‘I was sexually assaulted in halls, and now MMU is letting him return to campus next year’

‘His presence still lingers on in my flat and it would be like a never-ending nightmare’


TW: Rape and sexual assault

A student at Manchester Metropolitan University, who claims she was the victim of a sexual assault has condemned the university after being told the man she accuses will be allowed to return to campus next year.

Speaking to The Manchester Tab, the MMU student says she’s living in “trauma and fear” after the incident, which she believes the university hasn’t supported her through.

Lucy* told The Manchester Tab she was sexually assaulted by a flatmate in her own bedroom in December last year and reported the incident to the university. After an investigation, she says the university escalated the incident to a level two disciplinary panel, which allows for a student to be expelled.

However, on Wednesday Lucy says she was told by the university that he would not be expelled. She was told he would be excluded from campus temporarily and she shouldn’t encounter him for the next year but that he will be allowed to return to campus from September 2022.

She says that his return means she will “again live in fear every day walking in Manchester.

“His presence still lingers on in my flat and it would be like a never-ending nightmare.”

A spokesperson for MMU told The Manchester Tab the uni is “providing her with continued support”, and said there are “clear processes to prevent contact on campus between students” involved in investigations such as these.

When Lucy first reported the incident, she says the uni suggested she move to another flat, instead of asking the flatmate to move. She says she and her flatmates were “living in constant trauma and fear.

“This isn’t the first time MMU has not supported students in cases of sexual abuse.

“The whole situation has really changed me. I am extremely wary of any male that comes into contact with me because I am beyond terrified of what they could do to me. I am scared that this could be happening on campus and we don’t know about it, because reporting leads to things like this.”

Lucy is now appealing the decision to allow the flatmate to return to campus.

She says: “I had high hopes my university would take the right course of action, however, yesterday I was proven otherwise.”

She continues: “I hope one day I don’t have to be strong and resilient. I hope one day I can be soft and at peace. I hope one day men do not get away with their disgusting actions that traumatise women daily.”

A Manchester Metropolitan University spokesman said: “The wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority. We take any allegation of sexual assault against any member of our community very seriously and we recognise the trauma it may cause.

“A dedicated sexual violence liaison officer and our Wellbeing team are providing support to this student.

“As soon as she reported the incident to us, we set up an investigation to understand its circumstances. We understand she has raised concerns about the investigation’s outcome and are committed to providing her with continued support and guidance for any future response.

 “We have clear processes to prevent contact on campus between students who have been involved in investigatory proceedings of this type.”

*Name has been changed for legal reasons

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story you can contact Rape Crisis online for a free confidential chat helpline. You can access MMU mental health services here and Manchester Uni services here.

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• Investigation: Why do just one in 14 students report sexual assault cases to their uni?

• It’s harder than ever to report sexual assault at uni right now

In three years Manchester Uni hasn’t expelled a single student for sexual misconduct