Our thanks to Jim for alerting us to a piece in today’s Sunday Times. He writes:
The Feminist Times ran an article today about the boys at Dulwich College, an all boys private school in South London that prizes excellence and achievement.
Miss Billie Errington, the 23-year-old feminist in the story and former student of JAGS, a neighbouring all girls school in South London, makes the extraordinary and highly damaging claim that “We all knew the boys at Dulwich had a long history of being violent sexual abusers.”
Having first hand experience of Dulwich College and the hard working, high achieving boys that attend it, there is zero chance Miss Billie Errington’s comments are true.
If Miss Bill Errington cannot back up her extraordinary and highly damaging claim with hard evidence, then she, along with The Times, should be sued for defamation and making malicious falsehoods by the parents and the school.
In the meantime, the boys at Dulwich should use Miss Errington’s false accusation as an important lesson in their education and take the actions set out in 15 Actions for Men to Survive Feminism.
The article in The Sunday Times:
An open letter lists more than 100 cases of assault and harassment allegedly carried out against girls by ‘predators’ at the top private school
Dulwich College is today accused of being a “breeding ground for sexual predators” in an open letter organised by a former schoolboy that contains more than 100 anonymous accounts of assault, harassment and sharing intimate photos online.
The letter, written by Samuel Schulenburg, 19, a former pupil at the south London private school, said “experiences of assault, revenge pornography and slut shaming were exacerbated by … young men who … laughed at stories of sexual violence”.
His letter includes about 100 anonymous testimonies written by girls who went to neighbouring schools, such as James Allen’s Girls’ School (Jags). One claims there was “an established rape culture” at the school.
In a statement issued yesterday, Dr Joe Spence, master at Dulwich, said the school “condemned unreservedly” the “alleged social and sexual misconduct” by current and former students described in the open letter. He said the alleged behaviour was “distressing and entirely unacceptable”.
He added that Dulwich wanted to help boys with lessons on issues such as consent, pornography and all forms of casual and overt sexism.
Schulenburg — who set up the LGBTQ Society while he was at Dulwich and is now a student at Oxford University — said the issue was a long-running problem at the school.
“We had students in Year 7 [aged 11-12] writing stories about things that happened to them that were frighteningly recent, and then equally we had people in their thirties writing about their experiences,” he said.
Dulwich, whose alumni include PG Wodehouse, Raymond Chandler, Ernest Shackleton and Nigel Farage, and which charges around £21,250 a year, is the latest in a growing number of private schools to be engulfed in claims of an epidemic of sexual misconduct. Other names include Latymer Upper, Westminster, King’s College Wimbledon and St Paul’s Boys.
Billie Errington, 23, a TV script editor, said she set up a Facebook page for a feminist society when she was at Jags which was “invaded and trolled” by Dulwich College boys. “We all knew the boys at Dulwich had a long history of being violent sexual abusers,” she said. “We knew boys were non-consensually sharing images, that girls were being filmed having sex and did not know they were being filmed and those films were being sent round the school.”
A former head girl at Jags said she had reported the way in which Dulwich boys were using a polling app called Waggle It to rate the sexual attractiveness of girls at her school, and what sex acts they would like to perform on them. In one poll, two-thirds of the boys said they would rather have cancer than be a feminist. [J4MB emphasis. Hopefully this sentence, at least, is true.]
She said the atmosphere made girls feel insecure. “I am a young adult now, and I wish I could go back and tell my 15, 16, 17-year-old peers that we were worth so much more,” she said.
Jags said it “remains committed to supporting all students and staff in challenging unacceptable behaviour. Safeguarding our pupils is our priority and we take seriously and act upon any allegations within our community”. The school said it did not know about the use of the polling app.
This weekend a government spokesman warned that “any abuse towards a child, whatever form it takes, is unacceptable. Schools should be a place where all children feel safe and are protected from harm.”
He said that schools that had failed to keep girls safe could be referred to IICSA (the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse). A source close to Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said that Ofsted inspectors could also be sent in to investigate the safeguarding culture of the private schools “if these concerns persist and are not properly looked at”.
The allegations started to emerge on an Instagram page called Everyone’s Invited after the murder of Sarah Everard. More than 5,000 anonymous testimonies have been posted on it.
Soma Sara, 22, a former boarder at the girls’ boarding school Wycombe Abbey, who set up the page, said that a taskforce is being created to tackle “sexual violence and rape culture”. It will include “head teachers and senior staff from a number of schools across the UK — state and independent, mainly secondary but also primary. The group will collaborate with children’s services and with the police and will work with child and adolescent psychologists,” she said.
Priorities for the group include teaching children about sexual consent; giving pupils the confidence to be “active bystanders” willing to call out misconduct; and encouraging schools to report criminal behaviour.
Sara said: “I could never have imagined this project could have been so successful in exposing rape culture so quickly. I am doing everything I can to change things in schools for the next generation.”
Maria Miller, the former chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, which carried out a report into sexual violence in schools five years ago, said: “Peer-on-peer abuse cannot be written off as banter.”
She said the Charity Commission should investigate the private schools named to see whether they had breached charities law by failing to tackle sexism and uphold equal opportunities. Private schools are classed as charities, which gives them significant tax advantages.
St Paul’s, King’s College School, Latymer Upper, Westminster and Dulwich have all condemned the behaviour described in the online testimonies. All said they would refer allegations to the authorities, which in some cases could include the police. Some of the schools have brought in independent experts to review policies and values and offered past and present pupils counselling.
Other schools named in some of the online testimonies, including some of the girls schools, have written to parents, pupils and alumnae expressing their concern and offering advice and support.
In a statement yesterday, Joseph Spence, master of Dulwich College, said the school “condemned unreservedly” the “alleged social and sexual misconduct” by students described in the open letter.
Spence said the school would address named allegations and refer them to “external authorities where appropriate”. It has invited Samuel Schulenburg to work with the school, and wants to draw up a “charter relating to the treatment of women to ensure that things are better in the future”.
St Paul’s Boys £25,908 a year
Alerted the local authority’s children’s services of anonymous allegations, and will inform police if it is given accused pupils’ names.
King’s College, Wimbledon £22,335
“Has received serious disclosures … which have been referred to our statutory partners in line with safeguarding procedures.” It is appointing a panel of experts “to conduct a forensic review of the school’s policies and values”.
Latymer Upper £20,835
Will refer cases to external agencies where appropriate. Intends to commission an independent review of safeguarding practices.
Launched consultation. Headmaster said: “Behaviours like these have absolutely no place at our school … We are determined to help pupils past and present who are affected.”
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