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Content Warning: This article contains detailed discussions and descriptions of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. I know that an article like this will not be easy to read.
All the women in our lives: testimonies of sexual harassment from cambridge
These testimonies reveal the various ways in which sexism manifests in society, a culture that cannot be reduced or conflated to a single crime. At the same time, these testimonies are still not representative of all the different intersectionalities of marginalisation that women and gender minorities face. What they do show is that every single one of us needs to do more. Every time we laughed along with our friends when someone made a questionable joke, or failed to call out casually sexist or objectifying comments, we all play a part. There is a student, still studying at my college, who has sexually assaulted numerous women during his time here; he has groped drunk women in clubs, stalked them home and even used physical force.
Women subjected to “frightening” sexual assault
Even his female friends have chosen to protect him, despite knowing the dangers he poses. I have been groped and followed home by him before, and many have experienced much worse.
I gave up trying to report him when it became apparent that none of his friends or potential witnesses would come forward, confront him, or even talk to him. Sexual harassment against women is a real and visceral concern. In my home town, I was frequently harassed by senior members of staff in the workplace.
One manager, when I bent down to retrieve something from a low cupboard, made a joke about me giving him oral sex. I was 17 years old at the time.
Man accused of sexually assaulting female youth after driving her to cambridge mall
After being friends, partying and getting with the boys in college for months, I found out they had a points system for getting with girls. They updated each other about every time they got more points and it was just a competition between them. They discussed tactics on whether it was better to just get with lo of 1 pointers or invest more time trying to pull a 5 pointer.
All that time we thought we were friends with these boys and casually getting with them at parties like most teenagers do. Little did I know the boys only wanted to talk to me and kiss me because I was worth 5 points in their l game. When I was in grade 8 back in my hometown, a boy took a photo through the cuff of my T-shirt.
I was discovered and threatened by his parents and my teacher at junior high using the name of law because I had no evidence.
Cambridge rape crisis
It was indeed impulsive of me to take actions before knowing the related statute but I could not help thinking how many victims who experienced something far worse than me are feeling helpless because of lack of evidence. They went to the end of the street and I thought they were done, but they came back down the road a few times and kept looking at us, waiting for an answer. That is only one of the numerous times I have felt uncomfortable and quite frankly unsafe. I was catcalled in school both by older and younger students. The fact that he felt so comfortable harassing an older student in a position of authority was so disturbing and shows how prevalent rape culture is I think this is especially true in all-boys schools and at how young an age it starts.
I was in my room tidying up and he came into my room and was hugging me and touching and squeezing my bum.
'my sexual harassment experience in cambridge left me feeling sick, sexualised and angry'
We were then all sat downstairs and he was squeezing my thighs and I was looking at my friends for help. I was in my own room and felt vulnerable and unsafe. I went to a different college with a group of my mates.
A guy started being friendly which was nice - then possibly flirting. Eventually, one of my male mates walks in on us and saves me.
A lot of people might sympathise with him - my initial reaction was that it was all my fault. But I thought about it.
I thought if I was trying to move to someone and they said they were in a relationship would I keep trying? Absolutely not.
Violence and harassment: A Varsity statement of solidarity. When I first came to Cambridge and I googled a picture of my supervisor it honestly made me excited to see that he was a very attractive PhD student.
Me and my friends giggled about it saying how jealous they were that my supervisor was so fit. When we started he was really friendly, comforting and supportive through the transition into university which I was thankful for.
These testimonies are just a small selection of those received from Cambridge students, but there are infinite s of stories to be told. In the shame culture we live in, so many of these stories go unheard and individuals suffer in silence— often never feeling able to verbalise their experiences. As the death of Sarah Everard and the stories of sexual misconduct in British schools fall to the back of the news cycles, we cannot let them fall to the back of our minds.
The urgency to tackle rape culture and sexual harassment cannot be understated. If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the following organisations provide support and resources:.
Varsity is the independent newspaper for the University of Cambridge, established in its current form in In order to maintain our editorial independence, our print newspaper and news website receives no funding from the University of Cambridge or its constituent Colleges. We are therefore almost entirely reliant on advertising for funding, and during this unprecedented global crisis, we expect to have a tough few months and years ahead.
In spite of this situation, we are going to look at inventive ways to look at serving our readership with digital content and of course in print too. Many thanks, all of us here at Varsity would like to wish you, your friends, families and all of your loved ones a safe and healthy few months ahead.
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