18th November 2016

Wits Junction House Committee Statement: #RapeAtJunction
We as a community have been deeply disgusted by the response by Wits Management
towards the rape culture that continues to persist at Wits University. On Thursday, 17
November an open House Meeting was held to allow Wits Management to account for their
response to the incident in particular, rape culture in general and how moving forward they
seek to address and eradicate rape culture at Wits University and at residences.
In attendance at the meeting were:



Dr Puleng Lenka-Bula (Dean of Students)
Prof. Bonita Meyersfeld (Director: Wits Centre for Applied Legal Studies)
Robert Sharman (Head of Campus Housing and Residence Life)
Thokozani Manyange (Cluster Manager of the Wits Junction residence)

What happened at the Wits Junction residence is not an isolated incident – rape culture
permeates itself all the way from first years during Orientation Week, to senior members of
staff and academics. The students highlighted that Wits continues to protect rapists and places
too large a burden on the survivors. When incidents are reported, there are repeated attempts
to protect the prestige of the University and the reputation of the perpetrator, instead of
protecting the survivor and the general community.
The women expressed their lived experience, in an environment that assumes that the
survivor is lying. The meeting lasted roughly two and a half hours. In this time, Management
was given an opportunity to speak and students were given an opportunity to ask questions
and to engage. Management claimed to accept that they had made a mistake and would claim
responsibility for the incident which occurred.
The students demanded that the Management present apologize for the manner in which the
specific incident was handled, their ignorant comments made on Wednesday night during the
protest, and for their nonchalant attitude towards rape. Management refused to apologise in
specific terms, which therefore upset the students. The students asked for a specific apology
for the specific event, however, this was not forthcoming. At this point, students requested for
Management to leave, and the meeting continued without Management.
We, as the students, remain open to engagement and we request an urgent process in order to
abolish the rape culture that lingers at Wits University. We are also demanding the following:
1. When a rape is reported the perpetrator, must be immediately removed from the
residence pending investigations.
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2. There must be direct accountability from Management, for failure to address sexual
violence in practical terms.
3. The Student Representative Council (SRC), All Residence Council (ARC), All
Faculty Council (AFC), and all other relevant student bodies, must be involved in
creating a new policy that will protect students.
4. The Gender Equity Office and related offices must be given adequate resource
including financial and human resource support, and autonomy
5. As Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib is complicit in the protection of rape culture and
therefore, he must resign as a ‘He For She’ ambassador.
It is saddening that Wits’ priorities are so misaligned. Wits reacts faster to FeesMustFall
protests than it does to reports of sexual violence.

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