Updated: Sep 15, 2021
A lot has been written over the past few days about Mridul Wadhwa the trans identified man who is CEO of Edinburgh Rape Crisis. Obviously, the basics are, that women have objected to a trans identified man counselling women in a Rape Crisis centre. They have objected to Wadhwa in particular since Wadwha's initial appointment as manager of Forth Valley Rape Crisis. When Wadhwa was subsequently appointed as CEO of Edinburgh Rape Crisis it was obvious that female victims of sexual violence were going to suffer more of their needs being ignored in favour of the advancement of the needs of Wadhwa and they continued to object.
Survivors of sexual and domestic violence who have tried to say that female victims should not have to engage in any way with a male person, however they identify, when they have been raped and/or abused, have not only been ignored, they have been attacked by Mridul Wadhwa. They have been called "bigoted" and they have been told to "reframe your trauma". No amount of fancy linguistic dancing takes away how offensive these words are to survivors and victims beyond Scotland and across the UK.
Wadhwa took the The Guilty Feminist to say:
"And so, But I think the other thing is that sexual violence happens to bigoted people as well. And so, you know, it is not discerning crime. But these spaces are also for you. But if you bring unacceptable beliefs that are discriminatory in nature, we will begin to work with you on your journey of recovery from trauma. But please also expect to be challenged on your prejudices, because how can you heal from trauma and build a new relationship with your trauma, because you can’t forget, and you can’t go back to life before traumatic incident or traumatic incidents. And some of us never, ever had a life before traumatic incidents. But if you have to reframe your trauma, I think it is important as part of that reframing, having a more positive relationship with it, where it becomes a story that empowers you and allows you to go and do other more beautiful things with your life, you also have to rethink your relationship with prejudice. Otherwise, you can’t really, in my view, recover from trauma and I think that’s a very important message that I am often discussing with my colleagues that in various places. Because you know, to me, therapy is political, and it isn’t always seen as that."
The full transcript can be found here in an excellent article from For Women Scotland.
Women became furious hearing and/or reading this and then reading the lack of compassion in the defence of it from Rape Crisis Scotland and others who tweeted or wrote statements in defence of Wadhwa. Some of these statements horrendously suggested that women who object to Wadhwa's words are putting victims at risk and threatening their services.
Now it seems that women being furious and hurt at these statements from Wadhwa are at fault. We are scolded that we should not be attacking women's services. We are told that this sort of response will deter victims from seeking help.
Let's call a halt to that right now. That is extreme gaslighting of victims and survivors. You are telling women to be silent when they have been hurt deeply by Wadhwa's words. You are telling women they must listen to a trans identified man discuss their trauma and they must not be angry and they must not respond. You are telling women that their political differences with Wadhwa are invalid. You are telling women that they simply "don't understand". This must stop. You are hurting women.
If the Rape Crisis movement has been attacked by feminist women who are survivors of sexual and domestic violence and abuse then that movement needs to take a long hard look at itself and stop circling the wagons against those women and in favour of a male. The aggressor is in your midst. If you choose to defend Wadhwa instead of women.... well you made your choice and we won't forget that. Don't expect women to like it. Certainly don't expect them to be silent.
So here is the aim of my piece as I have nothing about Wadhwa, Edinburgh Rape Crisis and Rape Crisis Scotland to say that hasn't been said by other women. They deserve the fury of women. All of it. My concern is for the women I have seen in deep pain over the last few days. I have seen women withdraw from the survival lifeline they have in online communities. They have become quiet and sad because watching the furious expressions about this horrendous behaviour by Wadhwa play out online has been too much for them. It has left them shaking and crying and indeed actually having to attempt to "reframe their trauma" in the true sense of the term. These women are being gaslit and taunted and blamed for being angry. They have to deal with that in a way that leaves them in less pain and free of emotions that hurt them. This is not "political" it is survival.
I am sorry Rape Crisis has done this to you. I'm sorry you have had to see so many expressions of pure pain from so many women. I'm sorry you have had to see so many hurt women reliving their assaults. I'm sorry that it has made you feel you had to relive traumatic experiences of sexual violence. I'm sorry that you had to see a male person telling you what you had to do to recover and how wrong you are if you recognise the need for female people to care for female people after men's violence against them. I'm sorry that no one at Rape Crisis Scotland has seen fit to apologise to you. I'm sorry that Wadhwa has continued to double down on hurting you with a further statement.
If they won't show you sympathy. Women will. I am deeply sorry for your pain.