Rape survivor feels ignored

2014-10-15 00:00

A YOUNG woman raped at knifepoint in a toilet on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus has lashed out at the university after nearly a month of silence.

In an interview with The Witness, the victim, who wished not to be named, said the university “has done nothing to help”.

“They offered me a psychologist, but I refused because I didn’t want there to be a conflict of interest.”

Chancellors made promises to see her, but had not contacted her “to this day”, she said.

“They act like they are unaware this happened. They did not even send a bunch of flowers,” she added.

She said when she watched footage obtained from the campus CCTV cameras, there “was nothing there; just great chunks missing”.

“I sat there for four hours only a few days after the incident. Most of the cameras weren’t working. We found nothing because there wasn’t anything,” she said. “All I want is justice. The chances of us catching him [the rapist] are slim.”

UKZN executive director corporate relations Lesiba Seshoka said the university has set aside R3,1 million to upgrade cameras on the five campuses, a process that would be completed by the end of the year. Risk Management Services had also increased its patrols to include the building interiors and toilets since the incident.

The victim yesterday reacted angrily to The Witness article outlining rape and violence statistics on the country’s campuses.

The article said UKZN only reported one rape this year and the case had been withdrawn at the complainant’s request.

The victim stated this was not the same incident in which she was involved. She accused the university of leaving her case out of the statistics presented to the Department of Education and “falsifying their statement to cover it up”.

She stressed she has not withdrawn her case.

According to UKZN, the department’s statistics were for between January 1, 2014 and August 1, 2014.

“This incident fell outside of the time frame. The statistics were compiled by the proctor in the office of the director of legal services. The proctor is the prosecutor in student disciplinary matters. The statistics provided are only of matters where investigations were completed,” Seshoka said.

In addition, Seshoka said the victim opted not to use the university’s counselling services offered her.

“The university has repeatedly offered the survivor counselling and been in touch with her on a regular basis both by e-mail and telephone,” Seshoka said.

Police confirmed yesterday no one has been arrested in connection with the rape.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

RAPE in all institutions is a continuing problem in the country often overlooked. Lifeline director Sinikiwe Biyela said on average every month the organisation receives five to 10 cases of rape involving the student population in Pietermaritzburg alone.

“Only 70% of them [victims] open cases with the police,” Biyela said.

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