Collectively, we are the survivors the ‘rape culture’ perpetuated at KEGS, including experiences such as misogyny, sexism, harassment, abuse, assault, and rape.
What is ‘rape culture’?
“Rape culture is comprised of the beliefs and social attitudes about gender and sex that are reinforced by experience of gender inequalities and oppression, including misogyny, sexism, harassment, abuse, assault, and rape. Ultimately this creates an environment which serves to normalise and trivialise sexual violence. It also teaches victims to internalise violating acts as something that could have been prevented and teaches them self-guilt. Rape culture and gender-based violence are pervasive and endemic issues. We would also argue that, from our own experiences and from the experience of peers outside this collective, this culture thrives in elite boys’ schools.” – see open letter written by Kezia Mbonye (KEGS Alumna), with contributions from Imogen Greenwood (KEGS Alumna).
KEGS Survivors is an online platform created by Imogen Greenwood and contributed to by Kezia Mbonye, which affirms, uplifts and acknowledges the voices of survivors of the rape culture perpetuated at King Edward VI Grammar School. This is a safe space for all survivors, regardless of gender, race or sexuality.
Further, we aim to raise awareness surrounding the rape culture that exists within both schools and in wider society – something which leads significantly to gender-based violence (GBV). This kind of violence is that which is directed against a person as a result of that person’s gender identity/ sexual orientation, or violence that affects persons of a particular gender identity/ sexual orientation disproportionately.
As such, all individuals with negative experiences pertaining to misogyny, sexism, harassment, abuse, assault, rape, “lad culture” and homophobia at KEGS are strongly encouraged to submit to us to have their stories told, if that is what feels right to their unique circumstance.
It is important to recognise the complexities that factors such as gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity will add to incidents of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence. From this, everyone’s experiences relating to these issues will be different; though, each remains equally valid.
Ultimately, the aim of this campaign is for conversations about rape culture and sexual violence and abuses to be destigmatised and to command institutions, such as schools, to uphold their role in safeguarding people under their care from these endemic issues.
The stories you have to share are never “too much” and it’s always more than okay to reach out and seek help (we also have an additional support page for victim-centred charities).
We, at KEGS Survivors, are right here for you.
Faces of The Campaign/ Behind The Campaign
Hi, I’m Kezia and I am a student at Durham University studying Psychology. I’m passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion from an intersectional feminist lens, a lot of which is reflected in my job, my work at uni, and this campaign. My role within KEGS survivors began following the wake of the national movement – raising awareness of gender-based violence. My own experiences of rape culture, sexism and harassment meant that this issue was deeply personal and I finally felt empowered to speak up. I wrote an open letter to KEGS with the intention to collect testimonies from people to help shape and accurately reflect the collective experiences of all survivors of rape culture and its various manifestations within the school and wider community. After approaching Imogen for support, together we founded KEGS Survivors. Imogen crafted this website, a platform where we publish testimonies anonymously in a safe and protected space, where people’s voices could be heard and affirmed. We have received a vast amount of support so far and some media attention and we are both in ongoing conversation with KEGS on how we can all work to facilitate real change.
Hi, I’m Imo and I’m a Languages, Cultures & Politics student, studying at the University of Leeds. My experiences relating to rape culture began quite early on in my formative teenage years. Yet, at the time, this was something that neither me nor my peers, concerning their own experiences, were consciously aware of. It was only last year in the summer of 2020 that I began openly speaking out about my personal experiences of abuse through my personal blog: www.outspokengenz.com. It was through this that I was first able to experience how empowering it is for a survivor of misogyny, harassment and abuse to not only reclaim their narrative, but also to be validated in their experiences by so many kind strangers, acquaintances and friends online. Following the tragic death of Sarah Everard and contact from Kezia regarding her Open Letter addressed to KEGS, I drew on my own positive experiences regarding sharing my story of abuse and founded the KEGS Survivors website. Now, I am committed to working collaboratively with KEGS, alongside Kezia, to introduce new content to the school curriculum which aims to bring about real, meaningful change regarding these issues.