#RapeAtJunction report: Wits student accommodation staff failed complainant

A report into an incident of rape at the University of the Witwatersrand has found that the university’s student accommodation staff failed a student who said she had been raped by another student in a residence building.

“The report is quite categorical that while one individual from Residence Life in particular was empathetic and continuously supportive, other officials did not demonstrate sufficient empathy and care and failed the complainant by not meeting the university’s commitment to providing a safe space for complainants of gender based harm,” Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib said in a statement.

The completed report was handed to Habib on Thursday, but the university has said it cannot make the report public because it names the complainant and the accused.

Wits University appointed gender researcher and analyst Nomboniso Gasa to investigate and compile the report after students at the university protested at Wits Junction, the campus residence where the accused stays. 

The complainant and the accused reportedly continued staying in the same residence block, even after the rape was reported. Wits appointed Gasa to compile the report.


Gasa criticised the university for allowing the accused to live in close promixity to the complainant.

“The university ought to have intervened to avoid the state of affairs where the complainant and the person against whom she had lodged a complaint resided in the same residential block, while at the same time respecting the legal rights of all. 

“The report particularly recommends that measures be immediately implemented within residences to ensure that these lapses are not repeated,” Habib summarised a finding in the report.

The report recommended that staff who have not followed the university’s sexual violence policy or behaved with sensitivity towards a complainant should be sanctioned by Wits. 

It also recommended the university’s Gender Equity Office and the vice-chancellor’s office tackle difficult discussions on rape in the insitution and society, and the university follow previous recommendations to be more effective in communicating the status of investigations into rape accusations.

Habib has said that the investigation will continue and is likely be completed within a week.  

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

Related stories

Party political meddling threatens future of universities

Campuses elsewhere in Africa have seen the damage done by student activism influenced by political parties, a matter that has raised concern at South Africa’s higher education institutions

Students need unity from leadership, not Twitter wars

Universities South Africa is an important voice that we should look to in the higher education sector. Unfortunately it is often inaudible

Covid-19 lockdown pushes Wits University to offer online learning

The university plans to teach online as South Africa’s lockdown continues, and is offering zero-rated data for its teaching sites, as well as computing devices for students

Habib leaves with no regrets about the decisions he made at Wits

The vice-chancellor announced he will be heading to SOAS next year

Slice of Life: ​Koko’s words kept me going

" I had to finish school. I had to complete my degree to honour my grandmother’s sacrifice."

2019 International Year: Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

Mendeleev's discovery accurately maps the link between atoms and elements, and the micro and macro worlds
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba

Epic fail: Africa’s Fortnite battle

Forced onto the backfoot by poor ping and overseas servers, African gamers are getting creative in an attempt to play one of the biggest competitive games. In the second instalment of our gaming corner, we chat to some of the innovators

Eastern Cape universities concerned by rising Covid cases

Fort Hare says 26 more students have tested positive while Walter Sisulu University says some of its students have been admitted to hospital.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday