Fri 13 Aug, 2021

Attempts to undermine the integrity of rape crisis centres in Scotland over trans inclusion damages the vital work they do with survivors, the Scottish Greens have said.

Rape Crisis Scotland was forced to issue a statement after what it described as “targeted campaigns of mis and disinformation that distort the reality of specialist service provision”, provoked by significant abuse online.

In a statement of solidarity [1], Scottish Greens equality spokesperson Maggie Chapman said the misinformation about services being shared was “based on ignorance, bigotry and hatred.”

She adds: “This behaviour, even if directed only at seemingly faceless organisations or one or two specific individuals damages everybody involved in rape crisis centres - survivors most of all.”

1 Full statement below.

The Scottish Greens stand in solidarity with Rape Crisis Scotland, Edinburgh Rape Crisis, survivors of gender-based violence, Mridul Wadhwa, and trans people across Scotland.

Rape Crisis Scotland and rape crisis centres across the country provide vital, life-saving support, therapy and advocacy for survivors of gender-based violence. Their trauma-informed approach enables survivors (and often their families too) to reframe their experiences, empowering them and allowing them to cope and live with what has happened to them. The women workers (staff and volunteers) who carry out this important work come from all walks of life.

The spreading of misinformation about and distrust in the services provided by rape crisis organisations is completely unacceptable, and is based on ignorance, bigotry and hatred. This behaviour damages survivors: it makes them less likely and less able to access the services that could save their lives. It also diverts already stretched resources away from providing support to dealing with abusive and hate-filled phone calls and emails and moderating social media, contributing to the already too-long waiting times survivors experience.

This behaviour also damages the workers: exposure to hate takes an emotional and psychological toll that leaves them less able to do their work and less able to deal with the vicarious trauma that is inevitable in this kind of work. It also potentially puts them in physical danger, making them targets for violence and abuse. Having worked in a rape crisis centre, seeing colleagues in tears and unable to do their jobs, or too scared to walk to or from work, is heartbreaking.

In short, this behaviour, even if directed only at seemingly faceless organisations or one or two specific individuals damages everybody involved in rape crisis centres - survivors most of all. I hope those participating in the aggressive pile-ons on social media, the abusive phone-calls to rape crisis centres, will realise the damage they are doing to workers and survivors. And stop!

Equality and social justice are fundamental values to the Scottish Greens. Targeting a minority group by whipping up fear and misinformation, and making it harder for survivors of gender-based violence to access the life-saving support they need is totally incompatible with these core values.

Transphobia is at an alarming level in Scottish public life, and it is incumbent on political leaders to challenge the bigotry and hatred being directed at trans people, their families and friends, and the organisations for which they work.

The Scottish Greens stand in solidarity alongside the organisations, their staff and volunteers, and survivors who access their services, and condemn those spreading these dangerous and irresponsible claims.

 

Maggie Chapman MSP

Scottish Greens Equalities, Human Rights and Justice Spokesperson

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