Exeter University tops list for Everyone's Invited sex assault reports

Exeter University tops the list for student sex assault reports made to Everyone’s Invited ‘rape culture’ website

  • Exeter, Oxford, Leeds, Edinburgh and University College London make up top 5
  • Set up by Soma Sara for people sharing stories of sexual abuse and ‘rape culture’
  • Miss Sara said they were overwhelmed with new testimonials from universities
  • 10,000 reports of alleged sexual assault have been posted online by students

Exeter University – where JK Rowling and Zara Tindall studied – tops the list of 108 universities where sex assault allegations have been made by people on the Everyone’s Invited website.

The forum, set up last year by former student Soma Sara for people to share their stories of sexual abuse and ‘rape culture’, has shaken Britain’s educational establishments.

Along with top schools, the UK’s most prestigious universities were named in the 1,000 plus testimonials and red-brick Exeter appeared most, coming up in 65 anonymous testimonials on the website.

Oxford, Leeds, Edinburgh and University College London make up the top five. 

Everyone’s Invited’s founder Miss Sara, who set it up while living with her grandmother’s Paris home during lockdown after graduating from UCL, has said they were overwhelmed with new testimonials from universities. 

The number of universities named emerged days after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson ordered a crackdown on student rape culture and called for universities to follow a new emergency code. 

A University of Exeter spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The safety, security and wellbeing of our students is, and always will be, our primary concern.

‘We have put in place a wide range of safety and support measures in recent years, improved our policies and reporting system and continue to work with students, colleagues and community partners to tackle misogyny and violence against women – this includes a special session of the Provost Commission in April on our collective role as a community and institution.’

‘We have made it clear to all members of our community that we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, abuse or assault, and that criminal or disciplinary proceedings will be brought against those who commit these offences.

‘We will continue to support each other and work together to keep all members of our community safe and feeling safe. We encourage all students to report and get the support they need.’

The University of Exeter, one of the country’s top universities, has been named the most on the Everyone’s Invited website

Soma Sara’s campaign claiming ‘rape culture is everywhere’ has engulfed thousands of UK schools and universities 

England’s universities watchdog also published its ‘statement of expectations’ – which outlines the practical steps that institutions should be taking to tackle harassment and sexual misconduct on campus.

The Office for Students (OfS) said all institutions should have processes in place to allow students to report any incidents and work to minimise potential barriers to reporting.

Miss Sara said: ‘From the testimonies it is clear that rape culture is endemic on university campuses across the UK. This is not just a school issue, it’s a cultural one.

Top ten universities named in reports of alleged sexual abuse on Everyone’s Invited

University of Leeds makes the top 5

University of Exeter 65

Oxford University 57

University of Edinburgh 53

University of Leeds 53

University College London 48

Durham University 41

University of York 40

University of Manchester 38

University of Bristol 37

University of Cambridge 36

‘We encourage students to develop the courage to challenge this culture. If you see a person being mistreated – don’t be a bystander, call it out, take action to stop it from happening.

‘If you witness misogyny and sexism challenge it through conversation and do this with empathy and understanding not anger and rejection.’

A total of 108 UK universities across all four nations were listed in total.

The claims came after a former Director of Public Prosecutions warned Britain could ‘live to regret’ a rush to criminalise schoolboys after an explosion of school sex abuse claims.

Lord Macdonald urged police and prosecutors not to confuse ‘obnoxious and unpleasant’ behaviour with crimes.

He spoke out after the national police lead on child protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, heralded it as the ‘next big child sexual abuse scandal to hit the country’.

Mr Bailey predicted that ‘rape culture’ claims would engulf the entire education sector, leading to referrals to every police force in the country.

So far, more than 100 schools have been named in over 8,000 harrowing anonymous testimonies on the Everyone’s Invited website, which was set up to expose misogyny, harassment and assault in schools.

Soma Sara, founder of the Everyone’s Invited website said yesterday there had been a 33 per cent increase in testimonies from the state sector and a 44 per cent increase in accounts from universities since March 9.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who is also an ex-Director of Public Prosecutions, called for an independent inquiry.

