Anti-sexual violence activists at Wits presented a student documentary on Tuesday about the Rhodes University #RUReferenceList which exposed rape culture at that university.
The documentary, called Disrupt, has been screened around Wits campuses and residences, where a facilitated discussion around the student protest action in relation to gender and sexual violence took place. The turnout of the screening was described by Gender Equity Office (GEO) investigations and advocacy officer Charlene Beukes as ‘amazing’.
“The screening was to start a conversation about rape culture on Wits campuses” and engaging the university about ways to combat rape culture,” said Beukes.
The screening and talk included Wits organisations such as the GEO, Counselling and Careers Development Unit, Student Development and Leadership Unit, Vow FM and Drama for life, as well as some of residences including Mens Res.
Executive producer of Disrupt Mitchel Parker said “the documentary takes a look at the #RUReferencelist protest that took place at Rhodes University. [It] looks at the actual events of the days, where we added context.”
Parker said that he hopes that “the documentary challenges people like management in universities to look at their rape and sexual assault policies.”
The making of the documentary was in collaboration Chapter 2:12, a campaign that started at Stellenbosch University and now includes Rhodes.
One of the observer who attended the screening and participated in the discussion, Mpumi Mlambo, said that the documentary had both pros and cons. “It made us aware that even though you may be looking at social protests like the #RUReferenceList from a distance,” she said.
But Mlambo said she thought the story was “one-dimensional”.
“I found the video a little problematic because it the story was one dimensional. I would have loved to hear the rapist being mentioned as a possible friend, brother, lecturer or vice-chancellor.”
The documentary features #RUReferenceList student protesters Reabetsoe Ralethe, Mercy Watama and Carla Botha.
The Disrupt documentary can be seen on the Rhodes Activate Online YouTube page.
For sexual assualt assistance,
contact the Wits Gender Equity Oﬃce at 011 717 9792 or email Maria Wanyane at