A popular site called “Everyone’s Invited” has made a statement that more than enough schools in the capital have found themselves associated either directly or indirectly with the increasingly popular rape culture that had taken over the internet. BBC’s interview with Det Supt Mel Laremore revealed that the menace is a “national issue” with over a hundred institutions falling into the fold.
The rave that swept over the internet saw the owner of Everyone’s Invited website saying the netizens’ focus on private institutions is rather “disappointing.” As a website set up in the year 2020 to serve the purpose of giving rape victims a chance to tell their story. Currently, there have been over five thousand testimonies. This also includes true stories from children as young as nine. Additionally, testimonies from victims who are enrolled in independent schools are given more credence now.
On Thursday, a school in North London, Highgate School announced its newly found interest in the rape allegations. It announced that the rape claims will undergo a thorough review. In respect to the allegations, DS Laremore believes the rape issue is even more tragic and will blow beyond the private school saga. As the Met’s lead for rape and sexual offences, she told Today programme that her team had already started examining the scope of how wide it the rape allegations will spread, especially since the website has its parameters and audiences cutting across every part of the nation.
In the same light, Soma Sara, the website’s founder also gave her opinion on the issues revolving around rape culture and its connecting institutions. She had also written her sad sexual assault experience for the I magazine before hand. In her words, she posits that the “prevalence” of the “rape culture” in the education sector was dominated by the ray of light shined on few institutions. According to her, focus is being given to these private institutions more than the actual rape issue itself. Sara blamed this on an initial bias between the website and private institutions but acknowledges a paradigm shift towards state owned institutions and schools as their numbers are increasingly rising.
Thus, watching how one of the most sought after discussions of all time narrows down to private institutions is rather disappointing, the Everyone’s Invited founder says.
Everyone’s Invited open can of worms
One of the victims, a seventeen year old girl who is also a student of London State School shared with BBC how she was sexually assaulted by a sixth former at the tender age of 13. In her story, her assaulter picked her out when she was alone. He touched her inappropriately and tried to forcefully take her clothes off. She said she was saved by a stranger when her noise became too loud and when the police came, they tossed the incident into the trash can of history for lack of evidence.
Ever since the testimonies rolled in, Met has made it a responsibility to contact every institution whose name is mentioned on the site. This is part of their investigation. In response to this, DS Laremore said the force has thrown its hands open to all victims of rape or sexual assault and urges them not to be afraid to speak out. Met doesn’t takes every sexual assault allegations lightly. This is irrespective of the duration, place, or circumstances surrounding the offense committed. DS Laremore also promises that the force will be glad to give support to anyone willing to come forward.
About Everyone’s Invited
Everyone’s Invited is a platform created by Ms Sara with the intent of torch lighting the increasing rose cultures in schools. The site already has over 5000 testimonies from victims who have shared their stories anonymously. It tells of the gory details of what they went through in the hands of their attackers and how they have been coping with the assault since then.
Within a week of starting the Everyone’s invited platform, the founder shared over 300 anonymous messages of “misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault.”