I was raped at UKC and they’re “failing victims”
An open letter to the University of Kent:
I was raped on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus. This might be difficult for you to read, but it is something that you must pay attention to. It was in my halls in my first year and subsequently I have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and still live with it today.
If the University does not act on the services that it offers, it is failing victims. Victims who do not feel like they can come forward because they will not be believed, because Canterbury is so ‘safe’. This may be statistically true, but to deny help and access to those who need it is to the detriment of that safety.
Taking action on this will not deter new students; it will make Kent a safer place to study. It will not hurt your intake of students, it will help those who need it the most.
Alison Phipps’ article in The Telegraph said, “Institutions do not want prospective students and their parents, or potential donors, to be put off by stories about sexual victimisation, especially that occurring on campus. Furthermore, they are loath to take action in case by doing so they create the impression that their campus is worse than elsewhere.”
Union staff members have admitted that this is the behaviour of our own University. Which to be frank makes me feel sick.You are complicit in rape culture and must take responsibility for the detrimental effect you may be having on student victims’ lives if you do not change your policies.
You have the opportunity to change this, students have fought for this through the Union, but there is only so much that those directly affected by the matter can do without the full support and action of the University.
It took me a long time to come to terms with what happened to me and and to pull myself together to complete my degree. I didn’t have to justify to anyone how I reacted to what happened. It happens a lot more often than it is spoken about.
This isn’t an attack at the University, but a plea. That you stand up and make a difference instead of cowering away.
A University of Kent alumnus
The University, Union and Police have responded to the letter:
Dr Wayne Campbell, Director of Student Services:
“The University does not tolerate sexual harassment or assault and treats all reports of such incidents very seriously. Over the years we have taken significant steps to increase the personal safety and wellbeing of all our students and we work with Kent Union to continually review and improve our support systems and networks. These include the College Masters and their offices, a team of trained Harassment Contacts and the offer of a confidential service of support that includes counselling. We would encourage anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or assault to either contact us, the police or East Kent Rape Line.”
Megan Wells Vice-President (Welfare):
“I would say that the University needs a better system in dealing with rape and sexual assaults. You seem to get passed from pillar to post, there doesn’t seem to be a key process. From my understanding and my experience with talking to students here, you can get sent somewhere, and I appreciate that they are not the experts, but I think there needs to be a clearer thing of if a student has had to experience that, the last thing they are going to want to do is go from one place to another, to another, to have to retell everybody their story, and that’s what’s happening at the moment. “There needs to be a clearer process for students to go to one place and that’s all they have to do. They have to say their story once. I think there needs to be a better connection with the police with how we can support students, both through the emotional stuff, and also through pressing charges and supporting that student if they want to take action.”
Kent Police and Campus Watch
Although contacted, Kent Police and Campus Watch declined to comment.
To contact East Kent Rape Line, the helpline number is .