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Rape charity that suffered transphobic backlash for recruiting trans women to help survivors refuses to back down

Vic Parsons July 27, 2020
Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre will continue to recruit trans volunteers

Stock image, crying woman. (Envato/bialasiewicz)

Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre has confirmed it will continue to recruit transgender volunteers for its helpline, despite a number of transphobic attacks in recent weeks.

In a statement to Varsity, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) confirmed that “all who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman'” are welcome to volunteer.

The charity said it “seeks a diversity of volunteers who reflect the variety of women that we support, and this includes trans women”, and emphasised that “the safety of women and girls who use our services is paramount”.

The CRCC — which offers support to women and girls who have experienced rape, childhood sexual abuse or any other form of sexual violence — was flooded with transphobic abuse after a July 9 callout for volunteers.

In its Twitter callout, which has now been deleted, the CRCC said it was “looking for self-identifying women to join our amazing helpline and email support volunteer team”.

As well as transphobic Twitter abuse, the statement was criticised by in the media by Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price, who is opposed to equal marriage and supports the anti-trans LGB Alliance; Tory peer Baroness Nicholson, who escaped investigation after being reported to the House of Lords for “bullying” Munroe Bergdorf in June; and Maya Forstater, the tax researcher who tried, and failed, to convince a judge that her anti-trans “gender critical” views should be legally protected under the Equality Act.

Forstater told the Daily Mail her criticism of the centre’s trans-inclusive stance was “not anti-trans, it is about women’s rights”.

Trans women suffer ‘disproportionately high levels of sexual violence’, says Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre.

While the CRCC deleted the tweet due to the influx of abuse, it maintains that trans inclusivity in survivor support services is vital.

“Trans women are subject to the gender inequalities that all women experience on a daily basis, and are subjected to disproportionately high levels of sexual violence,” a spokesperson said.

Sixteen per cent of transgender women have experienced domestic abuse in the last year, alongside 7.5 per cent of cisgender women.

The CRCC spokesperson added that “trans survivors experience significant barriers when trying to seek support for the rape, sexual assault and/or sexual abuse they have been subjected to”.

They also confirmed that the centre’s recruitment process for all of its volunteers is “extremely robust”, including 10 weeks of applications, interviews and training, and an enhanced DBS check.

Transphobic abuse was also levelled this month at two charities, The Eve Appeal and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, for standing with the transgender community and reiterating that their services are trans-inclusive.

More: baroness nicholson, cambridge rape crisis centre, gender critical, jackie doyle-price, jo's cervical cancer trust, maya forstater, single-sex spaces, the eve appeal, transphobia

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