spoke with four different domestic service providers, and they told me that 86% of the sector is trans-inclusive, and they have no problem with being intersectional service providers, which perhaps explains why Sex Matters could only muster 19 voices.
The fact is the Equality Act works, and there is no need to change it. Sex Matters campaigns otherwise, which is why they keep publishing reports like Women’s services: A sector silenced.
In my opinion, they are wrong to do so.