The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

19-year-old sexually assaulted after Pangaea

A woman has been sexually assaulted after leaving the Rumble in the Jungle Pangaea event by a man who was posing as a taxi driver across from the Student’s Union building.

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Greater Manchester Police have issued a press release calling for witnesses after a 19-year-old girl was sexually assaulted after leaving the Students’ Union’s Pangaea event.

The girl, believed to be a Manchester student, left Pangaea in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 21st September to find a taxi. She approached a car outside The Holy Name Church on Oxford Road across from the Student’s Union building.

After the man claimed to be a taxi driver, she entered the car and was driven to an unknown location where he sexually assaulted her. The girl was then dropped off in the Fallowfield area.

The car has been described as a dark coloured saloon type vehicle driven by a man who is described as being mixed race, aged in his 30s, thin with short shaved hair and wearing sunglasses.

In a Greater Manchester Police press release Detective Constable Elizabeth Howe said, “this was understandably very distressing for this young woman and she is being fully supported by specially trained officers.

“…We would also like to remind the public to use licensed taxi companies by either pre-booking or going to a designated taxi rank. Stay together on a night out, and never get into an unknown car without checking it is a licensed taxi first. If unsure, go to a taxi rank particularly if you are on your own”.

Women’s Officer Jess Lishak has also released a statement on the incident in which she too has commented on the safety in using licensed taxis such as those involved in the Safe Taxi Scheme run by the Students’ Union.

However unlike GMP, Lishak further stressed the need to also tackle such issues through educating men to not sexually assault women, as opposed to only warning women to consider the danger of such incidents occurring.

“The fact that our streets are still not safe for women to walk down free from being targeted, sexually harassed and assaulted, and that this story, whilst being horrific and very saddening, is not shocking, is absolutely disgusting.

“Our society often teaches women to consider the possibility of being harassed, assaulted and raped when travelling, particularly at night and particularly alone, before it teaches men to not harass, assault and rape women and that is utterly wrong.

“It is vital that we work to make our society safe for women to act however and wherever they please, whether reclaiming spaces by tackling harassment and assault on our campus, on the buses, in our bars and clubs, in taxis or by marching to reclaim the streets of Manchester.”

However in light of the news of the sexual assault after Pangaea, the Student’s Union will also be releasing a statement calling for victims of drink spiking to come forward and report their stories after a series of complaints have already been made about drink spiking at the event.

So far there have been five reports of drink spiking at the Student Union’s “Rumble in the Jungle” Pangaea event, however only one official report has been made through the Student Union.

In speaking to The Mancunion Lishak has made a plea for any further students who believe to have been victims of drink spiking to come forward and make an official complaint so that the matter can be investigated seriously through questioning witnesses
and checking CCTV surveillance of the night.

“Putting drugs or unrequested alcohol in someone else’s drink constitutes drink spiking and if someone is found to be spiking drinks at the Students’ Union, we will report them to the police and bar them from the SU.

“Unfortunately, while it is not often reported or discussed, drink spiking is not a rare occurrence and is indicative of a society that glorifies manipulating and taking advantage of people in perceived vulnerable situations.”

An online scheme is currently being worked on for reporting incidents of harassment, bullying and discrimination which Lishak has stated could also be used in instances of reporting drink spiking. Further posters will soon be revealed around the SU building specifically warning drink spikers, rather than putting the onus on potential victims.

Greater Manchester Police are now appealing for information and witnesses regarding the sexual assault of the 19 year old student.

Anyone with information on the assault should call the police on 0161 856 4146 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Anyone who believes to have been a victim of drink spiking at Pangaea or knows any information in regards to the issue is encouraged to email Womens Officer Jess Lishak at jess.lishak@manchester.ac.uk.