He said: ‘There’s got to be an inquiry and it has got to get going very fast, this is serious. There is of course a criminal investigation and I would encourage anybody who can to come forward and give evidence in that investigation.’

But his predecessor Lord Macdonald cautioned against making snap judgements, saying: ‘We may live to regret a headlong rush into criminalisation.’ 

The top lawyer, who led the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) from 2003 to 2008, said serious offences such as rape and sexual assault must be pursued.

But he warned prosecutors not to jump on the bandwagon and be ‘wary of social media campaigns that may draw in all sorts of behaviour that is obnoxious and unpleasant but not criminal’.

A sign reading ‘Educate Your Sons’ is attached to a gate outside James Allen’s School. The school was protesting rape culture at nearby Dulwich College Boys School 

He told the Daily Mail: ‘Police and prosecutors will face real challenges where complaints are made anonymously and people will need to come forward if cases are to be built.

‘Victims of crime should be reassured that in doing so they will be treated with respect, care and consideration.

‘But prosecutors will need to distinguish between cases where real crimes have been committed and cases where boys are just being obnoxious and going unchallenged.

‘And we need to be honest that cases from the past where it is one person’s word against another will be very difficult to prove.

‘Imagine a girl saying, ‘he assaulted me at a party four years ago’, and he’s arrested and says, ‘No, we just had a snog’.

‘That’s a tricky case to prosecute, to put it mildly. We need to understand that what we are talking about here is bringing young people into a court system with judges and juries and the prospect of prison.

‘This is very serious stuff. It is not an easy environment for victims, witnesses or defendants.’

He added: ‘Prosecutors should also be wary of social media campaigns that may draw in all sorts of behaviour that is obnoxious and unpleasant but not criminal.

Lord Macdonald (pictured) urged police and prosecutors not to confuse ‘obnoxious and unpleasant’ behaviour with crimes

‘The criminal law is a very blunt instrument. Much of this behaviour needs challenging in different ways. By education and communication. By parents as well as by schools.

‘By peer groups. And by moving resolutely away from the complicit notion that ‘boys will be boys’.

‘Pornography, social media, the sexualisation of everything- all these play a part.

‘Girls do need protecting. But do not expect the criminal justice system to do this work on its own.’

Another former top prosecutor suggested the CPS would ‘fall over’ if it were to be inundated with criminal allegations about schoolchildren.

Nazir Afzal, the ex-chief prosecutor for the North-West who brought down a Rochdale child abuse gang, said: ‘We can barely cope with what the police are already referring in relation to adults.

‘Trials are taking place maybe two to three years after a rape allegation has made and if we are proposing to take a large proportion of these cases through the justice system it will just fall over.

‘It could not cope. It would let everyone down. There needs to be some real expectation management here.’

He went on: ‘I am very much in favour of bringing the most serious offenders to justice, but at the same time we can’t have a situation where we are criminalising a whole generation, particularly when it is our failings that have made it happen. An independent inquiry is needed.’

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), which represents over 1,300 private schools, backed an inquiry.

He said: ‘Personally I’d be perfectly happy for there to be an independent inquiry because this is clearly a serious issue which needs to be dealt with across society.’

He added: ‘I would have thought it would be helpful if it went beyond schools.

‘Clearly they are going to look at schools and there’ll be some things which schools can do or should do which other agents can’t do or won’t do.

‘But if it’s going to be an independent inquiry, you’re going to want to look across the whole spectrum of institutions, and also incidentally of time, because we know that this is not a new problem.’

