This afternoon, Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland’s Twitter page was targeted by anti-trans commentators, who reported an inaccurate story of our appointment of a trans Director to our Board. While the story itself is untrue, and while we have a policy of not responding to abusive communications online, we feel that we must clarify a number of things:
- Women’s Aid is opposed to domestic and sexual violence in all its forms. Our core work is to support women and children affected by domestic and sexual violence. This includes trans women. We are a proudly feminist organisation, and our work is based on our four decades of experience in the field of supporting women affected by male violence. We recognise domestic and sexual violence as both cause and consequence of gender equality in our society, and campaign for a gendered approach to tackling domestic & sexual violence, in the best interests of all victims.
- We also recognise that domestic and sexual violence, and indeed all forms of gender-based violence, have intersectional dimensions that must equally be addressed if we are to eradicate abuse from our society. Therefore our doors are open to all women, including trans women, BME women, women with disabilities, older women, young women, lesbian, bisexual and queer women, and women from all religious and community background. The 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline, which we manage, also supports and signposts male victims, including trans men. We regularly work in partnership with a wide range of organisations to ensure that all victims and survivors get the support they need, no matter who they are.
- We are appalled that the picture of a trans woman has been posted on our Twitter page, accompanied by anti-trans slurs, in an attempt to name and shame her. This is nothing short of victimisation and bullying on the basis of someone’s gender identity. Here at Women’s Aid we have zero tolerance for abuse of any kind, and that includes online abuse of members of the trans community. Anyone who engages in abusive behaviour on any of our pages will be immediately blocked.