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Tony Tonderayi Mazaiwana, aged 38 of Langdale Road, has been jailed following a sexual assault to a Lancaster student.
The married father of three was found guilty at Preston Crown Court following the attack last year, near Milking Stile Lane, Lancaster.
On Saturday, December 10, a 19-year old was sexually assaulted before a member of the public intervened and the offender left the scene.
CCTV showed Mazaiwana walking around Lancaster before he saw the victim and began to follow her.
Det Con Ben Benter, of Lancaster CID, said: “Tony Manzaiwana is clearly a predatory man who followed and then overpowered his victim before subjecting her to a horrific ordeal.”
“I am pleased he has now been brought to justice and he will now be in prison for a significant period of time.”
“The victim in this case has shown a tremendous amount of courage throughout this investigation and subsequent trial and I hope today’s result will allow her to begin to put this ordeal behind her and move forward with her life.”
“If anyone has been the victim of a sexual offence, I would urge them to come forward and report it to us in the knowledge that we take all reports seriously and ensure that victims are treated sensitively and professionally at all times.”
In a personal statement, the woman said she has been stressed about walking home from her lectures since the attack, particularly in the dark.
She said she felt “nervous whenever someone is behind her” and that it affected her ability to revise for exams.
The concern for student victims of sexual assault is on the increase. In March 2017, the government urged for more to be done to tackle sexual assault at universities. This included Conservative MP Maria Miller, who chairs the Commons’ women and equalities committee.
Similarly, a Guardian investigation published on 5 March revealed that sexual harassment to university students was at “epidemic” levels in the UK, especially between staff and students. Within hours of publication senior politicians, student leaders, and equality campaigners have called for an urgent review of how universities handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
The investigation found that 1 student from Lancaster University and 169 students in total from 120 universities have been a victim of harassment by staff from 2011 to present date.
The study, however, revealed that the true scale of the problem is likely to be far greater, as many victims claimed they were dissuaded from making official complaints and either withdrew their allegations or settled for an informal resolution.
Sarah Champion, the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, said: “When people have the courage to come forward, they should be taken seriously and then the evidence should be sought to substantiate their position”.
For any student or staff members at Lancaster University effected by these issues, there are a number of support and advice systems available. These include College Wellbeing Officers, the University Counselling Service, the campus GP and Lancaster University Nightline.
Similarly, the “Raise your Voice” campaign, by Lancaster University Students’ Union, is a bystander intervention project which launched in Welcome Week which specifically works to tackle gender violence. Training is now open for anyone to take part.