Staff whistleblowers slammed

“Several staff members, who encourage students to report their experiences of sexual harassment, have been victimised by the university.”

This was the damning assessment of the treatment of staff members who attempted to blow the whistle on sexual harassment at Wits, as detailed in a report released last week.

The report revealed that Wits staff members felt “sidelined, marginalised” and “silenced” by the university.
These staff members have indicated that they felt like “unprotected whistle-blowers.”

The perpetrators of sexual harassment often accused whistleblowers of participating in a “conspiracy” against them.

“Staff members who have attempted to assist with sexual harassment in the past, have experienced humiliation and silencing by roleplayers, and in some cases been actively labelled by fellow staff-members for causing trouble,” read the report.

According to the report, the “roleplayers” at Wits include the Legal Office, the Employment Relations Office, the Transformation Office, the sexual harassment advisor, Campus Control, Campus Health and university management.

Some staff members interviewed in the report complained that the university did not take a “proactive stance” on sexual harassment and did not deal with the issue.

“For example, in one case, a staff member has reported that a contract worker in partnership with the university has, on numerous occasions, aggressively targeted female staff,” read the report.

“Although this has been reported, to date nothing has been done from the university’s side, and as a result, there has been a high turnover rate of female staff in that department, who simply cannot work under such conditions.”

The report notes that ordinary staff members were at the “coalface” of sexual harassment as students being victimised are more likely to turn to them for help.

Because of this, staff should be constantly trained and supported in their dealing with student complaints of harassment.

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Dismissed “sex pests” speak: Dr Last Moyo and Tsepo wa Mamatu react to their sackings

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The unevenness of the underworld

From the first minute of watching this video I was awe struck and completely taken by what was being played in front of me. Afterwards there was a sense of utter reality. The sense of oblivion had surfaced into my world and was consequently destroyed in the worst way possible. A sense of disgrace but yet sadness as I knew this was happening but until you see it for yourself, it is just a distant thought which rarely ever has a space for thought, in our day to day lives.

The issue of prostitution in South Africa

Prostitution is South Africa is not as subtle as one would think. Before I saw this video I was unaware of the booming business which loomed in the underworld. It was an American “thing” a “truck driver thing” a “PIMP” thing, but it was not a thing South Africans such as much self considered as a prominent problem.
The reality is that it is a prominent problem and has become a nation-wide debate, a microcosm of debates exists in my household.

Prostitution is an act, if you can call it that, which is looked down upon by many people of society. The words “whore”, “call-girl”, “escort”, “trash” come to mind when you think about these women. I think it is important to first and foremost realise that these women are human beings, they are female and they deserve respect like any other person in the world.

I will admit that I was one of those people who considered a prostitute as “something” rather than “someone”. After watching the video I realised that I was wrong. These women are people who have become victims of their circumstances. Whether it be-extreme poverty or violent crime, they are victims. It is clear that this would not be their first or second or even third choice as an occupation but it is, nonetheless. This to me is a direct representation of the social problems South Africa as a country, has to face. Centre to it all is that many woman in this situation do not want to be there.

Prostitution in South Africa is illegal. Now many people can argue that it should not be legalised because it is a criminal offense. So let me ask this question:

If a prostitute is raped and beaten, is it right or humanly fair that these prostitutes cannot lay a charge against their perpetrator due to the fact that they will be chased out of the police station as ‘left over trash’ and not be taken seriously because they are prostitutes or because they “asked for it?”
If a man rapes a prostitute, and he contracts HIV, is it justified that the prostitute can get charged for attempted murder?

Rape? A crime or not with regard to prostitutes?

You can decide for yourself, but consider the fact that rape is rape, in any circumstance. No one deserves to get raped. Prostitutes agree to give a man a service with a fee, they do not agree to rape. If that service includes using protection then the client needs to respect that. It should not be the case that the man is able to take advantage of the women and there is nothing in place to protect the women. If HIV is spread through rape then it should not all be blamed on the prostitute.

No one goes to a restaurant and orders a burger and when it arrives goes and snatches a steak from the kitchen, because you cannot do that. So why does the same not apply for prostitutes? If prostitution is legalised as a profession then the spread of HIV/AIDS would decrease, prostitutes would be protected and respected, the crime and poverty rates would decrease. The logic is that whether or not it is legalised, it still happens. I think we as people need to realise this and not shrug it off as irrelevant.

Other appearences of prostitutes on national media platforms

Carte Blanche ran a story on prostitution in South Africa 2 two weeks ago, where a prostitute who goes by her street name “Snowy” explained that this is how she makes a living and the extreme situations she puts herself through on a daily basis. Her “job” entails risking her life and if this is the only way she can make a living, then why should the law not protect her?

Legalised, prostitution would resolve the debate and social difficulties our country faces and more over grant protection for woman who live this life.

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