Website creator who exposed Dulwich College ‘rape culture’ claims warns of dangers of pornography – South London News

By Rachael Burford, local democracy journalist

Parents need to be aware of the dangers of online pornography and should teach their children about consent early, said today the creator of a website that has published thousands of allegations of student sexual assault.

Soma Sara, who created Everyone Invited, said online pornography can have an “incredibly damaging impact on young minds” and adults can’t “pretend it doesn’t exist.”

She was speaking as the NSPCC today launched a victim helpline and the government announced an immediate review of sexual abuse in schools after the website received more than 12,500 testimonials describing experiences heartbreaking violence and abuse.

Numerous testimonies have described the sexual harassment perpetrated against young women by young men or boys at their school or university – including the private school of Dulwich College in Southwark.

Miss Sara, 22, said: “A lot of parents feel the need to protect their children and this tends to distance them from these topics and restrict them.

“Parents need to accept that we live in a fast-paced, technological, social media world and that your children will be exposed to pornography. It is a fatality of life and they are often exposed before having received any sexual education.

“It’s about having these conversations early on, talking to them and letting them know that porn isn’t reality. It can have incredibly damaging effects on young minds and their understanding of sex and relationships.

“Consent is virtually nonexistent in porn. [Parents should] break up topics like that and talk about rape culture.

She added that there had been a “defense” to the allegations on the website from parents who want to protect their children, but they cannot “pretend it doesn’t exist.”

The majority of statements on the website, which was set up in June, came from top private schools and universities in London.

Last week, students from Highgate School walked out of classrooms to protest what they called ‘rape culture’, following the publication of testimonies.

Miss Sara said more testimony is now coming from state institutions.

In the interview with Ayesha Hazarika, she added, “It happens everywhere. In all schools, universities and all of society.

“I went to a private school and a university in London, so the people immediately exposed to the account were people from that demographic, so we were seeing an influx of people from those kinds of areas.

“But over the weeks we have seen a very significant increase in testimonials from public schools and universities across the UK.

“It’s not just young people either, we have even received testimonials from people in their 80s.

“It’s a culture that has been around forever, but it’s something that was exacerbated in my generation and taken to new extremes through things like social media and the accessibility of pornography.”

As the NSPCC hotline began receiving its first calls at 9 a.m., the association’s chief executive Peter Wanless said it was a “watershed moment” and that young people “want to see something done”.

“A significant number of young people are now stepping forward to openly share their worries and worries about things that are happening to them that are going wrong,” he told Sky News.

The helpline will offer support and advice to children and adults who have alleged sexual abuse at school and will provide information on how to contact the police and report crimes.

A large number of testimonials have been submitted to the Everyone’s Invited online platform regarding alleged incidents of harassment at Dulwich College.

Dulwich College principal Dr Joe Spence condemned the allegations as “distressing” and “entirely unacceptable”

He said: “While I cannot comment on the anonymous testimony, all specific and proven allegations are addressed, and we have involved outside authorities to investigate where appropriate.

“We are meeting with victims to listen to their experiences and concerns, and we will act accordingly.

“Our philosophy is that of respecting and supporting others in all we do, and we are a school committed to eliminating discrimination based on sex, race, sexual orientation, age, disability or religious beliefs.

“Where we have failed in this regard, we will work hard to make amends. “

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson called the allegations “shocking” and said: “Sexual abuse in all its forms is heinous and it is essential that these allegations be dealt with properly.”

The Report Abuse in Education helpline can be reached on 0800 136 663, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. He can also be contacted at [email protected]


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