Oxford University Student Ione Wells Writes An Open Letter To The Man Who Sexually Assaulted Her And Launches #NotGuilty Campaign To Inspire Others
An open letter from Oxford University student Ione Wells to the man who sexually assaulted her has inspired others to come forward and share their stories, The Guardian reports. Rebecca Watson, co-editor of the lifestyle section of The Cherwell, the Oxford University student newspaper that published Wells' letter, told The Guardian that at least three others have volunteered to write about their experiences.
Watson and Wells have launched a campaign inviting students to write their own stories and hope to counteract the trend of victim guilt and blaming. Watson explained "we’re both very strong believers in writing being cathartic so after a horrible event it’s something that feels very natural to do to make sense of it.” They have also started an online campaign with the hashtag #notguilty to emphasize that sexual assault is never the fault of the victim.
Wells' own letter focused on the attack as a violation of the community as a whole, she writes:
"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 café under the railway. All the people who form those relations to me make up my community, and you assaulted every single one of them."
While describing the attack, which happened on her way home from Camden tube station in North London, in graphic detail, Wells stresses that the her behavior and behavior of community will not be dictated by the attack:
"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 full letter is available to read in The Cherwell. She has received a huge amount of support and praise through the #notguilty campaign, impressing and inspiring people with her frank, unapologetic and brave response to the event. She told the BBC "I'm very pleased that something incredibly upsetting and incredibly hurtful has been able to transform into something which I feel really, really positive about"