Everyone's Invited list: University of Portsmouth says it is 'very sorry' for suffering of victims of sexual assault and harassment and urges them to contact police

THE city’s university has said it is ‘very sorry’ that any female students may have been the victim of sexual abuse and harassment and has urged young women to report any incidents to the university or police.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 12:26 pm
The University of Portsmouth has been cited in 30 testimonials from victims of sexual abuse and harassment.

University of Portsmouth leaders were responding to analysis of the Everyone’s Invited website which revealed the university was in the 20 most mentioned universities from testimonials from young women citing their experiences of sexual abuse, harassment, misogynistic attitudes and even cases of rape.

The platform was set up in June last year to provide young women and girls with a platform to highlight their own experiences, the issue of ‘rape culture’ and concerns over the normalisation of the sexualisation of young women and girls.

There were 30 testimonials from past and present students at the University of Portsmouth, placing it joint 12th for the most frequently mentioned higher education establishment. The University of Exeter was cited in 65 testimonials, placing it top of higher education establishments named by victims.

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A University of Portsmouth spokesman said: ‘We are very sorry that any of our students have suffered in the way described. This goes against our inclusive culture where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

‘We do not tolerate any behaviour of this nature and we will deal firmly with any matters that are brought to our attention.’

The website has received over 15,000 testimonials, the vast majority of which are against male students. The city’s university stressed they have been proactive in providing support for any students who may have been the victim of abuse and harassment.

The spokesman added: ‘We have established our Speak UP Step UP campaign to tackle abuse and harassment in our university community and to make it easier for students to report incidents, anonymously if they wish.‘We encourage all members of our university community - both students and staff - to recognise that they have an active role to play to ‘speak up and step up’ when they see or hear someone being treated with disrespect.’

University leaders also cited its long-running Student Wellbeing Service – including university harassment advisors – and its strong ‘links with local rape and sexual assault services and police’.

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