Image: Wikimedia Commons / LWYang

Calls for Edinburgh University to take action over students’ rape claim

Student leaders have called on Edinburgh University to do more to deal with sexual violence.

Trigger warning: rape, sexual assault. 

This comes after more than 100 student accounts of rape, sexual assault and harassment were published on the Everyone’s Invited website.

Thousands of people have taken to the site to report their experiences of sexual harassment in recent weeks. The Times has reported that more students have come forward after the murder of Sarah Everard in London.

13 of the accounts published on the website are directly linked to Edinburgh University, which appears more often than most other universities in the UK.

 The university said that around 15-20 incidents of sexual abuse on campus were reported each year, and that it had been taking action – including training student leaders and appointing a sexual violence and harassment manager – to offer support.

An Edinburgh University student alleged they were raped on campus by a “boy in my block” in Pollock Halls of Residence.

Their testimony read: “still see him around sometimes and it triggers huge anxiety in me. I’m sure he has no idea of the damage he’s caused.”

Another account read: “I remember the walls. I remember the light.

“I remember feeling sick from all the alcohol before. I don’t remember the time.

“I don’t remember how long it lasted. I don’t remember how it happened; but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t.”

The University of Edinburgh are really doing their best and they’ve made huge improvements this year, but I think everyone knows that there’s still far to come, there’s still so much more that could be done

– Ellie, founder of @EdiAnonymous Instagram account

Similar accounts have been shared on the @EdiAnonymous Instagram, with its founder Ellie telling the BBC that she has received 101 accounts from her fellow students.

One account reads: “I said no – he didn’t listen. I said no again. He didn’t listen and just continued. At some point, I stopped saying no and reluctantly waited for it to be over… It took me years for me to realise this was rape.”

According to Ellie, just one of the 101 mentioned going to the police.

 Speaking to BBC Scotland, Ellie said: “The University of Edinburgh are really doing their best and they’ve made huge improvements this year, but I think everyone knows that there’s still far to come, there’s still so much more that could be done.”

Niamh McCrossan, from the Edinburgh Uni Students’ Association, said “there definitely is a problem here if students have taken to the internet to say these things”.

She added: “The university needs to ask itself – are they investing enough resources in this? Have they missed an opportunity to support students? I think that if students are having a negative experience then there definitely is a problem and we need to make sure that we are meeting the needs of these students.”

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “We are committed to addressing the issue of sexual violence on campus and have invested significantly in awareness raising, delivering training for students and staff and ensuring there is effective professional support available for any student who needs it.

“We take all complaints about any students or staff members seriously, and deal with any incidents that are brought to our attention in a sensitive manner.

“We encourage students to use our official reporting channels so that we are then able to fully investigate any incidents and provide those affected with the help and support they need.”

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