I was part of an online women-only childfree group. It wasn’t a huge group but I liked that it was female - focused and included women who were childfree by choice and those who were unable to have them for various medical reasons. It mostly contained general chit chat but there were also several women in the group who had been abused and wanted a safe place to talk without male onlookers.
At the time I was in an abusive relationship and disclosed some (but not all) of what was happening in the group. I went through domestic violence and sexual assault at the hands of my live in boyfriend that got worse through Covid. I unfortunately ended up pregnant due to the sexual assaults and scheduled a termination.
I documented the termination process in the group, it was a chemical abortion which happened at 5 weeks. I documented what happened in the appointment, what advice the doctors gave, how the medication made me feel etc, I made several posts and spoke to several women privately who had gone through their terminations completely alone and appreciated having someone else’s account to prepare them.
I decided to write a final post about it after I had left the relationship and talk about how I was feeling. I ended up with an odd comment from someone with a woman’s name but the picture of a bald headed white man wearing glasses. The comment said something to the effect of “if you didn’t want to get pregnant you shouldn’t have been having sex or be on birth control” completely ignoring that I had documented that the termination was a result of rape.
I reported it to the moderators to receive no response and this man clearly continuing to participate in the group. A few other women noticed and took issue with it, I started noticing that there were quite a few women in the group. When the complaints from the other women were loud enough the moderators finally addressed that this was a women's group and that they were accepting of transwomen because transwomen are women and that if you disagreed you would be removed from the group (I later heard this decision might have come at the website host removing the page if they were seen to be intolerant and that’s why they only quietly let them in at first, but I can’t vouch for that). I think it’s important to note that until the moderators addressed that transwomen were accepted in the group every woman I spoke to or saw posting opposed men being in our space. Women's attitudes only changed when the term men was switched to transwomen.
Well que absolute pandemonium, the page became flooded with men posting pictures of themselves in various stages of undress, wigs and poorly applied makeup everywhere you look. The women's posts were pushed down to almost no engagement. Many women silently left, I stuck around for a bit to see what was happening. Women fell to the men's feet, falling over themselves to praise and validate them, women I had once respected a lot desperate to get the most male approval in a space where they had sought to be free from them.
I removed my post as I know there are men who will scour the internet looking for private spaces where women discuss their rape and/or abortion to masturbate to. I then quietly left the group.
I always considered myself someone who was very open-minded, I’d met trans women in the past who were polite and non-threatening and assumed they were all like that (though this experience has put me off them completely). I used to play a lot of sport but all my local sports teams accept transwomen and I’m afraid that even if they aren't there now they’ll be there at some point and I’ll feel uncomfortable and need to leave.
I have (like many women) been assaulted by more than one man in my life, both men I do and don’t know and I despise being considered a bigot because I don’t wish to share some of the very few spaces I can be free from them, with them whilst they impose their sexual fetishes on me and appropriate their performative ideas of womanhood. I don’t want to smile and praise these people I want to be free to live a life away from them.