Glasgow University rape survivor urges uni to introduce mandatory consent classes for freshers
Ellie Wilson was attacked by a fellow Glasgow Uni student
On January 1st 2018, Ellie Wilson, then a politics student at the University of Glasgow, was raped in her flat by her close friend Daniel McFarlane, now 23. Daniel was studying medicine at Glasgow University at the time whilst having an “on-off relationship” with Ellie. Ellie waived her right to anonymity for the court case as well as for this article.
Last week Ellie tweeted an audio clip of her rapist admitting to his crime. She believes the covert iPhone recordings were key to his conviction and five year prison sentence.
Ellie and Daniel were in the athletics club at the university together. Although Ellie knew Daniel began to like her, she “didn’t want to be involved or get involved into a relationship”, Ellie told The Glasgow Tab.
Eventually, their on-and-off relationship became “very abusive”, according to Ellie, but the two managed to remain best friends throughout. She told The Glasgow Tab, the first time Daniel sexually assaulted her was while she was unconscious, adding during their relationship he was “physically violent and was very emotionally abusive”.
In July, Daniel was convicted for several crimes, two counts of rape and one count of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, a further rape charge and a common assault were found not proven. Ellie said these charges were not everything that occurred but everything she had enough evidence to prove.
“He raped me when we were together…he raped me on more than one occasion. The first time he raped me we were not together at the time”, Ellie said.
Although Daniel was suspended from Glasgow University, Ellie claims Edinburgh University admitted him whilst knowing about his suspension.
She told Edinburgh Live: “I emailed Edinburgh assuming they didn’t know and they said they’d already been made aware. So they knew but let him in anyway. Daniel was then found guilty and is in jail for five years.”
A spokesperson for Edinburgh University said: “The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and we are always working to ensure the University is a safe place to study and work.
“We remain acutely aware of the wider issue of sexual violence on campus and act swiftly when misconduct is proven to have occurred to implement appropriate precautionary measures that protect our community.”
Rape myths such as people thinking “that you can’t be raped if you’re in a relationship” are “not true”, Ellie stressed.
“Most of the time, rape is usually done by someone that you know…which is really sad, they’re abusing your trust in them”, she added.
Speaking to The Glasgow Tab, she urged the university to help drive change. “The university could have classes in Freshers’ Week where consent and abusive relationships are talked about”, she suggested. “This would raise awareness for people and friends to know what signs to look out for, and for potential perpetrators to know to respect other people”.
For Ellie, the number of sexual assaults at universities can be decreased through “societal change”.
“There needs to be a societal change in the way that we view women and in the way that we view consent.
“I think consent needs to be taught way earlier on. Society needs to have a better understanding of it. I think it’s helpful for young people and particularly women to be taught that they can assert their boundaries.
“We need to teach young girls that it’s alright to say no, it’s alright to tell someone to go away.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by this story contact Refuge on their free 24/7 helpline 0808 2000 247 or contact Rape Crisis online for a free confidential chat helpline.
Glasgow University, in conjunction with Rape Crisis, have trained a group of staff as Sexual Violence and Harassment First Responders. You can either contact a First Responder directly by phone or email, or by submitting the Reporting form. See a list of the First Responders, view their contact details and find out more at: MyGlasgow First Responders.
Glasgow University has been approached for comment.