8 February 2022
UPDATE 11 February 2022
Today, 11 February, is expected to be the final day of evidence in the Raquel Rosario Sánchez court case. The case is due to close with summations on Monday.
It’s a grim read, evidencing a culture of disdain and impunity from Bristol University staff, who appear to have been liaising with bullying trans activist students, and colluding in their intention to cancel a planned Woman’s Place UK meeting, which Raquel had been invited to Chair.
An open letter opposing women meeting and speaking was written by a trans activist student and edited by one of the few male staff members of the Bristol University Centre for Gender and Violence Research, Raquel’s PhD department. The defamatory letter, insulting Raquel and calling for the women's meeting to be cancelled was circulated by the male staff member to 23 people, calling for the open letter to be on the departmental agenda.
Section 104 of Raquel’s witness statement to the court draws attention to a shocking pamphlet being published and distributed on the Bristol University campus.
The pamphlet: 'Why we Fight the TERF War' included the following false statement:
“'ERFs… violently oppress trans people.'
Page 4 is especially disturbing
'Shall we talk about violence? Whilst we are in no way telling people they should be violent, nor that it is the only effective tactic, we think it would be counter-productive and insensitive to condemn violence used in the fight against trans-hate.'
Note the reference which appears to infer that using violence against women will be tolerated.
Further invitations to physically assault women, inside the defendant's estate, took place on social media.
Raquel wrote to staff at the University of Bristol requesting a meeting to discuss plans for the ‘International Day to End Violence Against Women.’ Internal staff emails released during disclosure expose total disregard being expressed by staff, towards Raquel, and IDEVAW.
The senior executive assistant to the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience emailed the Pro-Vice Chancellor:
'How much do you want me to prioritise the shitty email from Raquel and Women Talk Back! lot?'
The Pro-Vice Chancellor replied on the same day:
'No need to prioritise that email.'
Raquel has been studying for her PhD at the University of Bristol since 2017. She has endured years of horrendous abuse, bullying, defamation and silencing throughout. We sincerely hope that when District Judge Alexander Ralton delivers the verdict, which will be subsequent to the case closing on Monday 14 February, that Raquel will be vindicated and the voice of this outstanding young feminist will be heard.
You can read the skeleton legal argument on Raquel’s website. https://www.raquelrosariosanchez.com/legal-documents
8 February 2022: Dominican Republic feminist Raquel Rosario Sánchez is standing up for women's rights in court 8-14 February 2022
Raquel is the president of Women Talk Back! Since their inception the group has experienced resistance, rejection and attempts to infringe on their right to single-sex spaces. They created Women Talk Back! as a forum where women can discuss issues relating to their experiences of being female under patriarchy.
Raquel Rosario Sánchez is facing Bristol University in court tomorrow, and for the rest of this week, until Monday 14 February. Later in the year, Women Talk Back! are taking the Bristol Students Union, (BSU) to court.
Women Talk Back! filed their claims at the Bristol County Court on October 20 2021 and are currently awaiting a court date.
You can read their story here.
Women’s Declaration International encourage you to support by
- Amplifying messages on social media with the hashtag #RaquelvBristolUni and live tweeting from @TribunalTweets and @Womens_Voices_
- Contribute to the CrowdJustice legal fees fundraiser for Raquel’s case, or, for the case 'Women Talk Back! Feminist society have brought against the Bristol Students Union, (BSU)
Thank you so much for reading and sharing your messages of solidarity with Raquel, and for all the support given so far. Raquel is hugely grateful
In sisterhood ~ may there be many victories and liberation for women and girls
What happened to the to the Women Talk Back feminist society?
On 1 March 2020 there was an intimidating and forceful incident when trans activists tried to force their way into the feminist society meeting. Paradoxically, it was a consciousness-raising meeting session entitled 'Boundaries and Feminism'. An opportunity to discuss women’s experiences to generate a wider structural analysis of the status of women.
Following this incident, some students complained about Women Talk Back! being women-only. Bristol Student Union conducted an investigation; they validated the trans activists’ account and sanctioned the feminist society.
The Student Union demanded:
- Mandatory “diversity and inclusion” training for our members regarding accepting males into our single-sex female space;
- President, Raquel Rosario Sánchez, must step down from her role and cannot run as a committee member on any other society’s committee for two years
- The group is not allowed to be female-only and social media and the Student Union website page must state the group is ‘open to everyone’.
The Bristol Students Union also modified their bylaws to include a definition of ‘women’ that reads: “All who self define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities that include 'woman', and those who experience oppression as women.” There is no definition of the word ‘men’ in the Bristol SU bylaws. After their women-only society became affiliated in 2018, the BSU changed their bylaws in 2019 to request all societies must accept people based on “gender identity.”