Rhodes University student, Khensani Maseko commits suicide after boyfriend raped her
Khensani Maseko, Rhodes University student who was allegedly raped in May by her then boyfriend has committed suicide. This happened at her family home last Friday in Johannesburg, about 600 miles north of the campus in Grahamstown.
On Friday morning, at 10:35 am, 23-year-old Khensani Maseko tweeted: “When people ask for help…help them.” Unfortunately, her followers didn’t know she was planning to take her life.
She also left a haunting post on Instagram that same day. She wrote: “Nobody deserves to be raped.”
The third year BA student said she was raped at the university in May. Khensani Maseko had been elected to Rhodes’ Student Representative Council (SRC), was voted Miss Varsity for the 2017-18 university year and was involved in a number of student activities. The university said it would suspend the student who allegedly raped Miss Maseko.
The Rhodes University SRC has expressed their shock, while on social media tributes have poured in, with many spreading the hashtag #RIPKhensani and voicing their outrage at Maseko’s suicide and at South African rape culture in general.
According.www.citizen.co.za, some people pointed out the added significance of Maseko’s death coming in Women’s Month, a time of the year when South Africans are meant to show support for women’s rights and resolve to stop the country’s scourge of violence against women.
Khensani Maseko was an SRC alumnus, active in campus politics as a member of the EFF.
Rhodes lowered its flag to half-mast and agreed to an academic shutdown for one day.
Angry students had gathered at the university’s administration building to demand the shutdown so they could mourn and protest the alleged rape culture at Rhodes, Dispatch Live reported.
Rhodes’ SRC, which lobbied for the shutdown, said in a statement that Miss Khensani Maseko’s final Instagram post was a haunting suggestion that her death was tied to her “being a survivor of sexual assault”.
University vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela said Rhodes would ask South Africa’s national police force and National Prosecuting Authority to begin an inquest into the death.
Nhlakanipho Mahlangu, a member of Rhodes SRC, said: “We know the amount of promise she had to offer us all, I mean to offer the entire country. We’re very shaken, it’s a very difficult time for us as the SRC, and we wish her family all the strength and support that we can.”
The rape of South African women is among the highest in the world, according to a Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) report released in June. “A total of 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offence, compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men,” the 2016-17 Victims of Crime report stated.
“Using the 2016-17 South African Police Service statistics, in which 80% of the reported sexual offences were rape, together with Stats SA’s estimate that 68.5% of the sexual offences victims were women, we obtain a crude estimate of the number of women raped per 100 000 as 138.
“This figure is among the highest in the world.”
While the murder rates of both men and women declined steadily between 2000 and 2015, the murder rate for women increased drastically, by 117%, between 2015 and 2016/17, Stats SA noted with concern.
The number of women who experienced sexual offences also jumped from 31 665 in 2015-16 to 70 813 in 2016-17 – an increase of 53%.“These are drastic increases in less than 24 months,” the report said.