Sexual assault and rape continue to occur at striking rates amongst University of Cambridge students, an exclusive Varsity survey has revealed. According to the survey, which was conducted online over a two-week period, 16 per cent of respondents admitted to being victims of sexual assault and/or rape. The figure seems to be in line with national statistics relating to sexual assault amongst university and college students. A recent survey conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) showed that 14 per cent of female students were sexually assaulted during their time at university or college. The survey responses paint a remarkable picture of student attitudes and experiences regarding sexual assault. Most notably, Varsity found that sexual assault among students continues to remain vastly under-reported: only 1 in 6 respondents who admitted to being assaulted reported the incident to authorities
Reading back on this interview I did for Cambridge University’s Varsity, I get the impression I did not like this man much…or that he gave me a very hard time trying to interview him. Still, a fascinating figure.
Talking to Peter Tatchell is like trying to get blood from a stone, which is surprising considering he has so much to say. Like all successful campaigners, Tatchell has an agenda and a ruthless knack for shaping his media coverage, something that he does not fail to implement in this particular instance in the plush environs of one of the Union’s reception rooms. Born in Australia in 1952, Tatchell escaped conscription to the Vietnam War in 1971, coming to England on the eve of the Gay Liberation Front movement in which he became a prominent member. Finishing his education in London, Tatchell became a freelance journalist focusing on foreign news, before 22 years of involvement in Labour politics during which he was defeated as the Labour candidate in the 1983 Bermondsey election.
Olivia Crellin interrogates Annie Machon on her life after MI5.
Annie Machon, former MI5 agent, is the image of glamour and guts. Her blonde hair, of the bombshell variety, frames a face that, far from being that of the reserved and stealthy spook, exudes energy, enthusiasm, and openness. Unlike her former partner, the whistleblower David Shayler, Machon seems to have emerged relatively unscathed from the years immediately following the couple’s attempts to reveal serious MI5 blunders in 1996.
Now working as a self-professed “author, media pundit, journalist, campaigner and prominent public speaker”, she has made a “new way of life” out of selling herself, her past, and her story. And she’s doing a good job.
Strangely this term, as I dutifully participate in the various and very important seminars, lectures, library sessions necessary to the not-unpleasant-finalities of final year, I have started to notice many many more familiar unfamiliar faces flitting around the Sidgwick Site than I had previously thought existed. Of course, one is invariably unobservant. English students are often recluses, I tell myself, and with heads in books the only thing one really notices with any interest in the Faculty is a particularly avant-garde hair-do.
But, no, there is something happening…there is a new bunch of beaming students that I have never seen before. It’s a mystery but one that is revealed in a lightening bolt revelation one sleepy 9am. The new bunch of beaming students are not what is grabbing my eye, it is the bright blue hoodies catapulting their wearers to the front of my early morning still-asleep attention. In matching turquoise outfits complete with a term calendar of events on their backs, a human sandwich board of doctrinal goodness, I have discovered previously camouflaged members of Cambridge’s Christian Unions.
While at Cambridge I had the chance to interview the Conservative peer, Lord Howe for Varsity. We discussed to discuss recession, restraint and real people in politics.
For many students who were merely a twinkle in their parents’ eye at the time, the Thatcherite era is little more than an echo of the current ‘age of austerity’ under a Conservative leadership. For Lord Geoffrey Howe, former Deputy Prime Minister, Conservative Chancellor and Foreign Secretary during Margaret Thatcher’s government and an alumnus of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, the comparisons are slightly more considered.