Eton students accussed of sexual assault

// 17 March 2008

This story in The Times has prompted an avalanche of responses (about which more later). The basic story is that four Eton boys have been suspended and are under internal investigation for sexual assault and theft from a girl from near to the school.

Speaking on behalf of the school the following have been said:

There has been a disciplinary matter that is being investigated and a number of boys have been suspended. I do not want to comment on or give further details about this incident as we are in the process of carrying out a full and exhaustive investigation. There is a lot here that needs to be unravelled. It will take at least a week to complete and it is likely that we will not have a development until after the Easter holidays. In the meantime the boys remain suspended.” Anthony Little, Headteacher

pupils have been asked to come forward with any information they have about what happened because the school is desperate to deal with this internally. Apparently the girl was attacked and robbed of her handbag by a group of older pupils who were in South Meadow. There has been talk that she might have been sexually assaulted, although I am not sure if this is true or not. The talk is that one or two of her ribs were broken in the incident, although that might have happened as she tried to prevent them stealing her handbag. The girl had nothing to do with the college and we are not sure why she was in the grounds. The rumours are also quite strong that the boys had been drinking and might also have taken drugs. We know that at least four boys have been suspended from the college and a disciplinary hearing is to be held. A housemaster of one of the suspended boys has appealed to the rest of his boarders to come forward with information because he wants to be able to support his pupil. Unnamed Staff Member

From The Times

What grabbed my attention was the comments. This is a quick overview:

Sophie from London: I think you should all know most allegations are false or have been exaggerated.

Des from Edinburgh: The allegations could be entirely false. It would be wrong to confuse a spot of high jinx on the part of a few young gentlemen with a sexual assault.

Charlotte from London: Girls nowadays unfortunately use the allegation for sexual attacks very lightly and in this situation there is no evidence to suggest the latter actually occurred…

Louise from London: Obviously assault is a traumatic experience for the girl involved …this fairly minor incident…

Freddy from London: None of these allegations have even come close to being proven

Now I am not saying there aren’t voices calling for a proper Police investigation in the comments. But most of them are doing so on the basis of protecting the boys’ reputations. I’m pretty disgusted….

Comments From You

Virago // Posted 17 March 2008 at 3:27 pm

What a surprise, the ruling class defending its own.

This comment I find rather disturbing:

“It would be wrong to confuse a spot of high jinx on the part of a few young gentlemen with a sexual assault.”

‘A spot of high jinx’? If this woman’s ribs were broken during an assault by 4 male students I fail to see how that falls into ‘high jinx’. What next? Rape as ‘horseplay’?

Caitlin // Posted 17 March 2008 at 7:00 pm

Even the way that the staff member approaches it is disbelieving – ‘Apparently…There has been talk that…The rumours…’

And then the blame kicks in, as was inevitable: ‘The girl had nothing to do with the college and we are not sure why she was in the grounds.’


Nothing ever changes. No one ever learns.

sparks // Posted 17 March 2008 at 7:59 pm

“The talk is that one or two of her ribs were broken in the incident, although that might have happened as she tried to prevent them stealing her handbag.”

Oh, so when you are defending your property sometimes your ribs just ‘happen’ to get broken – by the invisible people – I guess.

I mean they didn’t do it on *purpose* It’s just because they wanted her handbag.

jennifer drew // Posted 17 March 2008 at 10:49 pm

The alleged assault of this girl was in fact rape not simply ‘sexual assault’ because if true, the girl was forced to give a boy(s) oral sex which is rape under the sexual offences act. Rather than presuming these ‘poor boys’ are innocent of all charges, The Times once again subtly infers the young woman’s allegations are false. The Times should have just reported the facts, namely a group of older boys were alleged to have attempted to rape a young woman and her handbag was apparently stolen. The case is now being investigated by the police or Eton College authorities. These are the facts – an official complaint has been made and it is being investigated. Why is it always presumed a woman or girl has lied when official complaints are made in respect of allegations of male violence. Yet the media consistently reports allegations a man/men has been attacked and mugged without resorting to subtle attacks upon the complainant’s character or presumed innocence of an alleged male attacker. Ah but of course commonsense informs us all women and girls are innate liars and all cases of rape are false allegations. Silly me – rape or attempted rape only occurs when it is a deranged male stranger or a failed male aslyum seeker who supposedly commits this crime.

Anna // Posted 18 March 2008 at 10:30 am

I don’t even have words to describe how embittered and depressed this sort of reporting makes me. Nothing ever changes.

Ted Morris // Posted 25 March 2008 at 7:42 pm

It sickens me that people are so quick to jump to the conclusion that any of the events reported actually took place. Jennifer Drew, why do you simply presume that the ‘facts’ are set in stone, despite the fact that the only reason you know this incident took place is because of the very newspaper which you accuse of falsehood! Isn’t that a fundamental flaw in every argument presented here? It seems to me that each member of the public sees it fit to take the moral high ground and jump to the side of either party involved, without considering the credibility of the sources, comments and accusations that have been thrown about so loosely. Most of what you read didn’t happen; it quite simply did not take place. However, newspapers make it their duty to parade any slander that “the toffs” attending Eton College are accused of and drive it into the ground. It seems that your approach to the situation colours your perspective, substituting ignorance of the minutae of the events with an overwhelmingly negative and unfounded attitude. No one is calling women “innate liars” as you put it, that’s your allegation in your own post. Please be aware that you live in a law bound democracy, and in the eyes of the law, any party can be considered guilty without any reference to their gender. I am disappointed that people overcomplicate situations which occur outside of the public eye and assume that they themselves witnessed the event, or at least suppose some profound inside knowledge of it, and moreover, feel that it is their “innate” right to jump to conclusions purely out of a militant perspective. I await your response.

Fred Gwatkin // Posted 31 March 2008 at 6:36 pm

I agree entirely with Ted. It would be gratifying to see an objective response to his comment at some stage in the future.

Danny // Posted 31 March 2008 at 11:00 pm

Ted’s post is really impressive. He’s obviously had a very good education.

James // Posted 18 April 2008 at 7:29 pm

I very much doubt that the girl’s ribs were broken- this is simply an example of the media exaggerating the situation in order to sell more copies. I also find the comment of “Virago” particuarly ignorant and prejudiced. In state schools across the country, muggings occur so often that the newspapers do not even report them and to automatically assume that it is a case of “the ruling class defending their own” is prejudiced and stupid.

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