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to write to Women’s Aid and ask you to do the same if you value their services

(52 Posts)
CircleSquareCircleSquare Mon 05-Feb-18 19:05:46

I am horrified to hear Women’s Aid are considering charging their policy meaning they may allow trans women (biological men) to work in their women’s refuges.

If you value safe spaces for women, please, please consider talking out.

I have written to them today with a heart felt plea. It isn’t a succinct or well thought out letter but it is from my heart:

Dear Women’s Aid,

In 1992 the violence my father subjected my mother, and eventually my brother and myself, to for ten years ended. It ended because my mother had the courage to escape, knowing she had a safe space for us at a Women’s Aid refuge in the south east of England.

As a nine year old I was vulnerable and terrified. I was later diagnosed with PTSD and still continue treatment into my thirties.
My father subjected me to physical violence, held me at knife point, threw weapons at me and burnt my clothes and toys. He beat my five year old brother to pulp and knocked my mother’s teeth out of her mouth. He damaged her face so badly her own sister didn’t recognise her and she still has severe dental issues 26 years later.

When we first entered the refuge I was terrified. I wet the bed, I screamed in my sleep and whenever I encountered a man (for instance a police officer, our solicitor or even my uncle) I went into flight mode and ran. I just ran and ran and ran. The sight of any man sent me terrified running into woods, through traffic and anywhere I could go to get away.
My mother occasionally recalls the moment I ran into a busy roundabout junction from inside a car when I heard we were going to speak to our male solicitor. She tried chasing me but 9 year olds are hard to keep up with, I got a good mile away before I stopped and cowered in some bushes when I no longer knew where I was. My mother vomited in the street. Our shared fear worked hard at tearing us apart.

Women’s Aid was literally a refuge from that fear. They helped to look after my brother and I whilst my mother met with her solicitor off site so I didn’t have to encounter a man. They helped us find a female GP, pushed for the police to give us a female liaison and encouraged me to have counselling.
They got my mother the medical and dental care she so badly needed after a decade of abuse. They saved us.

Eventually I started to feel safe, we stayed in that refuge for 3 months before moving to a smaller “half way house” for over 2 years and eventually into a home of our own.

I believe trans people have a set of prejudices to face that I do not envy and I believe, we should help them to have a recognised and safe place in society. However I do not believe a trans woman (biological Male) should be extended the right to work or live in a place where women (both born female and with a GRC) and vulnerable children, who are terrified of men, will be made to suffer daily as a result.

I urge you to think of the fear and damage such a move would cause and not give into lobbyists. Women’s Aid cannot alienate vulnerable women and children. Where would I, as an abused child have gone in 1992? How many times would I have ran? As much as I am happy to call a transwoman by their chosen name and refer to them as “she”, a child can very much understand that a biological man is a biological man no matter how much lipstick is involved.

I ask you kindly to consider the young me, the terrified me, the woman who still cries well into her thirties. I ask you to consider the rape victims who want to vomit when they see a male figure. I ask you to consider the woman beaten for years by men, who does not feel safe emptying her soul to a male figure.

Please consider women, those of us born female - who have no prejudice against trans people - but who need a space to be free from harrowing, demeaning fear heaped onto us by men. We are not bigots, we are terrified.

Please consider my plea. I beg of you.

Ms. E, the former 9 year old who only survived because of Women’s Aid.

You can contact them via the following methods:
Tel: 0117 944 44 11 (general enquiries only)
Fax: 0117 924 1703

Email: info@womensaid.org.uk

Our address:
Women’s Aid Federation of England,
PO BOX 3245
Bristol,
BS2 2EH, England

Myunicornfliessideways Mon 05-Feb-18 19:21:33

Circle flowers flowers flowers

I will be writing. Women and children should not be asked to put aside their very real trauma to validate a debatable political agenda.

CircleSquareCircleSquare Mon 05-Feb-18 19:25:34

Thank you so much, I would really appreciate that.

Eliza9917 Mon 05-Feb-18 19:35:19

Maybe it would be helpful to write a stock letter that can be copy & pasted into an email, might get more people sending it off.

DearSergio Mon 05-Feb-18 20:40:28

flowers I too emailed them yesterday to share my experience of leaving an abusive ex. I had the same fear of all Men, any men, even ones I was related too. 7 years later it's still there. Thankyou for writing to them, I really hope more of us do, and that they will listen

SmileEachDay Mon 05-Feb-18 20:44:03

Circle I am so sorry for your experiences.

