'My gang rape fear': Stella Creasy tells of sex harassment hell at Cambridge

12 May 2022, 15:50 | Updated: 12 May 2022, 16:15

By Seán Hickey

A Labour MP has told of her harrowing experience of sexual harassment, and threats of gang rape, whilst at Cambridge University.

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Stella Creasy has opened up about her experience of sexual harassment and gang rape threats whilst she was a student at Cambridge University.

"I was targeted by a man I had been in a casual relationship with", she told Shelagh Fogarty, whose friend, she says "became aggrieved I wasn't going to switch my affections."

"They began changing my name where it would say 'easy' on all the public boards", Ms Creasy revealed as she detailed the harrowing experience for LBC.

"I was terrified."

The MP for Walthamstow said in an interview that the harassment started during her first year at Magdalene College and continued between 1996 and 1998, which included abusive posters being displayed during her campaign to be president of her college's student council.

"They put up posters about my sex life and said that's why people shouldn't vote for me", she said.

The Labour MP explained that the abuse "went on for about 18 months" and was so grave that she considered dropping out of Uni.

"If I left my door open for a second to go to the bathroom or use the kitchen I'd come back and find people had been spitting in my door or throwing rubbish in my door, I was catcalled every time I walked out or walked in to the bar."

Ms Creasy said that she was shocked to find that not much has changed in how colleges deal with cases of harassment.

"I speak to young women now and their experiences are worryingly similar, in fact today I've been contacted by students in Cambridge saying this is still a problem."

She went on to address the sleaze scandals embroiling Parliament at the moment, suggesting that the issue is "engrained".

"People don't arrive in Westminster and then begin to behave in these ways, actually that culture and privilege and entitlement that you think you have a right to entertain yourself with this kind of cruelty, this kind of discrimination, this kind of harassment, this kind of sexual abuse is something that is engrained."

Ms Creasy urged people to use their platforms to stamp out all kinds of harassment.

"It isn't banter, it isn't funny, it's terrifying."

"It is not enough to say 'it's terrible, these stories we've heard', it's not even enough to call it out, be someone [who uses their] platform to give solidarity to those people experiencing it."

Anjum Nahar is Postgraduate President at Cambridge Students' Union. She told LBC that "the student reaction to the breaking of Stella Creasy's story has been both sadness and anger because some of it will resonate with current students, even though the abuse that Stella faced happened more than 20 years ago.

She went on: "This is definitely going to have a reputational impact on Cambridge university and Magdalene College. Students want the university and the colleges to do so much more when it comes to tackling sexual harassment and abuse so some things have improved since Stella's time at the university, so, now we've got a sexual harassment and abuse advisor who can support people through their experiences.

"But people are still waiting way too long after they've reported an incident in order to hear outcomes and a decision or they're having to explain themselves and what they've been through multiple times to people in the college or to people in the university so this really needs to be sorted out, and as the students union, we'd like to see this elevated as a priority for the university."

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