Oxford University (stock image) has been named 57 times on the Everyone’s Invited website

Both Edinburgh (left) and Leeds (right) universities have been named 53 times on the site

The universities named in testimonies on Everyone’s Invited 

The top ten spots for claims of sexual assault are:

University of Exeter 65

Oxford University 57

University of Edinburgh 53

University of Leeds 53

University College London 48

Durham University 41

University of York 40

University of Manchester 38

University of Bristol 37

University of Cambridge 36

The universities named in testimonials are:

* Aberdeen University

* Arts University Bournemouth

* Aston University

* Bangor University

* Birbeck, University of London

* Birmingham City University

* Boston Community College (USA)

* Brighton University

* Bristol University

* Chester University

* Chichester University

* Chulmleigh Community College

* City University London

* Clemson University

* Coventry University

* Cromwell Community College

* De Montfort University

* Durham University

* Exmouth Community College

* Fairfax University

* Falmouth University

* Glasgow Caledonian University

* Glasgow University

* Goldsmiths College London

* Greenwich University

* Griffith University (Australia)

* Harper Adams University

* Heathfield Community College

* Heriot-Watt

* Holloway university (RHUL)

* Holsworthy Community College, Devon

* Huddersfield University

* Kansas State (USA)

* Keele University

* King’s College London

* Kingston University 

* Lancaster University

* Leeds Beckett University

* Liverpool John Moores University

* Liverpool University

* Loughborough University

* London South Bank University

*London School of Economics

* Manchester Met University

* Melbourne University (Australia)

* Middlesex University 

* Newcastle University 

* Northumbria University

* Norwich University of Arts

* Nottingham Trent

* Nottingham University

* Oxford Brookes

* Plymouth University

* Portsmouth University

* Purdue University – (USA)

* Queen Mary University

* Queen’s University Belfast

* Ravensbourne University

* Reading University

* Sciences Po (France)

* Sheffield Hallam

* Sheffield University

* SOAS University London

* Solent Southampton University

* St. George’s London

* Staffordshire University

* Stirling University

* Surrey University

* Sussex University

* Swansea University

* Teesside University

* University College London

* University of Bath

* University of Bournemouth

* University of Cambridge

* University of Derby

* University of East Anglia

* University of Edinburgh

* University of Exeter

* University of Gloucestershire

* University of Hull

* University of Kent

* University of Leeds

* University of Manchester

* University of Newcastle

* University of Oxford

* University of Southampton

* University of St Andrews

* University of Strathclyde

* University of Suffolk

* University of Sunderland

* University of the West of England

* University of Wales

* University of Wolverhampton

* University of York

* University College Galway

* University of Cork

* University of Lincoln

* University of Mannheim (Germany)

* University of Nice – Cote d’Azur

* University of the Arts London

* University of Tirana (Albania)

* University Southern California (USA)

* Vrij Universitiat Amsterdam (Netherlands)

* Warwick University

* Washington State University (USA)

* Washington University (USA)

* Yale University (USA)


Revealed: Ex-British private school student, 22, behind ‘rape culture’ website Everyone’s Invited co-founded movement from her grandmother’s Paris home with actor Paul Walker’s daughter – after sharing stories with pals of being abused and shamed

The former boarding school girl whose personal account of ‘rape culture’ has snowballed into a sex scandal engulfing Britain’s entire education sector launched her campaign from the bedroom of her grandmother’s home in Paris during lockdown, MailOnline can reveal today.

Soma Sara, 22, started the Everyone’s Invited movement with Meadow Walker, the daughter of late actor Paul Walker, after they bonded on Instagram when she spoke about surviving abuse after watching BBC drama I May Destroy You last June.

The campaigner lives in France but was educated at an exclusive private Catholic school in Hampstead before boarding at Wycombe Abbey School in Buckinghamshire then completing an English master’s degree at University College London last year.

Miss Sara’s campaign claiming ‘rape culture is everywhere’ has engulfed thousands of UK schools and universities but also gained huge traction from all over the world, especially in the United States, with Miss Walker running the project across the Atlantic.

Fast and Furious actor Mr Walker was killed in a car crash in 2013, leaving behind his daughter Meadow, then 15. 

Now 22, Meadow, runs the global foundation in her famous father’s name and is now using her Instagram account with 2.5million followers to support teenagers who suffered sexual abuse in schools and universities as a co-founder and trustee of Everyone’s Invited, which is run by volunteers.

Miss Sara – who has previously said she is half Chinese and has an American grandmother – started the campaign after she and some friends discussed their stories of being abused, shamed and teased by boys.

