How should police record a rape where the culprit has male genitalia? The answer might appear to be straightforward: a man is responsible. Yet in Scotland, where the SNP's obsession with avoiding offence appears to trump reality, things could soon be more complicated.
Police Scotland have said that they may log rapes as being carried out by a woman if the alleged culprit identifies as such. This absurd situation was revealed by Gary Ritchie, assistant chief constable, who set out scenarios where this might happen. It includes 'where a person born male obtains a full gender recognition certificate (GRC) and then commits rape' and 'where a person born male but who identifies as a female and does not have a full GRC...commits rape'.
Kenny MacAskill MP, the former Scottish justice secretary who recently defected from the SNP, at least sees through this nonsense. 'It’s physically impossible and is about dogma overriding common sense,' he said. 'Women prisoners are being harmed by this and vital crime statistics rendered useless.'
JK Rowling has also spoken out. Riffing on Orwell, she wrote:
'War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.'
Rowling made no further comment; none was necessary. When Orwell wrote 1984, Britain was emerging from the second world war. But his words might never have been so pertinent as they are today. Politicians and policy makers are engaged in doublethink, while the transgender thought police are on the prowl hunting for evidence of wrongthink.
Rowling has been in their sights since she went public two years ago in her support for Maya Forstater, who lost her job after saying that people cannot change their biological sex. She explained her position in a heartfelt essay she published in June 2020:
'I want trans women to be safe. (But) At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe.'
As a transwoman, I find her support and willingness to stand up to the trans mob invaluable. I share her concern for women and girls. Yet for her courage in speaking out, Rowling's name has been smeared and her words have been misrepresented.
Once again, after her latest tweet, Rowling has been targeted by those who disagree with her. 'Social media users are criticising JK Rowling for posting a new 'transphobic' tweet, reports Yahoo. But there's nothing 'transphobic' about Rowling's willingness to speak sense.
Perhaps her critics – and indeed Police Scotland – should reconsider. After all, the idea that everyone has some innate gender identity that determines whether we are men or women, or perhaps something else, has led us to the absurd situation where police officers appear to think that a rapist can be a woman.
If they won't reconsider, then they ought to, at least, consult the law. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 – which, admittedly, applies in England and Wales and not Scotland – is quite clear. It says:
'Rape: A person (A) commits an offence if:
'(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
'(b) B does not consent to the penetration, and
'(c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.'
Rowling’s quote was apt. We are in a world where fantasy is displacing reality. In the looking glass world that is Scottish politics, the SNP needs to return to reality so that words have meaning beyond what the thought police would like them to mean. The rights of women and transwomen are at stake.