A rape survivor recreated her attack to show how easily it can happen

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A rape survivor recreated her attack to show how easily it can happen

She invited people to Oxford uni accommodation to watch it

Alice Irving, an Oxford University law lecturer was raped while living in the university accommodation. Now, she has recreated her own experience of rape by inviting people to view a staged enactment of the immediate aftermath of her assault.

Her performance took place at student accommodation at Oxford University in a bedroom, just as her rape had done. Those who attended saw Irving in a bed, held in the arms of a male actor. Evocatively, this was the position she was in when she woke up the morning after. She lay in the bed for 30 minutes, viewed by 20 students who saw her rape scene take place.

Alice advocates and campaigns for consent education as well as facilitating workshops on consent. As a rape survivor, she has voiced her concern at the common misconceptions and lack of understanding surrounding the topic of consent. As an expert on this extremely important topic, she recently changed tack and took an altogether more radical and challenging approach to the wealth of misinformation encapsulating the general understanding sexual violence.

She wrote about feeling all the emotional turbulence that she experienced in the immediate aftermath all over again. She said: “As I recalled my rape and experienced being viewed by others in a moment of such vulnerability, I cried and shook. I felt the shame that is so common among the victims of sexual offences; the acute fear that those I was sharing this experience with would dismiss my experience as many had done so before.”

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By challenging the general perception of what it means to have an experience of sexual violence, Irving was showing that rape at university is not typically the Brock Turner kind of sexual violence “behind a dumpster among dirt and pine needles” but in a more benign setting “in his own bed without inflicting physical injury.”

The familiarity and normality of the setting that Irving used for her rape scene “was meant to shock, and it did.” This is because there is no such thing as a “bad one night stand” or “wanting it” despite being incapacitated by alcohol.

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