She claimed their experiences were ‘characterised by an endemic rape culture’ and that ‘misogyny and sexism was the bedrock’. 

Miss Sara said she had spoken to her American grandmother about the abuse, and told the Times: ‘She says it’s been going on forever. It’s still a very patriarchal society and boys feel the need to prove themselves to each other. The only new thing is the social media technology which exacerbates and spreads these behaviours.’

Miss Sara added that she had  been ‘fetishised for being Asian’, being told: ‘Where are you really from? Can I get with you?’ and ‘constantly being compared with this Japanese porn star’. Miss Sara added: ‘I’m half Chinese. It was really disturbing but I accepted it.’

Created last year, contributions to the Everyone’s Invited website have surged since the murder of Sarah Everard from South London earlier this month. 

Although hundreds of prestigious private schools have been named and shamed, many other women have also used the platform to reveal their ordeals within the state education system, at university or the family home. 

Soma Sara’s campaign claiming ‘rape culture is everywhere’ has engulfed thousands of UK schools and universities 

Within a week she had received and shared more than 300 anonymous responses of people with stories of ‘misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault’, and thousands more have followed, predominantly from girls but also from boys.

These include harrowing tales of children as young as 11 being forced to share explicit images, later being shared to shame them over messaging platforms, and teenagers describing being drugged and raped at parties.

Incidents involving boys from more than 100 schools have been collated, including some attending elite fee-paying ones such as Sherborne, Westminster and Eton – where Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William studied. 

Today British police said they have received ‘more than 7,000’ testimonies from pupils, and growing claims Britain’s top schools have covered up sexual offences to protect their reputations. 

Describing her extraordinary journey Miss Soma told The Times after describing her own experiences at school in Britain the response was ‘overwhelming’.

She said: ‘In the holidays I grew up in London social circles and sex was a palpable presence throughout my teens. Disgusting behaviour was trivialised. 

Meadow Walker, the daughter of late actor Paul Walker, runs the global foundation in her famous father’s name

‘It could be sexual coercion, rape, catcalling, sexual bullying, stealthing [non-consensual condom removal], image-based abuse [revenge porn], victim blaming. Sexual abuse didn’t just exist, it thrived. It was rife.’ 

Her campaign has gone global, with Meadow Walker becoming part of the team, and expanding its influence to the United States where she has 2.5million followers on Instagram.  

She claims that online porn and poor standards of sex education are to blame – but Miss Sara says girls are also guilty.

She said: ‘The slut-shaming, jealousy, competition. We are all guilty to some extent. We have this weird culture now where we post pictures of ourselves and want to be liked like the Kardashians. Social media gives us this impossible body image that creates insecurity and eating disorders and never feeling perfect enough’. 

‘When we narrow our focus on a school, a demographic, or as an individual, we risk making these cases seem like anomalies. But this isn’t rare, it happens all the time,’ she wrote in Friday’s i newspaper.

‘When we direct the blame onto a person or place we are undermining the most important message: rape culture is everywhere. And because it’s everywhere it affects everyone.’

Meadow Walker is the daughter of Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker. They are pictured together when she was a child

Today Britain’s most senior child protection officer urged parents who suspect their sons have committed sexual abuse to hand them over after he said police have received ‘more than 7,000’ testimonies from pupils at schools.

Simon Bailey, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on child protection, speculated that the growing school sex scandal has been fuelled by online pornography and the sexualisation of women. 

The father-of-two Norfolk chief constable, 56, also suggested some schools may have covered up allegations of sexual abuse, and is expecting to see further reports of abuse at universities and state and private schools.

More than 100 schools have been named in thousands of harrowing anonymous testimonies on a website set up by former private school pupil Soma Sara, 22, to expose misogyny, harassment and assaults in schools.

There have even been allegations of a ‘rape culture’ at some institutions, sparking a major Whitehall investigation into the scandal that has seen some of Britain’s most elite schools named in accounts of sexual abuse.

Schools named on the Everyone’s Invited website include Eton College, St Paul’s School, Dulwich College, Westminster School and Highgate School.  

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