“I have no respect for those criminal sex offenders who want to make life easier for themselves,” says Ceri-Lee Galvin. “My father wasn’t dysphoric about his male genitals when he was abusing me.”
Ceri-Lee is a bright and confident 24-year-old who juggles taking care of her young child with training to be a paramedic. In contrast to the loving family and happy life she now has, her childhood was pure hell. For nine bleak years, she was sexually abused and raped by her father, an ordeal that began when she was just eight years old.
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But Clive Bundy, the man that subjected Ceri-Lee to unimaginable hurt and terror, has recently discarded his old life and now identifies as a woman. Ceri-Lee has felt compelled to speak out, in condemnation of a justice system that helps dangerous sexual predators to evade detection and to potentially target other child victims in female-only facilities.
In 2016, Bundy was arrested by police that had been monitoring his activities online. When they searched his laptop, they found numerous child abuse images, including a record of his abuse of Ceri-Lee. Bundy was jailed for 15 years but served half of that sentence, before being released a few weeks ago on licence.
Prior to his release, Bundy announced his decision to leave prison as a woman, stating that he has changed his name to Claire Fox.
It may not be coincidence that his chosen name is that of a high-profile campaigner who has used her seat in the House of Lords to argue that transgender activism endangers free speech and women’s rights.
Last month, Baroness Fox asked — in an online article entitled “A ‘Trans’ Paedophile Stole My Name” — why Bundy chose to troll her in this way. “I can only speculate. One commentator suggests that sex offenders, specifically paedophiles, select the names of well-known people so that an internet search will only turn up the famous person, and not them.”
There is, however, she explained, one small consolation in what she sees as Bundy’s trolling. “Should Clive Bundy ever start using social media under the name Claire Fox, he might find himself subjected to anti-Terf trolls, who routinely target gender-critical women like me, barraging us with misogynistic abuse.”
It is largely thanks to a second British parliamentarian that Bundy’s new name is in the public domain at all. Under Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, it is against the law to expose the former name of a person that has changed gender. But in March this year, Labour MP and women’s rights campaigner Sarah Champion raised the case in the House of Commons, where legislators are granted protection against civil and criminal liability.
Feminists have long pointed out that men who wish to sexually abuse women and children will seek out and exploit loopholes and opportunities in order to find new victims. Former convicts have been known to change their name by deed poll, for instance, and while they are required to inform the authorities immediately on doing so, many do not, and simply build new identities.
With gender reassignment more commonplace — and easy — than ever, it offers a new opportunity for dangerous sexual predators to change both their name and their sex, and then to hide in plain sight.
These fears are well founded and well documented. Look, for example, at the case of Karen White, a convicted child sex offender and rapist who, while legally still a man, was put in a female-only prison where he went on to sexually assault two inmates.
Then there is the more recent case of double rapist Adam Graham who, prior to his conviction, declared himself to be a woman and changed his name to Isla Bryson. Having been sent to Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only all-women’s prison, he was only moved as a result of a massive feminist protest.
Ceri-Lee wants the names of Clive Bundy and Claire Fox to be linked on official records. But the law requires us all to pretend that no such link exists — that, essentially, the convicted serial child sex offender no longer exists.
Since hearing about her rapist’s release, Ceri-Lee has experienced flashbacks to her own abuse. “Him doing this has caused me terrible anxiety,” she tells me. “I am worried about the girls in my family being targeted by him.”
She is also distressed that, yet again, Bundy has successfully manipulated the system. When she was told about his decision to assume a new identity as a woman, “it was a real shock”, she says. “I had no idea that he would be allowed to change his name and his identity in law when he was on the Sex Offender Register.”
Before this child rapist declared his intention to live as a woman, Ceri-Lee was “fairly liberal” about gender reassignment, taking a “live and let live” approach. More recently, however, she has discovered for herself the implications and unintended consequences of self-ID, the law that permits adults to change their gender without a medical diagnosis. In a world in which men can now legally enter single-sex spaces once earmarked for women and girls, Ceri-Lee’s opinions have shifted.
When she told her family members about Bundy’s transition, “at first, all we could do was laugh”, she says. “It’s so ridiculous… There’s just no way a man like him feels like he is a woman. He is so macho. He was always very proud of how manly he was.”
At the time of his arrest, Bundy denied every offence he was charged with. “The police said they’d never been faced with anyone as manipulative and coercive,” says Ceri-Lee. “Why can’t they see this is just him, again, trying to trick the system?”
Ceri-Lee was at home with her child when the Victim Support Officer called her out of the blue to let her know her father hadn’t been considered for parole because of an altercation in prison, before casually adding: “‘Oh, and by the way, he’s given us permission to tell you that he’s now female and calling himself Claire Fox…’ It was as if [the officer] was telling me what was for dinner.”
Had Bundy not given permission for Ceri-Lee to know his new identity — more power-play, and an example of his coercive and controlling tactics — neither she or the rest of her family would have had any idea that Bundy had “disappeared”, replaced by a woman called Claire.
Inevitably, Ceri-Lee has been accused of transphobia. “Somebody asked on Twitter how long it’s going to be before I’m convicted of a hate crime,” she says, “because I will never, ever refer to him as female. When he made me handle his male genitalia, he definitely wasn’t a female then — and he will never be a female in my eyes.”
Horrified that a sex offender such as Bundy could now freely visit a public swimming pool full of children, Ceri-Lee asks: “He didn’t abuse little boys, he abused girls — why should he ever be allowed to go into female-only spaces?”
She insists her motivation is not transphobic — “in fact, I feel an affinity with these people: I know what it’s like to be a child faced with a secret that feels wrong but [you] can’t tell anyone. I know the bravery it takes to come out and say something. I felt wrong in my body because of being sexually abused, so I understand what it feels like to want to escape it.”
Aware that to criticise anything to do with transgender ideology can have adverse consequences, Ceri-Lee admits she was worried about the effect that going public might have on her medical career. She was hoping to go to university to become a paramedic when she was told of her father’s release from jail.
The NHS has certainly been captured by trans ideology, with some Trusts having issued guidance which states that patients should be admitted based on the ‘gender they identify with’ and therefore can choose which ward, toilet and shower facilities they use.
Ceri-Lee is determined to continue her campaign, but waiving her right to anonymity, in order to go public about the identity of her abuser, has already cost her dearly. “It was the most difficult decision I have ever made. I think of myself as quite a confident person. I can walk the streets and people don’t know about the little girl that was abused and who wanted to kill herself.
“He told me I could never reveal what he was doing to me, or other family members would get hurt,” she says. “But I am done with being scared of him.”
Appalled that Bundy’s new persona has, with the stroke of a pronoun, all but erased from the public record what he did to her, Ceri-Lee is now determined to ensure that any medical transition will not give him access to vulnerable female victims. “He will do it to other girls,” she says, “I just know he will. I have to get the message out. But if I can stop one girl from having to go through this then it’ll be worth it.”