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A Victim of Sexual Assault at the Christian University of Northern Haiti Testifies

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The man took the lady’s belongings including her phone, computer, and a hard drive. Then he asked her to come out of her room. She refused. But the man was not alone. He was accompanied by an accomplice who was armed. Outside, no one was around

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Marianne Gué, an employee of the Christian University of Northern Haiti (UCNH) was raped on the premises of the institution on the night of September 7 to 8, 2020. While she was in bed, a noise disturbed her sleep.

“It was 1:52 am” she recalls. “Usually, I sleep with the light on to have control over everything that is happening in my environment. I saw something go by. Then, a hooded man entered the room and asked me not to scream. He told me that he was paid to kill me, but that he was not going to do it”.

The man took the lady’s belongings including her phone, computer, and a hard drive. Then he asked her to come out of her room. She refused. But the man was not alone. He was accompanied by an accomplice who was armed. Outside, no one was around.

“My apartment is very close to the gate where the security guards are, but that evening I didn’t see them. My attacker pushed me to the ground. I fell on my back. He punched me in the ribs. I cried for help, but no one came to my aid. He tried to suffocate me. I passed out on the spot”.

Nightmare Under the Stars

When Gué regained consciousness, she thought she was dreaming. But when she saw the moon and the stars knowing she had not slept in the open air, she realized that it was all too real. “When I woke up I saw my panties ripped. The man was still there. After committing his despicable act, he told me to leave” she laments. Gué has since stopped frequenting the institution.

But that was just the beginning. On October 23, 2020, she went to the university to collect her belongings. Before she even entered her apartment a hooded man stood in her way.

“He told me not to scream. It was the same man who raped me. He sounded and smelled the same. He hit me with a machete. I screamed. Students on campus came to rescue me, but the man had run away”. Her shoulder and part of her left breast are perforated. She says if she hadn’t screamed her attacker would have killed her with the machete.

Read also: Viols, harcèlements… le lot des femmes qui vivent avec un handicap en Haïti

At least five students have been raped at the Christian University of Northern Haiti. University officials deny these allegations. “After our employee, there is only one student who was raped. But it was off campus. They’re adding on and twisting the story” declares Jean Dona Darius, the rector of the institution.

The “UCNH” released a note on November 7, 2020 to deplore the incident. A dozen suspects were arrested including three security guards. According to the rector of the establishment, one of them died in prison. He was ill long before his incarceration.

Richemont Florival, the commissioner of the government of Cap-Haitian who oversaw the case stated that he had done his job when contacted by Ayibopost. “I submitted the file to the Judicial Investigation Office, but the Court has been dysfunctional for nine months. Therefore, I cannot tell you how the file is progressing”.

Constant Threats

Before these tragedies, Marianne Gué already felt threatened because of her role. This woman in her thirties is first and foremost a former “UCNH” student. Between 2011 and 2018, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in management and a Master’s degree in leadership and development.

While completing her Bachelor, Marianne Gué applied for a job within the establishment. In 2018, after completing her Master’s degree, she began to manage the institution’s finances. Like many other employees, the former student was housed on the “UCNH” campus.

In 2016, a new council took over the rectorate of the university. But according to the employee some people did not like the administration of the elected board. In the second week of August 2020, graffiti appeared on walls accusing them of squandering the institutions’ funds. “I was targeted personally because I manage the finances of the university”. According to Marianne Gué, it is former university leaders who are promoting these actions.

Peace Restored?

Jean Dona Darius has a different point of view. According to the rector, the former directors of the establishment are collaborators with whom he maintains very good relationships. The “UCNH” has been in existence since 1947. And, according to him, never has such a situation occurred in the past.

“The case is already before the courts. We are awaiting the results of the criminal proceedings. Things are rather slow, but we must know what gave rise to these acts. In the meantime, we have taken steps to strengthen security. We are in the process of installing surveillance cameras to verify the identity of everyone who attends the university’’.

The rector believes that things have now calmed down. The university has resumed its academic activities. Last January, there was a graduation ceremony.

However, Marianne Gué still remains cloistered in her house. “The scars are not yet healed. The doctor told me to wait six months. My morale is low because I am still afraid. If I have no one to accompany me, I do not leave my home ”.

Laura Louis

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Laura Louis
Laura Louis est journaliste à Ayibopost depuis 2018. Elle a été lauréate du Prix du Jeune Journaliste en Haïti en 2019. Actuellement, elle est étudiante finissante en Service social à La Faculté des Sciences Humaines de l'Université d'État d'Haïti.

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