JJ Barnes

JJ Barnes writes about parenting, feminism, current affairs and writing

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Mixed sex facilities, safe spaces, and the girls who get hurt because “it’ll never happen”.

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As gender-neutral, mixed sex, facilities that are considered to be “safe spaces” become the new trend, the women who fight against it are being gas lit continually. We are told that fears these open rules will allow men to violate women’s privacy and put women in physical danger are crazy, and that it’ll never happen.

It’ll never happen.

I wrote previously about gender-neutral public toilets and my arguments against them, but it goes further than just toilets. The women’s safe spaces that are being opened up include changing rooms, public bathrooms, rape crisis centres, and hospital wards. Spaces where women and girls are vulnerable. They may be naked, isolated, incapacitated in some way, or emotionally vulnerable due to experiences. Sex segregation was enforced to prevent women in these situations being easily open to abuse. And now, because “it’ll never happen”, that is changing.

If we ignore the horrific wording that a 12 year old sexual assault victim was “unhurt,” because honestly that’s utterly disgusting phrasing, we can focus on the event. A mixed sex “changing village”. Because of the belief that open to all changing areas are perfectly safe and abuse will never happen, and the desperate commitment to proving it, a 12 year old girl has been sexually assaulted.

It would be nice to imagine that this is a rare and isolated incident, as it would be for any sexual assault or rape case, but it isn’t. Indeed, in a recent report by The Times, they found that of 134 reports of sexual misconduct in sports centre changing rooms, 120 were in unisex facilities.

Almost 90% of reported sexual assaults, harassment and voyeurism in swimming pool and sports-centre changing rooms happen in unisex facilities.

Andrew Gilligan, The Times, Unisex changing rooms put women in danger

And it’s not just the risk of being physically touched by strangers. Spy cam porn is growing in popularity where women (and sometimes men) are filmed in public toilets and changing rooms without their knowledge, then the footage is uploaded to popular porn sites, such as Porn Hub, without consent.

Women in South Korea are in the grips of a Spy-Cam Porn epidemic.

More than 6,000 cases of so-called spy cam porn are reported to the police each year, and 80% of the victims are women.

Laura Bicker, BBC, South Korea’s spy cam porn epidemic

In a recent interview, Dr Nicola Williams from Fair Play For Women talked about the dangers of Spy Cam porn and the increasing risk from mixed sex facilities.

As well as public spaces like bathrooms and changing rooms, the more private spaces such as hospitals and rape crisis centres are under pressure to open up wards and spaces to be gender-neutral. Vancouver Rape Crisis Centre was recently defunded after it chose to respect the female resident’s preferences and to not become gender neutral. It now faces risk of closure as it depends on donations.

Mixed sex hospital wards have seen a number of rapes and sexual assaults take place. Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, spoke about the dangers of mixed sex wards in psychiatric facilities.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, said the attack dramatically proved that the Government should move rapidly in their efforts to abolish mixed-sex wards.

‘In the past few years we have seen a rise in the number of rapes taking place in mixed-sex wards,’ she said.

‘Mentally ill people are, by the very nature of their illness, doubly vulnerable and generally hospital wards today are not very safe places for them to be.

Stephen Wright and Rebecca English, The Daily Mail, Second woman patient is raped on NHS hospital mixed-sex ward

Mixed sex hospital wards are considered unsafe, and yet, in our bid to be progressive, we are still claiming abuse in these facilities “never happens.”

Woman in the shower.

We are not crazy for seeing these abuses and trying to prevent more. We are not bigoted for believing it’s women and girls who are suffering because of their implementation.

Nobody believes all men, or all penis-havers if you wish, are a threat. Because they aren’t. But the ones who are a threat are already abusing these mixed sex facilities. How many women and girls are you satisfied with being hurt, raped, spied on before you start to ask questions? What is a woman’s safety worth to you? Because right now it seems a woman’s safety is worth significantly less than the performative wokeness involved in taking away sex segregated facilities.

Woman and Man

If you want gender-neutral facilities to be common place, whether it’s a desire to make trans people feel welcome or because you think it makes financial sense, then changes need to be made. If a system can be put in place where women and girls are safe, their privacy and safety is prioritised and protected, then I won’t argue. But, so far, it’s not been accomplished. Even rare and occasional abuse is unacceptable, because women are more than just a statistic, the women who are hurt are valuable and important and thrown under the bus by these changes.

How many girls being hurt is acceptable to you? How many rapes are worth not counting? How many uploads to porn sites are by-the-by? How much abuse are you happy to turn a blind eye to in order to claim these facilities are worth it?

You tell us that “it’ll never happen” and we’re crazy. We’ll tell you it’s already happening. We are not crazy, we just value women’s safety. What is it you value?

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3 thoughts on “Mixed sex facilities, safe spaces, and the girls who get hurt because “it’ll never happen”.

Lisa 18th August 2019 at 3:09 pm

I think the possible (and very likely) danger to the many out weighs our obligation to be inclusive for the few. It would be a smarter move to give those who have changed sex the legal rights that go with that sex instead (so people can use the Appropriate toilets etc.). For those that identify differently in other ways I don’t know the answer.


Darina Roche. 7th September 2019 at 2:18 pm

We are under no ‘ obligation’ to coddle any Man’s sense of ‘ identity’.
Neither can anyone ‘ change Sex’. Male pattern violence remains ststistically identical whether or not they transition . See ‘ This Never Happens’ on FB for a comprehensive list of Sex crimes against Women and Girls in mixed Sex facIlities. Its long and disturbing.
Women’s safe spAces belong to Women only. By that I mean Women born WoMen.( sad I haveto even qualify that).


    Fragaria 14th September 2019 at 11:23 am

    Thank you to the author. Well done!

    And to DArina Roche, thank you. Beautifully said.
    (Pardon the all caps – the software ISN’T letting me use lower case for some odd reason.)


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