Anonymous Instagram accounts share hundreds of stories of alleged campus sexual assaults


Angela Lang/CNET

Back to school has kicked off a concerning trend for more than two dozen universities and colleges across the US and the UK. Anonymous accounts on Instagram are sharing hundreds of stories of alleged campus sexual assaults, according to a report Monday from CBS News. These survivor accounts include allegations of rape, harassment, stalking and other forms of abuse.

Many of these anonymous survivor Instagram accounts went live over the summer, according to CBS News, and have gained attention as students headed back to campus or to virtual classes for the fall semester. The administrators of some accounts have also reportedly connected to exchange ideas and organize for change. 

An open letter posted to the survivor account at Case Western Reserve University, CWRU Survivors, called on the university to make reforms, including improvements to the reporting and investigation process after alleged assaults. As of Monday, the account has shared over 500 allegations made by current and former students. 

In a statement to CBS News, a representative for the Case Western Reserve University expressed sympathy for the survivors and said the issue of sexual violence was being examined by a student-led task force that looks at multiple issues on campus. 

One of the administrators of the Voices of Brown account told CBS News she was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and anonymous social media posts that had shared stories of racism at schools.

“The anonymity factor allows more people to freely contribute their stories, which means more stories are ultimately being shared with the public,” she told CBS News. “The sheer number of stories we are all collecting on our accounts is helping our communities understand that this isn’t about a few instances here and there — there’s structural, systemic violence at play and we need to address it together.”

In the US, accounts have reportedly been started for academic institutions including American University, Bard College, UC Berkeley, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, George Washington University, Gettysburg, Northwestern, Rollins, Tulane, the University of Alabama, the University of Texas at Austin, Vassar, Washington University and Wesleyan. 

In the UK, accounts were reportedly created for St. Andrews, Edinburgh University, Robert Gordon University, Stirling University, the University of Aberdeen, Durham, Lincoln and Queens University Belfast.

Instagram didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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