The Wits EFF is trying to find the woman to ascertain whether she has pressed charges.

Wits University is investigating a case of assault that took place at Wits Junction residence on Saturday, May 6, around 22:00.

The university’s spokesperson, Shirona Patel, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “This weekend the dean of students and others were made aware of a gender-based harm matter. The matter has been passed on to the Gender Equity Office (GEO) and is receiving attention.”

According to Junction residents, a female student was visiting her boyfriend who stays at the residence when she was assaulted by the boyfriend. Neighbours heard her screams and went out of their rooms to stop the alleged perpetrator, whose name is known to Wits Vuvuzela. Residents called Campus Protection Services guards and the woman was taken home after she had written a statement.

Awelani Mathiba, a Junction resident who had rushed to the scene, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “I am not happy with what happened especially when I went to the scene and heard the girl screaming, the situation was bad. Honestly, it’s not good and what hurt me the most is that when it was announced in the Junction [WhatsApp] group, a lot of guys didn’t come to support.

“Some of his friends just laughed about the matter, I didn’t believe it. I think we can do better as men to stop GBV (gender-based violence). Campus control took time to come to Wits Junction. The securities should do better and know what to do in situations like these,” Mathiba said.

Following the incident, a meeting was called the next day at 18:00 by concerned Junction residents. About 30 people attended and residents voiced their concerns that they did not feel safe anymore and that the university had to do something to ensure their safety.  Wits Junction manager Faith Nkonyane told the meeting that she had reported the matter to the GEO and it was being dealt with accordingly.

In a statement emailed to Junction residents on Tuesday, May 9, house committee members Luyanda Lebatla and Anesu Pisira wrote: “The house committee strongly condemns any form of violence especially gender-based violenceand is committed to ensuring that all residents feel safe and secure in the residence. We understand that incidents of this nature can cause fear and distress and want to reassure all residents that we are taking this matter seriously.”

The Wits EFF Student Command also weighed in on the matter in a statement posted on their Instagram page. “As the mighty EFFSC we maintain a clear stance against any abusive treatment against women and we also understand that this institution has expressed itself as being one that shares the same stance of GBV. With that in consideration we are calling for necessary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator and his friends.”

The EFFSC told Wits Vuvuzela on Thursday, May 11, that they were trying to find the woman who was assaulted so that they could find out whether she had pressed charges or not.

The alleged perpetrator is on the run according to Wits Junction residents, and has not been seen since the weekend.

Patel has encouraged the Wits community to visit the GEO website for information on the university’s policies and procedures. 

FEATURED IMAGE:  Wits Junction residents are urging the university to do something to ensure their safety. Photo: Sinazo Mondo