How to spot abusive relationships: Sophie Cook and Rape

The Independent ran this quite disturbing article which pretended to be about trans activism. It was actually a deeply disturbing article which anyone with any experience of working with abusive relationships will recognise.

Psychological abuse occurs when a person in the relationship tries to control information available to another person with intent to manipulate that person’s sense of reality or their view of what is acceptable and unacceptable. Psychological abuse often contains strong emotionally manipulative content and threats designed to force the victim to comply with the abuser’s wishes.It very often comes with physical abuse, sexual abuse and follows fairly set patterns. THis particular trait is common in narcissists who cannot have relationships with other adults because they can only see those adults as objects in their own identity.

Sophie appears to believe that matters between parties in relationships are private. Not private to both of them, but private for one. Apparently it is not relationships with two whole human beings she is interested in. She feels that a fear of rejection or shame is sufficient that rape laws, consent laws and other laws which I assume include the domestic abuse laws around coercion should not apply. THis is common in abusive people. They cannot see another person as anything but an object in their identity and cannot perceive why consent from someone who is not a whole person, but an object for them matters. It does matter. We have to have rape laws and consent laws because it matters.

She cites the case of Gayle Newland whose repeated penetration without consent, also came with deep psychological abuse as she created a false reality for her victim. Anyone who has worked with this kind of abuser knows how devastating this is. Sophie cites section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is an offence if a defendant intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of a person, where the other person does not consent and where the defendant does not reasonably believe the other person consents.  She cites Section 74 of the act gives the definition of consent: “A person consents for the purposes of this Act if he agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.


Let be clear, if these two sections of legislation are a problem in your relationship you need to get some help and to not have relationships with adults until you can learn to see that adult as a human being equal to you.

Sophie then marches into textbook abusive and coercive behaviour patterns, stating that following these very clear laws puts her at risk. Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of the risk of violence faced by trans women but actually when you tell someone you have the right to rape, deceive, emotionally abuse them, control their reality, because otherwise they are abusing you., that is textbook abusive behaviour. From any gender. It is also a sign that you are in a relationship with someone who has a more serious problem than not being very nice.

Apparently all this is necessary because if we retain rape laws, if people are protected in their right to consent, if she is not allowed to control the reality of another person so that their sexual autonomy is subsumed by her identity needs, then that is  also reinforcing the bigoted idea that trans people are in some way abhorrent.

So we get to the core of the issue here. Sexual consent. When someone thinks you are abhorrent and does not want to sleep with you, that may not be nice for you. It isnt nice when someone doesn’t fancy you, doesn’t want to sleep with you. It stings. However, when you respond to that with coercion, emotional abuse, and the requirement of rape and consent laws being rolled back, you are asking for your right to be a sex offender and that’s quite a lot worse.

The right to rape, the right to coerce, the right to psychologically abuse does not become yourse because your identity is fragile as you transition. That is the kind of statement that should lead someone to ask you to talk to someone and refuse to be alone with you, not the type of statement that leads to an article in the Independent. Manipulative coercion and psychological abuse and rape are abusive behaviour in ANY relationship and the fragility of your identity doesn’t make that ok, nor does your gender, your sex, your sexuality or anything else..


Sophie, sex is only private when you are on your own. That’s masturbation. Otherwise its a relationship with two whole people. No you don’t get to lie, coerce or abuse someone so they will sleep with you because you don’t see them as a person. Your identity is not THAT important.

One thought on “How to spot abusive relationships: Sophie Cook and Rape

  1. Looking on the bright side, I think it’s highly unlikely that any potential sex partner wouldn’t notice that Sophie Cook is trans. It’s pretty obvious.

    More seriously, I find it concerning that the Independent published such a piece. Did no one register how rapey/creepy the argument was?

    Thanks for a well-written, insightful commentary.


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