Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre must change its ways - Sue Webber

Mridul Wadhwa is the chief executive of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis CentreMridul Wadhwa is the chief executive of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre
Mridul Wadhwa is the chief executive of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre
There were 2529 recorded rapes and attempted rapes in Scotland in 2022-23, of which 94 per cent of victims were female. Each represents unspeakable trauma and these are only the ones the police know about.

In the three months to June 2023 there were 119 reports of sexual or indecent assault including two rapes in the Edinburgh police division area and those victims needed not only justice but access to help and support free from fear.

In Glasgow, there is Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis, which this week made clear they prioritised “the safeguarding of single-sex service spaces as we recognise the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse experienced by women is predominantly perpetrated by men.”

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That seems obvious and uncontroversial, but this week we learned that at the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre (ERCC), anyone making such a pledge would have been subjected to a “heresy hunt”, as was their counsellor Roz Adams who this week won a damning employment tribunal case against her former employer.

The tribunal found the ERCC’s chief executive Mridul Wadhwa, a trans woman without a gender recognition certificate − in other words, a man – was behind an investigation and disciplinary action against Ms Adams for allegations of transphobia simply because she tried to help an abuse survivor who wanted to know if a non-binary support worker was male or female.

This is the same Mridul Wadhwa who said in 2021 that if victims had “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.”

It is staggering that a man who put his ideology ahead of caring for women emerging from appalling ordeals was ever appointed to what was supposed to be a job for a woman.

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But having expressed such beliefs, it’s even more extraordinary that he remained in position to carry out his disgraceful campaign against a colleague doing the right thing for a victim.

The question is whether rape crisis centres exist to support rape victims or to validate the beliefs of gender ideologues. The clear answer must be the former and it seems blindingly obvious that women-only spaces are essential. Yet this tribunal outcome demonstrated the ERCC management thought otherwise.

Before she became an MSP, the ERCC’s chief operating officer was former Edinburgh Green councillor Maggie Chapman, from whom Ms Adams first heard the mantra that “a transwoman is a woman” and Ms Chapman must share responsibility for the ERCC’s poisonous atmosphere. But what should we expect from a cheerleader of a party which expels members who do not share her gender extremism?

We owe it to survivors to provide safe environments, free of trauma triggers, but ERCC’s culture was the very opposite of inclusive. A review is to be undertaken, but while this management is still in place, which victim would go there for help?

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Fortunately, Lothian victims have an alternative, Beira’s Place, staffed only by women, supported by JK Rowling and where Roz Adams now works, and unless the ERCC’s management resigns now the Scottish Government and Edinburgh Council funding it receives − over £1 million annually − should be withdrawn.

Like Nicola Sturgeon, those blinded by trans ideology will be destroyed by it.

Sue Webber is a Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP

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