Warwick Uni rape chat: Victim's disgust over decision to let students back early

Image source, Megan Wain

"I think it's disgusting. It's rape culture. Allowing people to behave like this is perpetuating society's belief that 'boys will be boys'".

Megan is a history and politics student at the University of Warwick. She was named in a Facebook chat where rape threats were made against specific women at the uni.

Two students were originally banned for 10 years over that group chat - but their ban has been reduced after they appealed and they will now be allowed to return later this year.

Warwick University has called their actions abhorrent and unacceptable, but Megan's told Radio 1 Newsbeat she feels too anxious to be at the uni this week.

"I work on campus so I've not worked any shifts this week - I haven't been to any seminars - it's really difficult for me to be on campus at the moment," Megan said.

The 20-year-old says those in charge at the university haven't done enough to protect her or other women there.

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"For the past 10 months with the investigation ongoing I've been incredibly anxious and upset. I've really suffered with my mental health," she says.

"With this week's news I'm angry more than I am upset so that's why I'm speaking out," Megan told Newsbeat.

She says the other female students named in the Facebook group have also suffered because of the "time-consuming, tiring and frustrating" process of reporting the incident to Warwick Uni.

Image source, ThE BOAR
Image caption,
Student newspapers obtained the screenshots after complaints were made to the university

Megan says she only found out that those involved in the chat had had their ban reduced from a friend at another university, after a letter started circulating on social media.

"The people who reported the situation were pushing for the investigation to be revealed to the public and to the people involved but it wasn't actually outed until last week," she says.

"I was just so upset I thought I needed to speak out about it because it's not fair that women have to deal with these people again."

The trauma of being named in the Facebook group has already had an impact on Megan's studies when it was first revealed in 2018.

"It really affected my university experience last year," she says.

"I didn't go to a lot of lectures or seminars in my final time at university which really affected my degree because that was exam season."

Warwick University gave this statement to Newsbeat: "The behaviour shown by the individuals concerned goes against all of our values as a community. We are sorry that the decision as a result of our processes has upset so many members of our own community and beyond." But it adds that the appeal was over the length of the ban, not the severity of the offence.

'Warwick University hasn't looked after the girls'

Megan feels that Warwick's History department has been supportive, but overall feels like she's been let down by her university.

"I feel that the university overall has failed," she says.

"I don't think anyone higher up in the institution has got back to us. I think it's appalling, I think they haven't really looked after girls at the university and the people mentioned in particular."

Katie Tarrant agrees - she edits the student newspaper The Boar, who originally broke the story.

"It's very upsetting to see the atmosphere on campus right now," Katie told Newsbeat. "What upsets me is when people say that it's banter. Regardless of whether you think this information is private so it shouldn't have been put out, what they have said, a lot of the stuff is abhorrent."

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