The Warwick 'rape chat' case exposes universities' failings on sexual violence | Nicole Westmarland

A series of mishandled sexual assault cases have shown how university policies aren’t supporting students

The Warwick case is widely referred to as the “rape chat” case. It sounds relatively innocuous on first hearing, but actually refers to a serious case of sexual misconduct including making threats to rape. Many student societies or courses now have large Facebook or WhatsApp chat groups outside of formal university communication systems. The Warwick case involved a chat group with 11 male students, who sent extremely sexually explicit and violent (as well as racist) messages over a long period of time. Messages included references to gang rape and genital mutilation.

Related: Warwick University apologises to women targeted by ‘rape chat’

Related: The question students should ask: how is my university tackling sexual violence?

Nicole Westmarland is head of the department of sociology and director of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse at Durham University

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