Self-defence classes set up after reported rape of student off campus
SMU students teach others how to fend off attackers
Students from Sefako Makgatho Health Science University (SMU) who are taking karate as a sport have offered to give other students self-defence classes to enable them to protect themselves when under attack.
This comes two weeks after a first-year student was allegedly raped after she had left her off-campus student residence in Pretoria to buy something at a nearby filling station.
She was allegedly abducted by two men armed with a knife and dragged to an open field where they robbed and raped her.
Khathutshelo Mulaudzi, a student with a brown belt in karate, said they could not sit by and watch while students' lives were in danger.
“We have decided on self-defence classes as we feel that it is time for us to fight back. We had our first classes on Saturday and there were about 30 students who showed up. We taught them basic techniques on how to get out of a close confrontation with a perpetrator and how to disarm them,” he said.
Muluadzi said because it was their first class they taught them four techniques that could prevent them from being mugged or even raped.
“These classes will take place every Saturday and they are for their own safety. All we want is for students to be able to defend themselves,” he said.
Thato Ledwaba, 21, a first-year BSc student, said even though the students appreciated the self-defence classes there was a need for the institution to teach men to stop attacking women.
“We learnt a couple of skills to be able to protect ourselves and to fight off a guy with a knife, and how to punch them in the stomach. However, I think there is more that can be done but I guess this is just a start. I believe that the institution should invest in campaigns that will focus on talking to men about protecting women,” she said.
A Student Representative Council (SRC) member who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal said the institution had not done much to beef up security.
University spokesperson Dr Eric Pule said the institution supported the idea of the self-defence classes.
“SMU security will provide additional support by visiting all off-campus residences day and night on a daily basis,” Pule said.
He said management proposed that two buses be made available to students monthly for shopping at the closest mall every two weeks, one of which will be paid for by the SRC.