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Female victims in court proceedings are now bound to refer to males who physically and sexually attack them as "she" if that is their preferred pronoun. This is per a new edition of the Equal Treatment Bench Book that was launched just as the UK went into lockdown over coronavirus pandemic fears in early March.
The Equal Treatment Bench Book "aims to increase awareness and understanding of the different circumstances of people appearing in courts and tribunals," says the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.
Regarding the update, the Court and Tribunals Judiciary notes that "This latest edition of the Equal Treatment Bench Book cites recent evidence regarding the experiences of different communities living in Britain today. It is full of practical guidance aimed at helping make the court experience more accessible for parties and witnesses who might be uncertain, fearful or feel unable to participate... There are practical tips on... communicating with people with mental disabilities, a guide to different naming systems, and latest views on acceptable terminology."
This last section is what instructs the compelling of the speech of victims to defer to their attackers preference for how they would like to be addressed, even if it rejects the lived reality of the victim.
This absurd state of affairs first came to public attention in 2018 when a feminist, 60 year old Maria McLachlan, was physically attacked at Speaker's Corner by male trans activist Tara Wolf. The Judge admonished McLachlan, the victim, for referring to her six-foot plus tall assailant with the masculine pronoun while giving evidence of her assault.
Although Wolf was subsequently convicted of assault, the Judge declined to award compensation to the victim on the basis that she had forgotten at times to refer to Wolf as "she," showing "bad grace" by pointing to the reality that her attacker was male.
In effect, the judge's questionable power to compel the use of preferred pronouns trumped the victim's centuries-old legal duty to tell the truth under oath. This change—which was imposed by fiat, as opposed to handed down by legislators following parliamentary debate, or developed by the courts via common law principles—arguably makes the court into an agent of coercive control of women on behalf of abusive men.
If a man can assault and rape women but then, in a court of law, have members of the judiciary compel the victim to tie herself in knots to refer to him as though he is a member of the statistically less violent sex, which has a vagina instead of a penis, regardless of the composition of his own body, it is impossible for the victim to meet her duty not to perjure herself. Her accurate apprehension of reality is being suborned to the court's demand that those present play along with a lie about his maleness.
This absurd rule means that female rape victims of trans-identifying male rapists will be forced into the invidious position of risking contempt of court to simply call their rapist "he" and "a man." Given the enormous hurdles facing any woman or girl seeking justice against her rapist, this additional hurdle is egregiously unjust.
One question which seems not have troubled the minds of the anonymous legal minds who wrote the chapter on transgenderism in the Equal Treatment Bench Book was this: why is it so important to males who identify as transgender that they are publicly acknowledged as no different from women? Is it really all about avoiding hurting their feelings? Are trans-identifying males so much more fragile than the average person that everyone around them must lie - even women the have attacked or violated?
Allison Bailey, criminal barrister and founding member of the LGB Alliance—a group which campaigns for the rights of same-sex attracted people, and which publicly split from Stonewall in 2019 because it only campaigns for transgender people—thinks the Equal Treatment Bench Book contributors ignored the sexual element of that behaviour.
We know that male sex offenders whose transgenderism and transvestism fall into the autogynephiliac category derive sexual enjoyment from being treated like, and called, women. That being common knowledge, why is the English judiciary facilitating sexual titilation for this category of fetishist via its court procedures? It is a vexed question. So far, answers are not forthcoming because decisions of the Judicial College are not subject to judicial review or any regulatory oversight, so the Equal Treatment Bench Book guidance remains.
Of course, it could be pure coincidence that the Equal Treatment Bench Book chapter reads as though it was written by Stonewall, who have been busy writing biased policy documents for institutions across the public and private sectors for years. We may never know. However, what is clear is that it ought to be changed to reflect current understanding of the ways in which gender ideology directly undermines women's rights, and people's grasp of material reality more broadly. It should not be allowed to stand when its primary effect seems to be muzzling women's speech, and titillating cross-dressing criminals.
Under the law of England and Wales, the crime of rape requires a male to penetrate a female with his penis in the absence of her consent. Only males have penises. So, the court will find itself in the ludicrous situation of pretending that a rapist can be a "she," and that there is such a thing as a woman with a penis.
For many critics of gender identity ideology, this represents a "peak trans" moment. Surely there is no exercise of public power more perverse than to compel a rape victim to call her male attacker by preferred pronouns, as though he is the opposite sex, and committed the act with his "female penis." Even if a female victim was happy to use preferred pronouns in certain social contexts, to extort this nicety from her when facing her attacker in court is beyond justification.
The Judicial College meets regularly to review the policies in the Equal Treatment Bench Book. With renewed criticism, which draws attention to the inevitable zero-sum conflict between women's rights and trans activists' claims to legal womanhood, the English judiciary has two stark options: either they cease to turn courts into agents of coercive control on behalf of abusive men, or they continue to persecute women, on the basis of their sex, until a high-profile rape case with a transgender defendant reveals the absurdity to the world's press.