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Student writes powerful open letter to sexual attacker who smashed her head off pavement and tore her bra in half

Ione Wells launched the victims' campaign #NotGuilty

By Kashmira Gander

A young woman has written a powerful open letter to a teenage boy who violently assaulted her as she tried to walk home in north London.

Ione Wells, a 20-year-old Oxford University Student, has given up the lifelong anonymity that all victims of sexual assault are entitled to, in order to launch the #NotGuilty campaign.

The student hopes the campaign will raise awareness that victims are never to blame for such attacks.

In the letter published in the Oxford University’s Cherwell student newspaper, Ms Wells describes how the youth followed her as she left Chalk Farm tube station at around 1am on 11 April, before he dragged her to the ground by the hair and brutally smashed her head against the pavement.

During the callous attack, the teenager grabbed her breast so forcefully that he tore her bra in half. He fled the scene after her screams for help saw residents come out onto the street, and call the police.

She said he then followed another woman leaving the same tube station twenty minutes later, before he was arrested.

A 17-year-old has pleaded guilty to sexual assault in connection with the incident in court, and will appear at Highbury Magistrates Court on 6 May for a sentencing hearing, the Metropolitan Police have said.

Ms Wells asks him in the letter: "When you dragged me by my hair, and when you smashed my head against the pavement and told me to stop screaming for help… – did you ever think of the people in your life?"

"I don't know who the people in your life are. I don't know anything about you. But I do know this: you did not just attack me that night. I am a daughter, I am a friend, I am a girlfriend, I am a pupil, I am a cousin, I am a niece, I am a neighbour, I am the employee who served everyone down the road coffee in the cafe under the railway. All the people who form those relations to me make up my community, and you assaulted every single one of them."

She goes on to pledge to “never cease to fight” for the truth that “there are infinitely more good people in the world than bad."

"This letter is not really for you at all, but for all the victims of attempted or perpetrated serious sexual assault and every member of their communities," she writes.

Ms Wells declares she will not be deterred from "walking back home after dark," getting the last tube home, or walking down a street alone "because we will not ingrain or submit to the idea that we are putting ourselves in danger in doing so."

"We will continue to come together, like an army, when any member of our community is threatened, and this is a fight you will not win," she says.

The Cherwell newspaper is now urging others to contribute similar pieces and share their experiences "in order to establish a strong force of community overriding misdirected victim characterisation".

Ms Well student has tweeted to thank those who have supported her actions.

She said: "Wow - what a wonderful community. YOU have all proved my points about community in your support. Thank you! Let's do this! #notguilty".

Source: Independent

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