• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Edinburgh rape crisis centre faces tribunal over gender policies

The Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, led by Mridul Wadhwa, allegedly employed disciplinary measures to uphold its rigid interpretation of gender identity theory.

Photo: iStock

By: Pramod Thomas

AN Edinburgh-based rape crisis centre has found itself embroiled in controversy as an employment tribunal heard allegations of concealing the biological sex of its counsellors from victims of sexual assault, The Times reported.

Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, helmed by Mridul Wadhwa, a trans woman and activist, was said to have used disciplinary procedures to impose its radical and inflexible interpretation of gender identity theory

The case centers on Roz Adams, a former support worker at the charity, who alleged wrongful accusations of “transphobia” and a subsequent nine-month disciplinary ordeal.

Adams, now employed at Beira’s Place, a center funded by JK Rowling, said that the rift emerged when she raised concerns about a rape victim’s discomfort in speaking to a male counsellor.

The center’s response triggered an investigation into Adams’s conduct, sparking debates over the enforcement of gender identity theory within the organization.

Naomi Cunningham, Adams’s barrister and chairwoman of Sex Matters, emphasised the disproportionate nature of disciplinary measures taken by the rape crisis center, asserting that keeping the sex of support workers secret from service users lacked legitimacy.

“If [the centre] is trying to justify using disciplinary processes to enforce its extreme and uncompromising version of gender identity theory, the tribunal has to ask: what is the aim? Is the aim legitimate and are the means chosen proportionate?,” she was quoted as saying.

“It is for the tribunal to decide on that objective basis whether the aim of keeping the sex of support workers working with victims of rape secret from those service users is legitimate. I say it is clearly not a legitimate aim. It is hard to imagine an aim that is more illegitimate.”

Despite claims from the defense that service quality remained uncompromised, testimonies revealed instances of service users feeling excluded due to the center’s purported trans-inclusive policies.

In her evidence, Adams highlighted the case of a woman seeking reassurance about the gender composition of support groups, only to be met with exclusionary responses.

According to the report, the legal team representing the center did not summon either Wadhwa or Nico Ciubotariu, the former chief operating officer, who oversaw the internal disciplinary process, to provide testimony.

The tribunal also examined remarks attributed to Wadhwa, suggesting a dismissive attitude towards staff resistance to trans inclusion policies.

Nicole Jones, a former student, recounted Wadhwa’s blunt suggestion of firing dissenting staff members, prompting speculation about the motivations behind not calling Ciubotariu to testify.

Meanwhile, David Hay KC, representing the rape crisis center, downplayed the significance of Jones’s testimony, suggesting it aimed to undermine the tribunal process.

The verdict of the tribunal is expected at a later date.

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