Last week, UCT’s Communication and Marketing department sent out an email about two incidents of sexual violence that have been reported and the suspension of two SRC members.
This email concentrated on condemning the release of the perpetrator’s names rather than speaking through the measures in place to aid anyone at UCT who has experienced sexual violence. This institution needs to be clear about what mechanisms are in place to support survivors post-trauma – they cannot make a cursory allusion to them with no links/contact details to get to those resources.
They cannot simply point to the existence of these support structures without any report on what progress has been made to make these institutions better. Many problems pertaining to these structures and disciplinary processes have been pointed out for many years. Before claiming that justice will be found through these procedures, UCT needs to be clear about what they have done to make these processes more fair and less traumatising to the survivor.
UCT needs to ensure that their communications to the wider public show that they are committed to a survivor-centred approach and not simply to absolve themselves of legal liability.
The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) will be monitoring the progress of these cases. UCT Survivors is often present in SART meetings and proceedings and will do what we can to keep an eye out too.
Here is a link for UCT’s statement: https://www.news.uct.ac.za/images/userfiles/downloads/media/2017-07-06_SRCSuspensions_EM.pdf
Here is the link for SART’s statement: http://www.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/328/media/releases/2017/2017-07-07_SARTStatement.pdf