Secrecy around a sexual assault in res

Last year during O-week, I was a first year, I came back to a UCT residence at around 2 in the morning from a night out. A girl and one of her friends who was male were standing outside the entrance of the res. I proceeded to tag myself in and she followed me in along with the friend with whom she was standing. I still thought, at this point, that this was normal behavior; I thought they were just first years who wanted to fool around. I walked to the floor I stayed on and it happened that she lived in the same area. At one point I decided to ask her if she was sure about bringing him in at this time of night as she was risking getting a disciplinary charge. She started to think about it and she seemed to start freaking out. I asked her if she knew this guy well and she said she did and that they were friends from school. I told her that I was going to my room and trusted that she could handle it herself, whatever decision she made because she seemed comfortable in his company. The next day I was hanging out with some friends and got called back to res and was told that it was an emergency. They were able to identify me through the res cameras but could not tell who the other girl was. They showed me photos and I was able to identify her. I was questioned about that night and whether or not I knew the two individuals and if I had tagged them in purposefully. They asked me all these questions without giving me any context. I asked what happened with that guy and all they said was that they found him wondering around the res with a student card that did not belong to him and the police were called in to fetch him. They did not mention anything else. A few days later I was with some friends and one girl asked if we had heard about the girl who was raped at my res. She said that a random guy had walked into a girl’s room who had left her door open. I started to worry and naturally began thinking that this might have to do with why I was questioned. A few more days passed and then I got an email from the UCT lawyers, they wanted to arrange a meeting. At this point I was definitely sure that the two incidents were related. I went immediately back to res and asked to speak the warden. She confirmed that the incidents were connected and that the girl that I had seen that night went to her room and left her so called friend wandering around the residence. He went to a random door that he found open and went inside. The warden, while they had not bothered to mention to me what had happened at the residence before I actually asked, made sure to tell me to keep this on the down low. I was asked to be a witness and I would have to go to court later in the year if necessary. I have not heard anything about the case since nor has it been mentioned at the res. I respect the victim’s privacy but the way that, publicly, the UCT officials acted, as if nothing had happened, was highly problematic. Furthermore the way in which I was called in to be questioned but not given any context and where they omitted the truth when I asked, is impermissible. A victim’s privacy should be in her own control but that does not necessarily mean that we should ignore, or fail to make mention, of the fact that rape at UCT is a very real thing. Privacy should not be an excuse for secrecy.


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