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Rape is not a woman’s crime, that is why women need single sex spaces.

Rape is not a woman’s crime. This a statement that you could be forgiven for thinking is obvious. In Scot’s law rape can only be committed by someone with a penis. Until 2018 it was widely accepted that this meant a human being born a male, with male genitals. In 2008, during the consultation on the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill, Rape Crisis Scotland supported, “the definition of rape outlined in the bill”, which was;


“If a person (“A”), with A’s penis—

(a) without another person (“B”) consenting, and

(b) without any reasonable belief that B consents,

penetrates to any extent, either intending to do so or reckless as to whether there is penetration, the vagina, anus or mouth of B then A commits an offence, to be known as the offence of rape.”


It is therefore understandable that it was generally accepted that rape is not a woman’s crime. Perpetrators have been convicted on this basis, crime statistics have been collated on this basis and those who have been raped, the vast majority of whom are women, have been supported on this basis. In other words it has been widely known that rape is a man’s crime.

In recent years however gender ideology has challenged this definition. The law remains the same, rape is a crime committed by non-consensual penetration by a penis. Who is on the end of that penis however is now up for debate. For gender ideologists if a male bodied person, i.e. has a penis, identifies as a woman this, according to them, should be respected, as should their identity when recording any crime they commit. In court the survivor of the rape is also expected to respect the rapist’s pronouns and refer to them as she / her, effectively gaslighting women into denying what they know to be true. What difference does this make? Does it really make a difference what gender a rapist identifies as?


It could be said that Rape Crisis Scotland, and others, once believed that it did make a difference, as can be seen by the response to the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill and their delivery of single sex services since the 1970s. Their single sex service provision was reinforced when sex was included as a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010. In general the violence against women sector’s feminist approach was seen as vital to the support provided by organisations, such as Rape Crisis.


This was a recognition of the power dynamics at play in violence against women and is vital to the support of women to recover from their experiences. The guilt and shame carried by survivors is influenced by a society that continues to blame them in some form for the behaviour or perpetrators. Where women and girls have less resources and options for safety, the more they are blamed. This was seen in Rotherham and Rochdale. It is seen in the continuing refusal to convict men who exploit women through prostitution. It is seen in low conviction rates and even lower levels of reporting to the police in the first place.