JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA- Two weeks ago, a list published on social media detailed 11 names of people accused of raping students at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.

The list was released, along with a set of demands by still unknown members of the Rhodes University student body.

Thousands of students protesting under the banner “Unashamed”, began their movement by placing posters on walls with quotes from Rhodes students, management and prosecutors.

The posters were intended to show the prevailing attitudes of those in and around Rhodes regarding rape and the rape culture that is being fostered in Rhodes and without a doubt, other South African universities.

The Unashamed movement, along with anti-rape organisation, Chapter 212 (which refers to Chapter 2(12) of the South African Constitution, which entails the freedom and security of the person,) began the anti-rape campaign in order to challenge the current systems in place for victims of rape and sexual assault in universities and the country.

Since the beginning of the campaign there have been protests on the Rhodes campus.

And while they intended to be peaceful, some students were injured after police fired stun grenades at them.  

Five students were arrested for “protesting on a public road.”

WATCH: Video of three of the arrested students

Heavy police presence have been a feature of protests on South African campuses since the #FeesMustFall movement began last year.

It seems then that the #RUReferenceList was released in order to coincide with the larger student campaign for reform and in order to protect women on campus from suspected rapists.

However, the release of the list has been controversial with some people calling for justice to be served, before anyone is outed in a public way.

The implication among young people in this country is that a few members of the movement have had defamation charges brought against them; this has caused further outrage because it seems as though university management is more concerned about the identities of rapists than the safety of women on campus.

The movement prompted protests on campuses across the country, with Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town placing posters, such as the ones in Rhodes, on their campuses.

But the most dramatic protest was held by the women of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Scores of students here partook in a topless protest in solidarity with the women of Rhodes.

Images of the protests at University of the Witwatersrand:

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It seems as though this is just the beginning of protests on campuses across South Africa, with the intention of bringing the serious issue of rape on university campuses to the forefront of discussion.

RISE NEWS will continue to cover this story as it develops in South Africa. 

Do you have a news tip? Send it to us at editor@risenews.net.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Lungani Gumede/ RISE NEWS.

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