I have written to WA, tweeted them and written a further letter to my MP. Policy makers need to listen to you.

CircleSquareCircleSquare Mon 05-Feb-18 20:46:40

Thank you everyone.
I think a template letter of sorts would be great but also think it is important for many of us to share from the heart if we are able to.

I keep bursting into tears thinking about this.

SmileEachDay Mon 05-Feb-18 20:50:55

Circle - are you on Twitter?

CircleSquareCircleSquare Mon 05-Feb-18 21:16:14

Smile, I am but I am scared of tweeting about something so meaningful and having people troll me.

Patodp Mon 05-Feb-18 21:21:36

I've written to them to info@. I think it's sick how women's organisations, women's marches, women's every fucking thing is being bombarded by males and forced to accept males.

We need to stand together.

TitaniasCloset Mon 05-Feb-18 21:26:01

I'm so so sorry circle thanks

jacrispy Mon 05-Feb-18 21:28:54

Circle I don't know what to write in a letter but your post made me cry thanks

SlowlyShrinking Mon 05-Feb-18 21:30:43

I will also write to them. So sorry you went through all that flowers

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Mon 05-Feb-18 21:39:36

Done ✅

CircleSquareCircleSquare Mon 05-Feb-18 21:42:07

Thank you everyone.

I can’t tolerate women and children going through what my family went through and not having a safe place to escape to.

Terfinater Mon 05-Feb-18 21:50:37

I've written to them. I've never been in a refuge but I did get help from them to leave an abusive marriage. I wouldn't have even rang them if I'd thought there was any chance a man might answer the phone. I actually rang them very upset because the male Police officer I reported sexual abuse to made it very clear that he was aroused at what I was saying.

Chocness Mon 05-Feb-18 22:00:20

I wonder if it would be an idea for you to flag this up with a campaign organisation? I’m thinking someone like 38 degrees (https://home.38degrees.org.uk) or changeorg ( www.change.org) who have thousands of followers that could really help for this to hit the headlines.

niceandtoasty Mon 05-Feb-18 22:06:06

That's a very eloquent, heartfelt letter Circle and it must be difficult having all this dragged up again by this Women's Aid review. flowers

It's infuriating that women over the decades have already had all these battles, already fought to have safe spaces for abused, vulnerable women, to have enshrined into the Equality Act the right to single-sex services, to be allowed to employ only women to work in rape crisis centres etc and now we are having to start from scratch and justify all these things all over again - only this time we are getting shouted down and called bigots and many organisations aren't even having any kind of a debate on the subject and are just changing things without even asking women what we think.

niceandtoasty Mon 05-Feb-18 22:11:43

Chocness 38 degrees wouldn't allow such a petition, unfortunately.
They've already removed one petition which asked for politicians to consider the implications for women's shelters of gender self-identification:

fairplayforwomen.com/petition-banned-38-degrees/

Suebnm Mon 05-Feb-18 22:28:17

I have recently reached out to women's aid to once again try to escape an abusive marriage.
I will definitely be writing to them - the idea of being counselled/helped whatever by a man, whether or not he's in women's clothes, fills me with horror.

CircleSquareCircleSquare Mon 05-Feb-18 23:10:47

Bouncing this because I think more people need to know what is being proposed

www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/abuse-victims-at-femaleonly-refuge-centres-could-be-looked-after-by-selfdeclared-transgender-women-a3757626.html

Thank you to all those who have replied and have thus far taken action. I appreciate it.

barnacharmer Mon 05-Feb-18 23:15:44

That letter is so articulate, so clear. I will write to them too. I'm lucky enough to never have needed their services but I have seen the effects and after effects of domestic violence on people close to me. I think you have peaked me even more

Traffig Mon 05-Feb-18 23:18:49

@Circle
I wrote to them some six months ago with links also to some of the threads on Mumsnet about this. It was a pale shadow compared to your own letter. I am a supporter of WA.

I am so sorry to read of the things you went through. Your letter is articulate, and powerful to read. I hope that it makes people think very hard about the issues. Thank you for speaking up for us all. flowers

ohfourfoxache Tue 06-Feb-18 00:27:24

Emailed

Mercifully I have not had to contact WA for myself so I have no experience to draw on. But it makes complete sense for Women’s Refuges to be staffed by women

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 06-Feb-18 09:27:49

Bump.

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