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Communiqué on Outcome of Rape Trial

Date Released: Fri, 26 November 2010 08:00 +0200

Four years ago when I became Vice-Chancellor I committed myself to making Rhodes a home for all – a place where all people are treated with respect, dignity, compassion, and enjoy safety and security.
I was deeply saddened when I heard of the rape of a first-year Rhodes student and the assault on another female Rhodes student, by the same perpetrator, also a Rhodes student. Despicable, violent and inhumane conduct against women has absolutely no place at Rhodes University and the University will not under any circumstances tolerate such conduct.
In accordance with the University’s stance, the University prosecuted the perpetrator. He was found guilty of rape, assault and making disparaging and derogatory remarks based upon the victim’s gender.
The following sanction was imposed upon him:
• He is excluded from Rhodes University for ten years
• His academic transcript has been endorsed
• Rhodes will not recognise any credits that he may obtain at any other University
• He is not permitted to be on Rhodes’ property during the term of his exclusion.
One of the repugnant aspects of the hearing was that the perpetrator called two of his friends to give evidence on his behalf, and in so doing they gave untruthful evidence.
Such abhorrent conduct will also not be tolerated by the University and these students were subsequently charged in terms of the Student Disciplinary Code. They appeared at the disciplinary hearing and pleaded guilty to the charges.  They too were sanctioned.
Rape and violence against women is a morbid and shameful feature of our society. Too many perpetrators of these sordid deeds walk free because of the difficulties that women face in securing justice.
The two students who were raped and assaulted displayed great courage in going through the ordeal of the hearing. I hope that this will inspire other survivors of rape and violence to find their voices, to come forward, and to end their silence on the painful and humiliating abuse to which they have been subjected.
I am troubled that despite our efforts there continue to be present at Rhodes people like the perpetrator, who imagine that they can behave with impunity and that the University will tolerate their despicable, violent and inhumane conduct.
A team co-ordinated by the Director of Special Projects in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office played a sterling role in bringing to justice the perpetrator. I wish to thank all the colleagues for their exceptional dedication and efforts in this regard.
This must be an unequivocal message to all would-be perpetrators of violence against other persons that they will be prosecuted both civilly and criminally, and that we are determined to make Rhodes an institution where all people are treated with respect, dignity, compassion, and enjoy safety and security.
Dr Saleem Badat