Sexual assault victim believes her drink was spiked at party

2018-05-10 16:00
UKZN student 'humiliated and embarrassed' by hospital staff and police after rape ordeal.

UKZN student 'humiliated and embarrassed' by hospital staff and police after rape ordeal. (File Image)

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The woman around whom Wednesday’s rampage was focused, said she had been traumatised both by the rape and by the actions of medical staff and the police when she reported the matter.

The 19-year-old, whose name cannot be published, admitted that she had been drinking at a party at Cato Ridge when she believes her drink was spiked and she was raped on the morning of March 4.

“The party went well and I was drinking ciders but I wasn’t that drunk. I remember everything,” she said.

“Around 6 am the next morning, a group of us went to take pictures by the dam. I asked a friend to accompany me to the toilet as I needed help to unzip the jumpsuit I was wearing, and left my drink with a male friend. When we got back I took a couple of sips from my drink and that’s all I remember. I woke up at my commune in Scottsville,” she said.

She said she woke up still lightly intoxicated and feeling numb.

Her friend said when he came to see her, he was shocked by her appearance.

“She was visibly intoxicated, her clothes were torn, she had bruises on her body, a lovebite on her shoulder and there was a blood stain on her jumpsuit.

“I called someone who was there to ask why she was in that state.”

The man he spoke to said the student had asked him to accompany her to relieve herself and when he could not help her unzip her jumpsuit, they tore it.

“That’s when I started suspecting that something bigger might have happened. Her thighs were bruised. I was worried,” the friend said.

He told the student his suspicions and they called the police. They were told they should first go to the doctor for an examination.

Rape: student ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ by hospital staff, police

“I reported the matter to the campus security office and an ambulance was called. The paramedics confirmed she was sexually assaulted,” he said.

The police were called again and she was taken to Edendale Hospital to be examined.

The young woman alleged she was rudely dismissed by the doctor who examined her after he learnt she had attended a party and was drunk when the incident happened.

“He said I was wasting his time and state resources and told the nurses, too. The nurses also made hurtful comments, shouting for everyone to hear. I felt humiliated and embarrassed,” she said.

She alleges that the doctor told the police that she did not want to open a case and the police left. Her J88 form (detailing her injuries) was also not filled in.

The next day, she said, she was also humiliated at Alexandra police station when she tried to open a case.

“The police officer was shouting for everyone in the charge office to hear what had happened. She eventually called me to the back office where she said my case was weak and didn’t have enough evidence. She discouraged me from opening the case, so I left.”

She was told by party-goers that they had seen her alleged rapist carrying her from the bushes.

“Apparently I was wearing his t-shirt on top of my jumpsuit and he was wearing his pants inside-out.

“Others are spreading rumours on campus that I had slept with three guys at the party and I have been getting stares all around campus while [the alleged rapist] continues with his life,” she said.

The student was later told that her case was withdrawn as there was insufficient evidence.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said he did not know the merits of the case.

“Maybe it was withdrawn at court due to insufficient evidence. But a case withdrawn is not a case finalised. It’s just that for now the prosecutor may decide not to prosecute or proceed with the case pending investigations.”

Ngobese said anyone who is mistreated by police officials should report this. “We as police have no right to judge people, whether the victim was under the influence of liquor or not. Our job is to deal with the case and treat her with the respect she deserves. If she was really mistreated, that was not supposed to happen. She can report this to the cluster or station commander and the member will be dealt with accordingly,” said Ngobese. 

‘Chaos will get varsity to act’

When asked about her thoughts on Wednesday’s mayhem on campus, she said she was happy about the outcome as her case was finally handed over to the university’s proctor.

Also read:Rape case sparks outrage

“I reported the case to the university two months ago but nothing happened. Today I finally got a call from the proctor and it’s all thanks to the SRC and that protest. I think violence is the only way to get the university to act,” she said.

She said the university said they could not suspend or expel anyone until investigations are over. She said at some point she had to go home for two weeks because she wasn’t coping and is now considering changing universities.

“Since I spoke up, more students have come forward claiming that they too were sexually assaulted on campus. I believe by telling my story and fighting for justice to be done, I am creating a platform for other young women in similar stories.

“I don’t want the same negligence that happened in my case to happen to other victims who will follow after me. Victims of rape should not be victimised,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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