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#NotGuilty: Second Oxford student writes of brutal rape by two men who then threw her in a bin as part of campaign against victim blaming

The Independent logo The Independent 05-05-2015 Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

An Oxford student who was brutally tied up, beaten, raped and then thrown in a bin by two her two assailants has written of the violent attack she was subjected to as part of the #NotGuilty campaign started by student Ione Wells.

Wells, who chose to waive her legal right to anonymity when she launched the campaign, wrote a powerful open letter to her attacker in which she described how he dragged her to the ground by her hair and smashed her head against the pavement before assaulting her. He fled the scene when Wells’ neighbours intervened.

Now, writing in the Oxford University student newspaper Cherwell and The Sunday Times, ‘Amelia’, which is not her real name, aged 19, has spoken of her own brutal assault and praised the community of rape and sexual assault survivors who have supported her.

She wrote: “I was raped. It has taken me six months to admit those three words. For half of that time, I didn’t remember. I didn’t want to remember, supressing the memory so that I could carry on with my life. 

“For a further two months I thought it was just a sexual assault, which I felt society thought of as less traumatic than rape and something that I could ‘move on’ from faster.

Addressing the idea of victim blaming, Amelia said that society does not know the facts that preceded her attack; that she felt safe being out by herself at night, despite being intoxicated.

“They don’t know how my sense of security at my dream university was shattered the moment I realised the two silhouettes I saw walking towards me were not my friends, or even friendly at all.

Facebook/Ione Wells: A second Oxford student has shared the harrowing account of her attack and rape as part of the #NotGuilty campaign © Facebook/Ione Wells A second Oxford student has shared the harrowing account of her attack and rape as part of the #NotGuilty campaign

“They don’t know how I felt as they overpowered me, tied me up, and subjected me to an onslaught of punches, near suffocation, and oral rape. They don’t know what it felt like to be convinced that those were my last moments alive. They do not know how I felt when they chucked me in a bin once they were done, implanting the idea in my head that I was worthless. Used and then discarded,” Amelia said that, though she had not felt able to tell her family about the attack, her “saving grace” after her assault was a “secret community” that “would not think that I was even a little to blame for what happened”. 

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She added that she wanted it known that within the community of survivors are male victims of rape, adding that she feels it is not right that “society presumes” all victims of sexual assault are women, and that people need to understand that no one but the offenders are at fault. 

A third Oxford student called Christina, also not her real name, aged 23, has written an open letter describing the intimidating sexual harassment experienced by her and a friend at a restaurant, in which two drunk men threw money at them, calling them “ugly bitches” and “sluts” and demanding they dance for the men, after the women refused to have drinks with them.

The pair reported the incident to the police and one of the men was later tried and found guilty.

Wells’ attacker was caught on CCTV following another woman shortly after his assault on the Oxford student. Police caught the 17-year-old, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and is currently on bail. He is due to appear in court on 6 May for a sentencing hearing.

RELATED: Oxford University rape victim writes open letter to assaulter

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