NMU promises case updates
In a move to quell rising tension over women abuse, Nelson Mandela University has committed to release updated reports of rape, sexual harassment and assault cases.
The news has been welcomed by gender activists and students who had on Monday handed the university a memorandum of grievances following an alleged rape.
On Thursday, organisers of the march against genderbased violence said “there is nothing happy and nothing to celebrate about Women’s Day”, a day which commemorates the 1956 march of thousands of women in protest against the then pass laws.Heated discussions around gender-based violence at the university flared up again this week following the alleged rape, which was reported to police on Saturday morning.
The case was later withdrawn and the alleged perpetrator – the student’s boyfriend – was released from police custody three hours later.
In comments that he later apologised “unconditionally” for, student leader Athenkosi Daniso, at a discussion among male students, said sexual frustration was what led to rape.
He claimed his comments were taken out of context.
Organiser of the #TotalShutdown march Nolitha January said: “In my personal capacity
. . . I do not accept Athenkosi’s apology.
“I do not think he was being sincere . . . As a student leader, he should’ve known to do his research [about rape culture] before going to address a crowd of people.”
January welcomed NMU’s response to the memorandum.
“Though I think we as women have nothing to celebrate today [Thursday] and this . . . Women’s Month, I think the response is encouraging.
“They [university] have been very silent about things like rape and only said something when we took action, but the news is welcomed.”
Memeza (“shout”) campaign co-founder Siphesihle Lugaju also welcomed the university’s response but said it would still be discussed in full.
Addressing some of the students’ concerns, NMU management said the university “has committed to send out a quarterly memo outlining the work that is being done in an effort to combat the issue of genderbased violence, as well as an update on reported rape or sexual harassment and assault cases and progress therein”.
NMU also promised to follow “due process in dealing with reported cases of genderbased violence” as well as “enhanced investigative capacity and mandatory gender-based violence training”.
A cellphone app, to act as a panic button to solicit a response from the NMU control rooms, is also being developed.ALSO READ