Mr South Africa contestant, Anthony Walters said: “It is important not to look away, even if you are reluctant to get involved when you see a couple fighting, you should not be afraid to report any incident of abuse." File picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - A karaoke night out turned into a nightmare for a woman and her gay friend a few weeks ago.

She was punched, her wrist twisted, pushed to the floor and had her ribs cracked because she tried to stand up to a man who had allegedly harrassed a group of women at Ratz Bar in Melville, Johannesburg.

“Where was the bouncer? Oh! He was bribed into letting this man stay and continue to harass a young group of girls with inappropriate comments and gestures. He was also, noticeably, trying to spike their drinks,” said Nita (not her real name), whose full name is known to the Weekend Argus.

She told the Weekend Argus that she stepped in because she could see how uncomfortable the women were.

“It infuriated him that a woman and a gay man were telling him to back off. At this point, he grabbed, squeezed and twisted my wrist and mumbled a lot of profanities, the main one being homophobic and against my friend. I told the staff and the bouncers about the incident and they said that if it were to happen again, he would be removed from the premises.”

She said despite her trying to get help, the abuse continued.

“Eventually, I had enough and I went to go and reason with that guy. He punched me three times in the gut, once in the face and a final blow knocked me off my feet. I am so disgusted and so disappointed that it took a beaten up girl on the floor for this matter to be taken seriously.”

Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed a case of common assault had been opened. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Nita said she was grateful to the group of guys who took it upon themselves to try to protect the women and the gays in the club. She recalled that at one stage, she saw the suspect walking towards the girls with two shots of tequila.

“He offered it to one of the girls and she kept saying no but he was persistent; that’s when I stepped on and told him that she didn’t want it. He told me to back off and that was none of my business. My friend grabbed the shot and took it (because he kept dangling it in front of the girl). That made him step away... briefly.”

“This was a isolated and very unfortunate incident that was dealt with by management and security as soon as it happened. We strongly oppose any form of violence, specifically against women and LGBTI community. Ratz, and Melville generally, is known as a safe space for the LGBTI community,” said a partner in Ratz Bar, Emil Faber.

Weekend Argus