A man is to stand trial for sexual assaulting and punching an Oxford student, whose “no-makeup selfie” has raised almost £17,000 for victims of sexual abuse.
Abdulrahman Abdelsalam, of Watling Avenue in Edgware, Greater London has been charged with sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the incident, which took place in March. The 19 year-old has been released on bail and will appear before the Oxford Magistrates court on Friday, October 10.
After the incident, Jeanne Marie Ryan decided to “channel my rage into something productive” and posted a “no makeup selfie” which has since raised almost £17,000 for the Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre. The image, posted on her Facebook, showed her injuries from the incident, including severe bruising, a lacerated chin and a broken nose, accompanied by “I am sorry cancer research, but my #nomakeupselfie is for a different cause.”
The incident took place at the Plush Lounge, on Park End street in Oxford, after confronting a man who started groping her on the dance floor. He told her to “smile”, and when she responded he punched her in the face, knocking her to the floor. When she managed to stand back up, he hit her a further six times. “He seemed really angry that he hadn’t knocked me out straightaway,” Jeanne has stated. “I was bleeding profusely and as he walked off, I was yelling at someone to stop him from getting away but he just walked out of the club. Ironically, Jeanne had chosen the Plush Lounge “because it’s an LGBT club and we just wanted to dance with no hassle. Everyone who goes there thinks of it as a safe space – it’s great for dancing and not being bothered by guys.”
Ms Ryan has said that “I’ve had hundreds of messages from women saying they’ve experienced the same thing – girls who’ve been punched, shoved or pushed down stairs for not kissing a guy back or telling him not to grope her. I wanted to speak out because there’s so much silence around this kind of thing.”
Stuart Hayles, manager of the Plush Lounge, said his team was “devastated” but that the assault that occurred as “extremely rare”. He added: “We commend her positive action in showing her injuries and using what was a revolting and unprovoked attack to try and help others.” However, Plush refused to say further to Cherwell as “the defendant has not yet been convicted, and that the investigation and trial of this case is still ongoing. As such, it is our policy not to comment until the adjudication is complete.”
Natalie Brook, from OSARCC, said the centre was “overwhelmed” by the response and thanked Miss Ryan for “bravely sharing her experience”.She added: “We would like to see all clubs and pubs in Oxford adopting a clear zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment.”
The assault is one in a spate of incidents that have occurred on the Oxford clubbing scene recently, including the sexual assault of an eighteen and nineteen year old during the period of Brooke’s Freshers’ Week.