One of the individuals named on the #RUReferenceList has spoken out about the allegations against him.
A former Rhodes University student has spoken out about the allegations of rape levelled against him in the #RUReferenceList.
Stuart Lewis, a journalist at the Daily Vox, released a statement via Facebook on Wednesday denying any wrongdoing. Lewis’s name appeared on a list of 11 alleged rapists at Rhodes University which was circulated via Twitter on Sunday evening.
The statement which was widely shared, read, “I am not guilty of any such crime”. The Daily Vox has also released a statement acknowledging the allegations against Lewis and announced that, “The journalist has since been placed on a leave of absence while we conduct an inquiry into the allegation”.
Lewis said that due to the anonymous nature of the accusation he is unable defend himself, however he also recognised the need for the anonymity and has not asked his accuser to reveal herself.
“I cannot demand that my accuser comes forward, as I cannot forcibly expose her to this thoroughly broken and often trauma-inducing system,” Lewis said.
Lewis’s legal representative, Tracey Lomax confirmed that no formal charges have been laid against Lewis, and he has not been approached by the police regarding the matter.
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Grahamstown police cluster spokesperson Mali Govender confirmed that only one case of sexual assault had been filed this week but could not confirm whether it was related to the Rhodes Reference List.
The list of accused rapists sparked a student protest on the Rhodes campus which has continued through the week resulting in all university activities being shut down, and five students being arrested.
On Sunday evening, students reacted to the list by attempting to confront the individuals named but were blocked by university officials. Local newspaper Activate reported that Rhodes vice chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela, “pleaded for students not in Cullen Bowles [a university residence] to leave the residence premises and protect the privacy of the individual named living there”.
The protest escalated on Wednesday with students attempting to shut down the institution. Police and protesters eventually clashed over barricaded streets with police using rubber bullets, pepper gas and stun grenades to disperse protestors. Five students were arrested and subsequently released.
- Wits Vuvuzela, “SAPS arrest students at Rhodes despite VC pleas”, April 2016.
- The Conversation.com, “How universities can begin to tackle rape culture on their campuses“, April 2016.