Annie Teriba issues apology after admitting she had failed to get full consent before having sex with someone at this year’s NUS black students’ conference.
Annie Teriba is a third-year student at Wadham College, Oxford. Photograph: Oxford Union/YouTube
A prominent student activist from Oxford University is resigning from her political posts and campaigns after admitting she failed to obtain full consent before having sex at a conference earlier this year.
Annie Teriba, a third-year student at Wadham college, was the editor of No Heterox** – described as a zine for queer and trans voices – as well as a racial equality officer and member of both the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts committee and the NUS’s black students’ committee, according to the independent Oxford University newspaper Cherwell.
Teriba reportedly made the admission in a statement posted on her Facebook profile, which has since been deleted. She said she began a physical relationship with someone at the NUS black students’ conference in May, but was later told by the other person that the sex had not been consensual.
Teriba wrote: “This statement explains why I will be stepping down from political campaigning from now.
“At this year’s NUS black students’ conference, I had sex with someone. The other party later informed me that the sex was not consensual. I failed to properly establish consent before every act. I apologise sincerely and profoundly for my actions.
“I should have taken sufficient steps to ensure that everything I did was consensual. I should have been more attentive to the person’s body language. In failing to clarify that the person consented to our entire encounter, I have caused serious irreparable harm.”
Teriba also revealed that a similar incident occurred while she was under the influence of alcohol in a club in her first year of university, when she “touched somebody in a sexual manner without their consent”. She highlighted a number of steps she would be taking to show she was committed to transformation, including seeking help for alcohol consumption and from organisations that specifically deal with sexual violence.
But the Women’s Campaign, an autonomous political group within Oxford University Student Union (OUSU), said Teriba’s admission was “rife with apologism”.
In a statement, it added: “Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, especially at universities. Holding those responsible for sexual violence accountable means acknowledging the terrifying fact that violence against women is deeply ingrained in and normalised in our culture: education about the issues, campaigning for the rights of those affected, and continued vigilance about the behaviour we do not condone in our organisation is the only way forward.”
Lucy Delaney, OUSU’s vice-president for women, said: “In a society which silences survivors and which tolerates rape apologism it is essential that liberation spaces do not harbour or protect abusers, otherwise they are no better than the institutions which perpetuate oppression.”
Teriba did not respond to a request for comment.
Her full statement was published by the Oxford University magazine Cherwell:
This statement explains why I will be stepping back from political campaigning from now.
(I owe you a proper explanation, so will go into details here which you may find triggering.)
At this year’s NUS black students’ conference, I had sex with someone. The other party later informed me that the sex was not consensual. I failed to properly establish consent before every act. I apologise sincerely and profoundly for my actions. I should have taken sufficient steps to ensure that everything I did was consensual. I should have been more attentive to the person’s body language. In failing to clarify that the person consented to our entire encounter, I have caused serious irreparable harm.
In a separate incident, in my first year of university, I was alerted to my inappropriate behaviour whilst drunk in a club, where I had touched somebody in a sexual manner without their consent. Therefore this is not an isolated incident. I apologise sincerely and profoundly for my actions.
With these incidents I have rightly lost the trust of those who I organise with and fully intend to work to ensure that I both put my politics into practice in my personal relations and to prove to them that I am committed to transformation. As such, it would be wrong of me to accept platforms and access spaces until I have done so.
In order to ensure the safety of others, I will be taking a number of steps:
i) I breached NUS’s safe spaces policy, so will not be attending future NUS events.
ii) I am resigning from all the political positions I hold – from NCAFC’s National Committee and from the NUS’s black students’ committee, and as editor of the No Heterox** zine and as the people of colour and racial equality officer at Wadham SU, Oxford.
iii) I will be stepping back from prominent campaigning in other forums, including #RhodesMustFall and rs21.
iv) I commit to getting help with how I consume alcohol. It is clear that I lack self-awareness and become sexually entitled when I am drunk. This does not excuse my actions, I am wholly responsible for the damage that I have caused.
v) I commit to educating myself properly about consent by reading zines and other materials which have kindly been made available to me.
vi) I commit to seeking help from perpetrator organisations – for example, I have taken steps to establish contact with RESPECT and will be seeking out organisations who specifically deal with sexual violence.
I am deeply sorry for the hurt I caused.
Yours, Annie Teriba