Student writes a letter… to man who sexually assaulted her

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Oxford University undergraduate Ione Wells was recently seriously assaulted on her way home, by a stranger. Here she writes an open letter to her attacker and the community who came to her aid

A young woman named Ione Wells has spoken up about how she was allegedly sexually assaulted on a city street by writing an open letter to the person who was responsible.

Ione Wells, 20, is a student of Oxford university. She has spoken out about the attack near her home in Camden, north London, and has launched a #NotGuilty campaign pointing out that sexual assaults are not the victim’s fault.

Waiving her right to anonymity by publishing her article in the university’s Cherwell student newspaper, according to The Times,  she wrote that she was assaulted as she walked home from an underground station in London in the early hours of April 11.

She said to the perpetrator: ‘There are no boundaries to community; there are only exceptions, and you are one of them.’

The letter described in morbid detail he had 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 neighbors and family came out to investigate.

The student has since tweeted how grateful she was for the support she has received from the online campaign, which was launched together with the Cherwell newspaper.

People are encouraged by the Cherwell website to share their painful experiences ‘in order to establish a strong force of community overriding misdirected victim characterization’.

Wow – what a wonderful community. YOU have all proved my points about community in your support. Thank you! Let’s do this! #notguilty

— Ione Wells (@ionewells) April 28, 2015

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Scotland Yard said a 17-year-old would appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on May 6.

Ione’s letter

I cannot address this letter to you, because I do not know your name. I only know that you have just been charged with serious sexual assault and prolonged attack of a violent nature. And I have one question.

When you were caught on CCTV following me through my neighbourhood, when you waited until I was on my own street to approach me, when you clapped your hand around my face until I could not breathe, when you pushed me to my knees until my face bled, when I wrestled with your hand just enough so that I could scream.

When you dragged me by my hair, and when you smashed my head against the pavement and told me to stop screaming, when my neighbour saw you and shouted at you and you looked her in the eye and carried on kicking me.

When you tore my bra in half from the sheer force you grabbed my breast, when you didn’t reach for my belongings because you wanted my body, when you failed to have my body because all my neighbours and family came out, and you saw them … did you ever think of the people in your life?

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… Your community – even if you can’t see it around you every day. It is there. It is everywhere.

You underestimated mine. Or should I say ours? I could say something along the lines of, ‘Imagine if it had been a member of your community,’ but instead let me say this. There are no boundaries to community; there are only exceptions, and you are one of them.


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