Everyone's Invited

Everyone's Invited
Formation June 2020 (2020-06)[1]
Founders Soma Sara β€’ Bmcabana SF
Type Nonprofit
Key people
Meadow Walker[2]
Website https://www.everyonesinvited.uk/

Everyone's Invited is an anti-rape movement organisation based in the United Kingdom, focused on exposing rape culture through "conversation, education and support."[3][4] It was founded in June 2020 by Soma Sara and Bmcabana SF, and allows survivors of rape culture to share their stories through testimonies shared anonymously on their website and Instagram profile.

History

In June 2020, after watching the BBC television series I May Destroy You (2020), Soma Sara began sharing her personal experiences of rape culture via social media platform Instagram.[5] In response, she received messages from people who could relate to her experiences and those who shared their own experiences of misogyny, harassment, sexual abuse and sexual assault.[3] Within a week, she had received and shared over 300 anonymous responses. She used this as grounds to launch Everyone's Invited.[4] Meadow Walker, daughter of actor Paul Walker, became a part of the team, expanding its influence to the United States.[4]

I wanted to do everything in my power to continue this essential conversation by giving these stories a more permanent platform.

— Soma Sara, Last Bus Magazine[4]

Sara says that sex education in schools is the "root of the problem",[4] and that a more comprehensive programme is needed.[6] She also believes that most of the behaviours are internalised and is against cancel culture, saying that she believes the movement can't be "weaponise[d]" with it and that it is "counter-productive".[4]

The Instagram campaign encourages victims, mostly in schools, to share their experiences of rape culture, sexual harassment, slut-shaming, coercion into sex or sharing of nude photographs and more, anonymously, in what the organisation calls "testimony".[7][8][9][10] In March 2021, following the death of Sarah Everard,[11] these testimonies saw a rise in popularity, going "viral".[7] As of 10 June 2021, 16,554 testimonies had been submitted.[12] Though no individuals are mentioned in the testimonies, schools are, including some of the most prestigious schools in England; single-sex ones such as St Paul's School, Harrow School and Eton College,[9] and mixed-sex ones too, including Latymer Upper School and Wellington College.[7]

Towards the end of March 2021 and in April 2021, the movement shifted focus towards universities in the United Kingdom;[13] between 26 March and 1 April, over 1,000 testimonies were submitted from students in universities.[14] "Elite" institutions such as the University of Oxford, the University of Exeter and University College London were named.[15] The organisation published a list of 17 universities that attracted the most allegations,[16] and 15 of the universities named were a part of the Russell Group, a British association of universities.[14]

In June 2021 Everyone's Invited released a list of all the schools or colleges in the UK and Ireland it had received testimonies from, almost 3,000. This included 2,556 are secondary schools and 406 are primary schools.[17]

Response

This is a widespread, endemic issue. It’s not about one environment, or demographic or school; [it] is so deeply ingrained in our culture, people really need to understand that if we're going to be able to dismantle it.

— Soma Sara, ITV News[6]

Media coverage

Following the testimonies going "viral" in March 2021,[18][19][20] the campaign received mainstream media coverage, with papers including The Times,[7] The Daily Telegraph,[9] BBC News,[21] the Evening Standard[22] publishing articles about the movement, and Sara also appeared on national television to talk about it.[23][24] It is seen as the first time the popular Me Too movement focused on a "problematic culture" in schools.[9]

School responses

Latymer Upper School made a statement condemning the actions described in the testimonies, calling them "deeply disturbing",[9] before informing the police.[25] A spokseperson for Eton College said that the school "always take any specific allegations – including about the sending or sharing of explicit images – extremely seriously", that they are investigated "thoroughly", and that "any disciplinary action required" is taken, while St Paul's School also said that they "always investigate fully matters of this nature".[9] Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, encouraged pupils to inform their schools, in person, about their experiences, saying that it is "difficult" dealing with anonymous statements, of which many "relate to incidents which took place outside school at social events."[26]

