Student pens powerful open letter to youth charged with sexually assaulting her
A young woman has told how she was allegedly sexually assaulted on a London street in an open letter to the youth who has been charged.
Ione Wells, 20, an Oxford university student, has spoken out about the attack near her home in Camden, north London as she launched a #NotGuilty campaign highlighting that such assaults are never the fault of the victim.
She waived her right to anonymity to publish her article in the university's Cherwell student newspaper, according to The Times, which said she was assaulted as she walked home from an underground station in London in the early hours of April 11.
She told the youth: "There are no boundaries to community; there are only exceptions, and you are one of them."
She described how he followed her, dragged her by the hair, smashed her head against the pavement and tore her bra in half with the sheer force with which he grabbed her breast, before running off when her neighbours and family came out.
She wrote: "I don't know who the people in your life are. I don't know anything about you. But I do know this: you did not just attack me that night. I am a daughter, I am a friend, I am a girlfriend, I am a pupil, I am a cousin, I am a niece, I am a neighbour, I am the employee who served everyone down the road coffee in the cafe under the railway. All the people who form those relations to me make up my community, and you assaulted every single one of them. You violated the truth that I will never cease to fight for, and which all of those people represent - that there are infinitely more good people in the world than bad.
"This letter is not really for you at all, but for all the victims of attempted or perpetrated serious sexual assault and every member of their communities. I'm sure you remember the 7/7 bombings. I'm also sure you'll remember how the terrorists did not win, because the whole community of London got back on the Tube the next day.
You've carried out your attack, but now I'm getting back on my tube.
"My community will not feel we are unsafe walking back home after dark. We will get on the last tube home, and we will walk up our streets alone, because we will not ingrain or submit to the idea that we are putting ourselves in danger in doing so. We will continue to come together, like an army, when any member of our community is threatened, and this is a fight you will not win."
The student has since tweeted her gratitude at the support she has received for the online campaign which was launched in conjunction with the Cherwell newspaper.
She said: "Wow - what a wonderful community. YOU have all proved my points about community in your support. Thank you! Let's do this! #notguilty".
People are being encouraged by the Cherwell wesbsite to share their experiences "in order to establish a strong force of community overriding misdirected victim characterisation".
Scotland Yard said a 17-year-old would appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on May 6.