A Vancouver rape relief shelter alleges they have been the target of vandalism and death threats over their “woman-only” policy.
Photos shared by the official Vancouver Rape Relief & Woman’s Shelter Twitter account show several threats and messages scrawled on the centre’s windows like “KILL TERFS” and “TRANS POWER”.
“TERF” is a slur word for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists,” or feminists who believe that women who are born biologically female face oppression and have a different lived experience than those born as men.
The shelter is believed to be Canada’s oldest and longest standing rape shelters for women.
“We are the longest standing rape crisis centre in Canada. Since 1973, our group has responded to close to 46,000 women seeking our support in their escape from male violence. Since we opened our transition house in 1981, we have housed over 3,000 women and over 2,600 children,” writes the organization’s website.
The Post Millennial reached out to Vancouver Rape Relief who confirmed that the motivation behind the vandalism and threats was their refusal to allow biological males to stay in their rape shelters.
“We have no doubt. Feminists groups have a lot of enemies, there are men’s rights activists, and fascists, but in this particular instance, the use of the word “TERF” obviously explicitly targets us because of our position for working for women who were born female,” said spokeswoman Hilla Kerner.
While the centre does not shelter biological males, their official policy is to serve transgender men who were born female.
“People who were born female are welcome to our services but they rarely call us because they would not use services from an organization who is identified with women’s services for women,” said Kerner.
“Our services are open to all people who were born female even if they don’t identify as women.”
Recently, NDP Vice President and trans activist Morgane Oger spearheaded a successful push for the city of Vancouver to strip the women’s rape shelters of funding based on alleged “discrimination.”
According to the shelter, they have had past instances where dead animals like skunks were shoved through the mail slot of the building. In one case rape victims attending the shelter encountered a dead rat which was nailed to the door.
“The women who found it were from our support group so they are battered women and rape victims, and one of them said: Haven’t we suffered enough,” said Kerner.
Since the tweet was released, Kerner claims that the shelter has received an outpouring of support and donations from concerned members of the public.
“I want to make it really clear we’re not going anywhere, we are committed to our work with women for women on behalf of women and since this has been public we’ve had an outpouring of support from all over the world, including donations,” said Kerner.
According to Vancouver Rape Relief, all of the incidents have been reported to the police who are investigating the matter.