Police response

In March 2021, the Metropolitan Police began contacting schools which they could identify from the Everyone's Invited testimonies;[27] Scotland Yard launched a national investigation into the claims on 27 March 2021, with officials from the Home Office and Department for Education "leading a cross-Government response with senior officers".[28] It was revealed that a helpline was to be set up by the police.[29] The National Police Chiefs' Council said that the issue of rape culture in schools "presented a huge challenge to society".[29] Scotland Yard's rape and sexual offences lead Detective Superintendent Mel Laremore told BBC Radio 4 that the issue is a "national" one, adding that she thinks "it is more widespread than private schools."[30]

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who is also the National Police Chiefs' Council lead on child protection, said that "this is the next scandal" within schools. He also said "I think schools are quite frankly struggling with the sheer scale of this", and that it's not right that girls are "having to run the gauntlet of sexual harassment, misogyny, the sending of nudes, unsolicited or indecent images being sent to them."[17]

Government response

The chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon, called for an independent investigation, outside of the police force, to be set up afterwards, describing the situation as "appalling". He also said that the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) should be responsible for the safeguarding inspections of independent schools, rather than an inspection regime appointed by the school themselves, which is what the current system allows.[30] A government spokesperson said: "We are very concerned by the significant number of allegations recently posted on the Everyone's Invited website. The abuse of children and young people in all its forms is abhorrent."[31][32]

A helpline, run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), was launched on 1 April 2021, which received 426 calls up to the 7 June 2021 and made 80 referrals to external agencies[33][34] and an immediate review into abuse in schools by Ofsted was initiated.[35]

In June 2021 Ofsted released its rapid report on sexual abuse in schools and colleges. It conducted interviews with over 900 children and young people and staff in 32 schools and colleges in England. It said that sexual harassment has become "normalised" among school-age children, with nine in 10 girls having experienced sexist name-calling or were sent explicit photos or videos. It also said that more than two-thirds of girls said they endured unwanted touching "a lot" or "sometimes", while eight in 10 said they had been put under pressure to share sexual images of themselves. The report said that students often do not see the point of reporting abuse and many teachers underestimate the scale of these problems.[36]

Jeremy Miles, the Education Minister in Wales, said the issue "is a priority for us here in Wales too". He said that the Welsh Government is looking at what is the best way to respond to this, and this could include an inquiry by the Welsh inspectorate, Estyn.[37]

Other reactions

Further results of Everyone's Invited's growing popularity in March 2021 included a letter being sent to King's College School, London, by a former Head Girl of Wimbledon High School,[38] describing the school as a "hotbed of sexual violence",[39] and walkouts at Highgate School in retalliation to a dossier published by The Times which included over 220 testimonies of sexual assault at the school.[40][41] The Times also published an open letter from a former Dulwich College pupil, tagging the school as a "breeding ground for sexual predators".[42][43]

People

Team and roles adapted from official website.[44]

