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J.K. Rowling Details Domestic Abuse And Sexual Assault Ordeal In Transgender Debate

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J.K. Rowling Details Domestic Abuse And Sexual Assault Ordeal In Transgender Debate

J.K. Rowling has opened up about her experience of sexual assault for the first time, after facing backlash for comments she had made on transgender issues.

The Harry Potter author, 54, had come under public scrutiny earlier this week, as she voiced concerns around single-sex spaces, and appeared to suggest that trans women weren't 'real women'.

She has since faced criticism from Harry Potter stars - with Eddie Redmayne, and Daniel Radcliffe both challenging her comments on trans rights.

Now, she's shared a 3,600 word essay in response to the condemnation she faced, detailing the reasons that she says caused her to wade into the gender identity debate.

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Rowling has come under recent backlash for her comment on trans identity (Credit: PA)
Rowling has come under recent backlash for her comment on trans identity (Credit: PA)

After saying it comes down to "education and safeguarding" and "freedom of speech," Rowling added: "I've been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.

"This isn't because I'm ashamed those things happened to me, but because they're traumatic to revisit and remember.

"I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn't want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too.

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"However, a short while ago, I asked her how she'd feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life and she encouraged me to go ahead."

Rowling talked about how the abuse affected her to this day (Credit: PA)
Rowling talked about how the abuse affected her to this day (Credit: PA)

Rowling added that there was a running joke in her family about her "perennial jumpiness," and that she hopes her daughters never suffer the same reaction to "sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven't heard them approaching".

"I'm mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who've been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces," the essay goes on.

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While acknowledging that trans people suffered high rates of domestic and sexual violence, she controversially did not agree that they should be entitled to single-sex spaces, too, should they not have undergone hormone therapy or surgery.

She went on to criticise those calling her out for their "groupthink" mentality, and suggest she's been victim to their "relentless attacks".


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Following the essay, further stars associated with the Harry Potter brand, including Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), spoke out in solidarity with trans people, and distanced themselves from her stance.

"Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are," Watson wrote on Twitter.

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Wright wrote: "If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x".

The row initially started after Rowling responded to an article addressing 'people who menstruate'.

She wrote: "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

You can donate to GIRES, "a UK wide organisation whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people" here, and domestic violence charity, Refuge, here.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: JK Rowling, Celebrity News, Sexual Assault, domestic abuse

Joanna Freedman
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