‘We bear the scars and trauma’ – Wits student

2016-04-26 18:43
(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg – A student at the University of Witwatersrand says rape victims bear the scars and tears, while the lives of men continue unscathed.

"I was raped by a close friend. This week I had to tell my mother that I have been hiding it from her all these years," said Sima Mkele Dlakavu.

She said the women of Rhodes University had given her a voice.

In her first year, she and other students were sexually assaulted by lecturers, she said. She alleged that this continued to this day.

Standing in solidarity with students protesting rape culture at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, students demonstrated on the steps of Wits University's Great Hall.

'Kill rapists'

Their bodies painted with phrases like "revolt" and "kill rapists", the young women chanted and sang.

Rhodes University students started protesting last week over the university’s sexual harassment policy and what they said was its culture of rape.

The protests were sparked by the publication of a list naming alleged rapists and those who allegedly commit sexual assault. The alleged perpetrators either worked or studied at the university.

Five students were arrested and released during the protest.

In 2013, a senior drama lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand was accused of being a sexual predator who had preyed on vulnerable young women over a period of six years.

Abuse of power

Ten former students had alleged that the deputy head of dramatic arts, Tsepo wa Mamatu, 33, has sexually assaulted and violated them during rehearsals, auditions, and off campus. He was dismissed from the campus and later offered a public apology for "abusing my power vested in me by the university".

Pura Mgolombane, from the Wits transformation department, has called on men to take a stand for women.

"In a situation like this we need the support from men. The rapist will only stop when men step up and say 'not in our name'," Mgolombane said.

He said the university didn't want students to come to Wits to be victims.

Read more on:    wits  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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