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The Warwick University Rape Chat Scandal

TVMucho Show of the week

Mon, August 12th, 2019

Wednesday 10.35pm – 11.15pm, BBC1

This documentary has been available on iplayer for some time after it appeared on BBC Three, now, rightly, it is being aired on mainstream television. The way in which one of the UK’s top Universities has covered up and mishandled serious allegations against women is truly shocking. In 2018, a group of male students were found to have made a series of threats of rape in a Facebook group chat against fellow female Warwick University students.

One woman involved in the scandal reveals how she found hundreds of threats of rape in the chat, targeted against her, her close friends and many other women in the University. She had been sitting in a friends flat and noticed a series of messages pop up on his laptop, when she questioned him he laughed it off and told her she should see the ‘lads chat’. She did just that and was disgusted to find over a year and a halfs worth of vile, degrading and sick messages, she even discovered the ‘lads’ involved had changed their names in the chat to that of serial murderers and serial rapists. Searching her own name she found graphically detailed suggestions of what they imagined doing to her. She even found a suggestion against a close friend of kidnap. After taking screenshots, her male friend made many excuses but the shocked woman reveals that even he started to recognise this was far more serious.

Raising the alarm, a formal complaint was made to the University and an investigation begun. But it was as early as here that serious doubt about Warwick’s ability to deal with issue arose – the University appointed its own Media Officer to deal with the investigation, yes, they had appointed a man whose sole responsibility was to uphold the reputation of the organisation to investigate what could be it’s worst ever PR nightmare. Victims reveal how they found this experience, explaining they were made to feel like the perpetrators and were formally interviewed. A month after the interviews, five men involved were banned from Warwick University, two banned for 10 years, two banned for 1 year and 1 banned for life. The two men banned for 10 years appealed and incredibly their bans reduced. The students revolted and various marches and social media campaigns begun.

Eventually, it was declared the two men would not return, but there is no inclination as to who made that decision. The University now finds itself tarnished and this excellent documentary explores the whole story, the poor decisions by senior management, the resolve of the victims and how academic institutions have distanced themselves from Warwick University.

 

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