Oxford University is embroiled in a rape scandal after a rower claimed she was attacked by another student athlete.
The woman says she reported the allegation to scientist Sir John Bell, Covid-19’s government adviser, who is a member of the women’s boat club’s executive committee.
But she told The Times he reduced her claim by saying, “It’s a highly toxic combination of alcohol and young athletes in college.”
Last night, in an email to the Mail, Professor Bell disputed the woman’s memory of their conversations.
The woman also said a senior disciplinary officer had told her the university could not take action because she had not reported it to the police.
Oxford University is embroiled in rape scandal after rower claims she was attacked by another student athlete
This is despite the fact that the alleged rapist wrote her a letter apologizing for “crossing that line.” The rower is a member of the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club, which will compete against Cambridge on Sunday as part of the annual race. Her alleged attacker was a member of another sports team on campus and was seen as a top athlete.
She told The Times that the way the university handled her allegation “prolonged the trauma” and “may have been worse than the sexual assault.”
The attack is said to have taken place after a night out in Oxford on October 25. The woman said she went back to the campus halls where the man lived and they had sex, which she doesn’t remember. She then went to sleep, but claims he woke her up at 5 in the morning to say he wanted to have sex again.
In a report to the university, she claimed: ‘I was half asleep and did not give a verbal response to consent. He kept touching me and then told me to turn around so he could have sex with me … He then has sex with me while I was on my stomach; I don’t believe I was fully awake, but drifted in and out of consciousness …
‘I don’t believe I was fully aware of what was happening, or in a position to resist because of my drunken semi-conscious state. I have not given him permission to have intercourse and I feel deeply moved by the fact that he is taking advantage of my drunkenness. ‘
The woman said she later confronted the man on the night and asked him if she had responded. He told her she had been “somewhat responsive,” she claimed.
Two days after the incident, she reported the matter to his coaching team.
In his letter, the alleged attacker said: “I sincerely apologize for my actions. I feel horrible. It was wrong that I crossed that line … I’m going to read more about consent to make sure I understand correctly. ‘
The woman said she was seeking help from the university but was told it would take seven weeks to arrange this.
And she reported it to the office of the university’s proctors, but was told there was nothing they could do because she had not reported it to the police.
She then contacted Sir John. In a Zoom phone call, he reportedly told her, ‘You give those guys a few pints of beer or too much to drink and they act unbelievably bad. Jesus it’s a very toxic combination of alcohol and young athletes in college, it doesn’t work at all … To be fair, this college isn’t very good at these student welfare / counseling issues. ‘
Months after the incident, the president of the rapist’s alleged sports team threatened to resign over the matter, when public outcry over Sarah Everard’s death was in the news.
The alleged victim said, “ I had tried to get my voice heard for five months, but when the president said the university would look bad in the face of Sarah Everard’s death, the university suddenly decided to intervene.
“I felt that his sporting prowess was valued above my well-being, it made me feel powerless.”
A university spokesperson said: “ While we cannot go into detail on individual cases, we are confident that our disciplinary teams, support services and sports clubs will show great empathy in all cases and take significant steps to support each student. advise and support. ‘
Professor Bell said last night, “The comments in The Times do not reflect the tone of the meeting or how I interacted with her at those meetings.
‘These issues are up to the university to sort out and they told us exactly what to do and we did – separate the two and encourage her to find the right police. She chose not to and so no one could find out who was to blame. ‘
A member of the boat club who attended the Zoom call said Professor Bell’s comments were misrepresented. She added: ‘John was very sensitive and asked how she was doing, how he could help, and asked about her well-being. He didn’t weaken what she said at all. ‘