RAPE is one of the most heinous of crimes and the victim invariably suffers trauma, sometimes lasting a lifetime. When a rape victim seeks help it is assumed that those who have responsibility for giving support would possess empathy and a total focus on the needs of the victim. This is true the world over. Except in Scotland.
In an interview with Guilty Feminist, Mridul Wadhwa, CEO of Edinburgh Rape Crisis, said that women holding ‘discriminatory views’ who seek help after being sexually assaulted need to be ‘challenged on their prejudices’ and encouraged to ‘reframe their trauma’.
Mridul Wadhwa, a man who passes as a woman but who does not have a Gender Recognition Certificate and is understood not to have undergone reassignment surgery, is of the opinion that a rape survivor who seeks help from Rape Crisis Edinburgh and asks to be examined by a woman doctor rather than a trans doctor is a bigot and needs re-educating to help her get over the trauma of rape.
Wadhwa, a former SNP parliamentary candidate, left the party after MSPs overwhelmingly backed an amendment to allow survivors of rape and sexual violence to ask for biological women rather than trans women to examine and counsel them. Wadhwa is of the opinion that women who want genuine safe spaces for traumatised women have ‘unacceptable beliefs’, and tells them ‘You have to rethink your relationship with prejudice’.
Wadhwa is prepared to admit that ‘sexual violence happens to bigoted people as well. But these spaces are also for you’, as though women who believe there are only two sexes were the exception rather than the rule. This condescension is surely a barrier to the provision of genuine care and compassion for those suffering the trauma of rape.
When anyone, man or woman, has undergone deep trauma, especially resulting from violence, it is vital that they know that the person to whom they turn for help understands them, can identify with them, and will not rush to judgement on them.
Wadhwa was appointed chief executive in May despite the job being advertised as reserved for a woman. Wadhwa’s priorities are clear: the advancement of the transgender project takes priority over helping women who have been sexually assaulted and desperately need to know that they are safe and understood.Wadwha admits to operating on the principle that ‘therapy is political’.
Rape Crisis Scotland, which last month received a grant of £2.5million from the Scottish government, is fully supportive of Wadhwa’s position.
Rape Crisis Scotland has a network of 17 independently run centres of which Rape Crisis Edinburgh is one of the largest. They responded to the crisis with a statement claiming, ‘The core value that underpins all Rape Crisis support is of being non-judgmental.’ Which would seem on the surface to reject the judgmental attitude of Wadhwa. However they also said, after Wadhwa was appointed three months ago that they were ‘proud’ to have Wadhwa ‘as a colleague within our movement’.
Rape Crisis Scotland continued: ‘Sexual violence is gendered and has a disproportionate impact on women and girls; our services reflect that. Women-only spaces are a core principle of the Rape Crisis movement and are upheld through our national service standards.
‘These spaces include women with a diverse range of lived experience and views, including trans women and girls.’ In the view of Rape Crisis Scotland, women-only spaces are not only for biological women, and women-only counselling is not given only by biological women.
Any reasonable person is forced to ask how a female victim of violence or rape who wants shelter in a female-only space in a woman’s shelter, or desires women-only counselling, can possibly be ‘bigoted’ and ‘prejudiced’, and how anyone who thinks they are can be seen as a suitable person to head such a crisis centre? At the most fundamental level rape victims often blame themselves and it is important that any therapy they receive has to be non-judgemental.
We also have to ask what professional qualifications does Wadhwa have and where were they earned? Wadhwa’s LinkedIn profile lists the following:
Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology/Hotel Management, MSIHMCT, Pune, India, 1995 – 1998
Bachelor of Arts English Literature, Savitribai Phule Pune University, 1996 – 1999
Master of Science Management of Training and Development, University of Edinburgh, 2004 – 2005.
The concept of ‘reframing trauma’ is supposed to enable the victim to understand their natural response to such an attack and ‘reframe’ any residual guilt they might experience for having frozen, not having fought off their attacker or for getting themselves into a vulnerable position in the first place. ‘Reframing trauma’ is a means of helping the victim through their hurt, not a psychological means of making victims think they are in the wrong and are bigots needing re-education.
It took decades of struggle for a network of rape crisis shelters to be established. It has taken only a few years for the transgender lobby to destroy them as sanctuaries for women and girls only. There are few rape crisis centres and domestic violence refuges today which feel able to say openly that they exist solely for females.
That a trans-identifying male like Wadhwa seeks to politicise work with women when they are at their most vulnerable in order to fit his transgender victimhood agenda is utterly unacceptable. Unacceptable anywhere that is other than the brave new Scotland the SNP are creating in which four-year-olds can change gender at school without their parents’ consent or even knowledge.