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Wits calls for action and dedicates Monday afternoon to solidarity activities

- Wits University

Wits calls for action to be taken against gender-based harm (gbh), xenophobia and afrophobia - all university activities for Monday afternoon to be rescheduled.

The University of the Witwatersrand will reschedule all University activities, including lectures, from 1pm – 8pm on Monday, 9 September 2019 in order to join the call for decisive action to be taken to end gender-based harm, xenophobia and Afrophobia on our campuses and in society. The SRC will hand over a memorandum to Wits officials and host an inter-faith service and other activities on Monday afternoon.

Furthermore, the first lecture of each day for the duration of the week will commence with a moment of silence.

The University strongly condemns all forms of violence, abuse and discrimination and calls on the state and relevant role-players to create a society in which everyone feels safe and secure regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, nationality or other distinguishing factors.

Following the senseless rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana and the murder of UWC student Jesse Hess, and in solidarity with the thousands of womxn who encounter gender-based harm on a daily basis, Wits is calling for the state to take the threat on the lives and livelihood of all womxn in South Africa seriously; to hold to account and to take decisive action against the perpetrators of gender-based harm; and to do more to change the attitudes, behaviour and culture of boys and men in society that leads to the consistent abuse of womxn.

Gender-based harm includes any form of sexism and/or unfair discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation; sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape; and the abuse of power and conflict of interest based on sexual and/or romantic relationships, amongst other aspects.

At the same time, the University is calling for an end to the violence and discrimination against foreigners. We should respect and celebrate all people regardless of our origins, race, cultural and religious beliefs, gender orientation, language preferences, ideas, and other differences. We are stronger together and need to build a safe, inclusive society in which we can thrive collectively.

One thing is clear – the status quo must change. We call on staff members, students, individuals, institutions and civil society to stand together with the victims and survivors of gender-based harm, xenophobia and Afrophobia. Finally, we call on government to demonstrate strong leadership and to take decisive action to address the scourge of violence plaguing our society today. 




Gender Equity Office

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