London Student, 7 October 2013
“I saw him again a few weeks ago at a club. I was very uncomfortable, and Stephen acted like everything was normal. Clearly he doesn’t know that what he did was wrong. That’s how normalised it is. He thought it was harmless flirting.”
For Melissa (names have been changed), her last encounter with Stephen, on New Year’s Eve, was anything but harmless. Stephen, a fellow student at King’s and friend of her friends, singled her out after she became visibly drunk at a house party in Camden. His advances started casually – “he’s touchy-feely with a lot of people,” Melissa’s friend said – but they made Melissa uncomfortable and escalated as she became drunker. He slipped his arm around her shoulder, stroked her arm, and told her repeatedly how good-looking she was. At first Melissa protested, telling him she had a boyfriend and at one point hiding in the bathroom to avoid him, but Stephen was persistent. “You should be used to this, a pretty girl like you,” he said. Later he trailed her to the couch and pushed her head into his lap. He didn’t unzip his trousers, but it was still “overtly sexual” and terrified Melissa, who was by that point too inebriated to move.