State schools are hit by surge in rape culture allegations
State schools have been engulfed by the deepening rape culture scandal – as ministers face calls to launch an inquiry.
Almost 10,000 reports of misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault have now been posted to the Everyone’s Invited website.
After the claims initially embroiled some of Britain’s top private schools, the number of entries involving state schools has increased by a third.
A senior MP today condemned the ‘Lord Of The Flies culture’ within classrooms, while another demanded Ofsted be tasked with leading an independent probe.
Collyer’s sixth-form in Surrey is one of the state schools being engulfed by the deepening rape culture scandal
An exterior view of Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, which is the subject of claims on Everyone’s Invited
Soma Sara instead railed against an endemic rape culture that permeates ‘every school, every university, at home and in society’
Campaigners hope the outpouring of pupil experiences will be a moment of reckoning for Britain’s education system akin to the MeToo movement.
Soma Sara, who founded the Everyone’s Invited website, said she had been ‘shocked’ by the thousands of testimonies but glad they were being voiced.
She added that in recent days there had been a 33 per cent increase in state schools entries.
Analysis by The Times reveals the claims inside the state sector include the West London Free School, Tiffin School, and Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School (CVMS), all in London, and Collyer’s sixth-form college in West Sussex.
An entry from CVMS, in Holland Park, alleged that a dozen pupils had created an Instagram account to post naked photos of female pupils.
Ms Sara this morning told Good Morning Britain: ‘I think rape culture is a universal problem it exists everywhere; in all schools, all universities, at home and in society. So the question of responsibility is on everyone.
‘I don’t think this is about naming, or shaming or pointing the finger at a place, person or institution. It’s about everyone participating in these conversations.’
Robert Halfon, Tory chairman of the education select committee, compared the culture in some schools to Lord Of The Flies
Robert Halfon, Tory chairman of the education select committee, compared the culture in some schools to Lord Of The Flies; in the novel, boys stranded on a remote island quickly turn animalistic and violent.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘It is pretty grim just reading through the Everyone’s Invited website, your heart goes out to all the people who have suffered the abuse, the sexual harassment, the threats, the abuse online.
‘I do think there is a Lord Of The Flies culture in some of our schools across our country and what needs to happen is an urgent inquiry to overhaul safeguarding procedures because they are not fit for purpose.’
Mr Halfon added that ‘much deeper’ questions needed to be asked to address the problem of sexual violence among some young men in school, and that councelling should be afforded to victims.
Gavin Williamson last night condemned the alleged abuses and vowed to take action to stamp out such ‘sickening’ behaviour.
The Education Secretary tweeted: ‘No school – whether an independent school or state school – should ever be an environment where young people feel unsafe, let alone somewhere that sexual abuse can take place.
‘The allegations that I have heard in recent days are shocking and abhorrent.’
The West London Free School in Hammersmith is also entered on to the website, where people anonysmously report misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault
Maria Miller has called for an independent Ofsted inquiry. Gavin Williamson vowed last night to take action over the pupil abuse scandal – and urged all victims of ‘sickening acts’ to report them to police
Ex-pupil sends claims dossier to Eton, Tonbridge and Charterhouse
A former pupil at a private girls’ school has sent a dossier of alleged experiences of rape culture to the heads of some of Britain’s most elite schools.
Zan Moon, 24, who attended Benenden in Kent, compiled experiences from 95 people before sending them to top public schools such as Eton College, Charterhouse and Tonbridge.
The Princes Trust charity worker, who says she was assaulted by a boy from a different school as a 15-year-old, is worried some of the perpetrators will grow up to one day hold positions of power and influence.
Urging heads to stamp out the behaviour at an early age, she wrote: ‘The worrying reality of this situation is that many of these young boys grow up to land some of the most powerful leadership roles in society.
‘It is therefore vital, to ensure safety for women across the country, that this misogyny issue is dealt with right from the start.’
She added to The Times that unacceptable behaviour was too readily dismissed as a ‘boys will be boys’ mentality.
In response, James Priory, headmaster of Tonbridge School, said: ‘I have read this open letter with significant concern. These behaviours have no place at Tonbridge and are incompatible with the ethos of care and respect for others which we do our best to teach and live by. As a school, we treat allegations of this kind with the utmost seriousness.’
Eton said: ‘Eton insists that all our pupils treat others with kindness, decency and respect. Specific allegations are always taken extremely seriously and we work closely with the relevant external authorities when necessary. We run workshops about healthy relationships and educate our pupils about consent it was introducing classes on consent.’
Charterhouse said: ‘We take the concerns raised extremely seriously and have been working hard on issues such as gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence and healthy and respectful relationships.’
Former cabinet minister Maria Miller demanded Ofsted be drafted in to lead an independent probe into the allegations.
The Tory MP, who was chair of of the Commons women and equalities committee when it published a report detailing harrowing findings of abuse five years ago, said it appeared nothing had changed.
Ms Miller said that while the Government had accepted many of her committee’s recommendations, schools appeared to be failing to implement new guidelines which had followed its 2016 report.
‘What I think now, very strongly, is we need to have Ofsted do a deep dive on the issue of the handling of sexual harassment in schools,’ she told The Guardian.
Business Secretary Kwarteng today said he is ‘very disturbed to hear that things were not acted upon’ when asked about the Ms Miller’s report.
Labour are also piling pressure on the Government. Shadow education secretary Kate Green and shadow domestic violence and safeguarding minister Jess Phillips called on the Government to develop a national strategy to tackle the issue.
‘Swift and decisive action is needed to make sure that the education system is safe for every young person, and that sexist or misogynistic attitudes towards women and girls are stamped out early,’ they said.
Ms Green said: ‘It is extremely concerning to see these reports of sexual harassment and abuse across the education system.
‘Ministers have let young people down with their dangerous and irresponsible resistance to calls for a strategy to tackle sexism and sexual harassment in the education system.’
Ms Phillips added: ‘The Government have known the scale of sexual harassment and abuse in schools, colleges and universities for years and have done nowhere near enough to tackle this endemic problem.
‘Every student is entitled to an education free from the threat of sexual violence or harassment.’
In a statement a Government spokeswoman said ministers were ‘very concerned’ at the number of allegations posted on the Everyone’s Invited website.
‘The abuse of children and young people in all its forms is abhorrent,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘The vast majority of schools, colleges and universities take their safeguarding responsibilities very seriously, so it is particularly shocking when allegations of abuse are made in connection with a place of education where everyone should feel secure and be protected.
‘Working together, the Department for Education, the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council are in contact with Everyone’s Invited to provide support, protection and advice to those who are reporting abuse, including on contacting professionals or the police if they wish.’
MailOnline has contacted the West London Free School, Tiffin School, Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and Collyer’s sixth-form college.
Paul Stubbings, headmaster of Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, told The Times: ‘We have a zero-tolerance policy to any form of sexual violence or harassment and try hard to promote a culture in which this does not happen. But when it does and we know about it, we deal with it robustly.’
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