Oxford students accuse the institution of 'enabling sexual violence'

Oxford University students accuse the institution of ‘enabling sexual violence and harassment’ and ‘protecting’ sex attackers

  • Damning statement claims sex attacks are offered ‘active protection’ by the uni  
  • Oxford Student Union campaign group ‘It Happens Here’ aims to raise awareness
  • Group claimed that the university ‘is also particularly resistant to change’

Oxford University students have accused the institution of ‘enabling sexual violence and harassment’.  

The damning statement also claims people who commit assault there are offered ‘active protection’ and ‘significantly’ more needs to tackle the issue.

The Oxford Student Union campaign group ‘It Happens Here’ has become dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence and consent.

It aims to prevent incidents within the university’s environment.

One campaigner said: ‘Although sexual violence can and does happen anywhere, there are certain institutional frameworks and cultures that aid and abet it, and Oxford is an example of a space that does both.’

The Oxford Student Union campaign group ‘It Happens Here’ has become dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence and consent. Pictured: Oxford University 

The group claimed that the university ‘is also particularly resistant to change’ when it comes to improving the reporting procedures.

The statement comes after a series of anonymous testimonies regarding the experience at the university’s colleges were published online.

Everyone’s Invited is a website aiming to expose the scale of sexual harassment and assault at universities and schools across the country.

The ‘rape culture’ website details 57 testimonies from the elite university, pushing it nearly to the top of the list.

The campaign aims to tackle this problem by supporting students, educating others on the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and ‘advocating for survivors and their allies at all institutional levels’.

It Happens Here said it believes that for the university to make significant change, fundamental institutional and culture shifts need to be instigated.

The students added: ‘The privilege of the space and of so many people who inhabit it can promote a lack of accountability particularly those from student societies or sports teams.’

The group claimed that the university ‘is also particularly resistant to change’ when it comes to improving the reporting procedures

The university has a college-funded sexual violence and harassment service that runs independently of the colleges and an independent sexual violence advisor, who is employed by Oxfordshire’s Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre.

The student group says the centre does ‘some excellent work’ and is considered ‘highly valuable as a point of contact outside colleges.’

But it said more needs to be done by individual colleges to stop ‘survivors slipping through the cracks of Oxford’s institutional framework or being silenced or ignored’.

A university spokesperson said: ‘University of Oxford makes very clear that sexual violence and harassment are unacceptable, and that students bringing forward complaints will always be listened to and supported.’

In recent years, the university said it has enhanced and invested in its welfare and disciplinary systems for students who have experienced sexual violence and harassment.

The spokesperson added: ‘The University always responds swiftly to any report of sexual violence or harassment and deals with complaints as quickly as possible.

‘Students are advised on their options, including how to make a complaint, and offered a range of support by the University Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service, including guidance from an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser.’

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