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  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

The group folded after two men dressed as women started to attend. There was a big emphasis in the established group on appropriate sharing and safety boundaries. One of the cross-dressers repeatedly broke the group guidelines through relaying horrendous rape narratives that provoked women’s PTSD. When asked to desist, they repeatedly ignored the requests.

When women tried politely to initiate a discussion post-meeting, about their perceived entitlement to be there plus that some regulars felt very unsafe with men in the room, one in particular became threatening and used stand over and other abuser tactics to intimidate women.

The men eventually stopped going but by then, the group had effectively lost its core supporters. A couple of the male-centred women, not recognising the abuse tactics nor unwilling/unable to stand up to the men’s bullying, felt uncomfortable at confrontation. Some women stopped going because they felt unsafe, some didn’t like division, whilst others didn’t want a mixed sex setting.

The men never sought the consent of the group before attending nor would they hear the concerns of many of the women at their presence. The group eventually folded. It was a sad loss as it had taken a lot to get it established and it was perceived as a safe space for women. It hasn’t been replaced.

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