The University of Cape Town (UCT) has urged staff and students to report allegations of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) internally instead of naming and shaming people on social media.
“UCT does not support the circulation of the list of persons on social media platforms. UCT urges all social media users who have shared this list to consider that legal action could be taken against them,” the institution said in a statement on Thursday.
“This could have far-reaching effects for them professionally and personally.”
The university said the list which was being circulated included the same names which were “inappropriately circulated on social media” last year.
“During this time, UCT investigated the claims that implicated the individuals on this list. Therefore, the continued circulation of these names is counter-intuitive and defamatory,” UCT added.
“UCT wishes to remind staff and students that should there be an allegation that has not been attended to – to use the online reporting tool which then expedites GBVF cases through the ad hoc special tribunal.”
The following services are available to students and staff:
- a sensitively managed consultation with survivors
- alternative residence accommodation
- extraction from domestic sites of violence to places of safety
- 24-hour standby support, both telephonic and physical
- one-on-one lay counselling
- accompaniment to Victoria Hospital for medical care
- assistance in completing the South African Police Service processes
- assistance in appealing for academic concessions
- referral to counsellors in the student wellness service, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group or Rape Crisis
- referral of the incident to a UCT disciplinary tribunal and/or alternative informal mechanisms
The institution reiterated that its record showed UCT was committed to investigating all GBVF cases and charges are brought forward.
It said matters in the past demonstrated the efficacy of processes, adding that students and staff who were guilty were expelled, suspended or were issued with warnings.
“We ask those in our community and beyond, who are circulating these unfounded claims, to remove them immediately and we appeal to survivors to please use the protected processes available to them to seek justice,” UCT said.