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Habib: Raped Wits student grateful for public’s support

Vice-chancellor Adam Habib says the victim feels emotionally overwhelmed at having her ordeal scrutinised.

FILE: Wits University vice chancellor Adam Habib. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib says the student who was raped at one of the university’s residences is grateful for the outpouring public support she’s received.

However, Habib says the victim feels emotionally overwhelmed at having her ordeal scrutinised.

Some students claim the vice-chancellor has been protecting rape culture in the university.

Habib is now calling on people to handle the situation with on social media with the utmost care.

“I call on people to engage in this issue with the interest of people in mind; undertsnad that there’s someone who’s been through enormous trauma and that you need to deal with it sensitively. It’s not simply the media, it is those that engage in social media.’

At the same time, Habib has appointed researcher and gender activist Nomboniso Gasa to investigate the institution's handling of the rape.

Tempers flared after the rape survivor tried to take her own life due to the trauma she had suffered.

A group of students tried to evict the alleged rapist themselves this week, but claim management protected him.

Habib says Gasa will submit her report on how Wits staff has dealt with the rape complaint and recommend ways in which the university can deal with similar cases in the future in three days.

“We have asked her to come in and review this case to see what happened within our structure, our gender office and residence life management, as well as where everything worked and what didn’t work.”