References

  1. ^ Murray, Jessica (20 March 2021). "Government still has no strategy for tackling sexism in schools, say teachers". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  2. ^ Weinstock, Tish (9 March 2021). ""It's A Dream Come True": Meadow Walker On Opening For Givenchy At Paris Fashion Week". British Vogue. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b "About". Everyone's Invited. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carr-Gomm, Lily (28 October 2020). "everyone's invited : An Interview With Soma Sara". Last Bus Magazine. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  5. ^ Good, Georgia (8 September 2020). "Interview: Everyone's Invited". Savage Online. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Soma Sara: Dismantling the 'pervasive reality' of rape culture that's starting in our schools". ITV News. 15 March 2021. Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Thomson, Alice (13 March 2021). "Soma Sara: 'Teenage sexual abuse didn't merely exist when I was at school, it thrived'". The Times. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Submit Testimony". Everyone's Invited. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Rushton, Katherine; Newell, Claire; Barnes, Sophie; Adams, Callum (12 March 2021). "Leading schools accused of failing to deal with complaints of 'rape culture'". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  10. ^ Ellison, Jo (19 March 2021). "Women will always walk alone". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  11. ^ Topping, Alexandra (27 March 2021). "'Moment of reckoning' for UK schools as 5,800 accounts of abuse published". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Welcome - Everyone's Invited". Untitled. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  13. ^ Yeomans, Emma (15 April 2021). "Everyone's Invited: Universities under pressure as website sexual abuse claims mount". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  14. ^ a b Mackie, Rachel (14 April 2021). "Edinburgh University is among 80 British Universities named on a website exposing rape culture". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Elite UK universities named on Everyone's Invited 'rape culture' website". Sky News. 15 April 2021. Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  16. ^ Turner, Camilla (16 April 2021). "Universities will be ordered to train staff how to respond to sexual misconduct incidents". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 19 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Everyone's Invited names 3,000 schools after assault and rape claims". ITV News. 9 June 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  18. ^ Bickerstaff, Isaac (18 March 2021). "Wimbledon private school is a 'hotbed of sexual violence', open letter to headmaster claims". Tatler. Archived from the original on 19 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  19. ^ Ellery, Ben (18 March 2021). "Wimbledon private school is a hotbed of sexual violence, letter to head claims". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  20. ^ Iqbal, Nosheen (4 April 2021). "Schools abuse site Everyone's Invited seeks ideas for 'positive change'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Archived from the original on 5 April 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  21. ^ Criddle, Cristina (15 March 2021). "Everyone's Invited: Children recount 'rape culture' experiences". BBC News. Archived from the original on 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  22. ^ McDonagh, Melanie (16 March 2021). "Lessons of a sex harassment web forum for girls". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  23. ^ Everyone's Invited [@everyonesinvited] (14 March 2021). "Our Founder @somasara on @bbcnews today! / Our first live interview with @somasara talking about the work we do at @everyonesinvited to expose rape culture on @bbcnews πŸ’™" – via Instagram.
  24. ^ Everyone's Invited [@everyonesinvited] (14 March 2021). "SKY NEWS / Exposing rape culture on @skynews yesterday" – via Instagram.
  25. ^ Ellery, Ben; Amos, Katy; Woolcock, Nicola (20 March 2021). "Former pupils compile dossier of 'rape culture' at Westminster School". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  26. ^ Turner, Camilla; Rowan, Claudia (19 March 2021). "Private schools say anonymous reports of sexual abuse put them in 'difficult' position". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  27. ^ "Everyone's Invited: Met investigates school abuse claims made on website". BBC News. 26 March 2021. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  28. ^ Hope, Christopher; Sawer, Patrick (27 March 2021). "Elite school 'rape culture' scandal: Whitehall launches national investigation". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  29. ^ a b "School abuse claims could be the 'next national scandal'". BBC News. 29 March 2021. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  30. ^ a b "MP calls for inquiry into 'rape culture' at independent schools". The Independent. 29 March 2021. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  31. ^ "Call for probe into claims of 'rape culture' at independent schools". ITV News. 29 March 2021. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  32. ^ Davis, Barney (29 March 2021). "Schools may cover up sex offences to protect reputations - top officer". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  33. ^ "Review launched into sexual abuse in schools". Evening Standard. 31 March 2021. Archived from the original on 1 April 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  34. ^ "Girls asked for nudes by up to 11 boys a night, Ofsted finds". BBC News. 10 June 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  35. ^ "Everyone's Invited: Schools abuse helpline and review launched". BBC News. 31 March 2021. Archived from the original on 1 April 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  36. ^ "Review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  37. ^ "Harassment: More than 90 schools in Wales named on abuse site". BBC News. 10 June 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  38. ^ Bannerman, Lucy (15 April 2021). "Nudes, porn, abuse – the toxic culture in UK classrooms". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  39. ^ Carpani, Jessica (17 March 2021). "Β£20,000-a-year King's College School in Wimbledon accused of being a 'hotbed of sexual violence'". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  40. ^ "Highgate School pupils hold walkout after claims of 'rape culture'". BBC News. 25 March 2021. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  41. ^ Ellery, Ben (26 March 2021). "Highgate School pupils walk out in 'rape culture' protest". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  42. ^ Griffiths, Sian; Barry, Eloise; Stanley, Isabelle. "Dulwich College turns boys into sexual abusers, former pupil claims". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  43. ^ Hill, Amelia (26 March 2021). "Dulwich College protest over 'rape culture' cancelled". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  44. ^ "Our Team". Everyone's Invited. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.

External links

Other Languages

Copyright