The young woman involved in the viral ‘Gateway Mall assault’ video has spoken out for the first time. Her family have also issued a statement to the Sunday Tribune, setting the record straight about what happened on Friday night.

The video went viral on social media on Saturday after a two-minute clip was uploaded by a Facebook user, who filmed the incident at the mall on Friday evening.

The Sunday Tribune has removed the video at the insistence of the 21-year-old woman and her family, who were at pains to set the record straight, that she was not 16, as had been alleged on social media.

She also repeatedly told the Sunday Tribune she would not be opening assault charges against the man in the red T-shirt, who is not her father, but a close relative (the husband of her guardian).

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she had been intoxicated when the incident happened. She said on Sunday that she could not remember much from the events of Friday night.

“I was very drunk and I did not listen when my relatives were talking to me, I really do not know what I was saying, I do not remember anything,” she said during a teary interview by phone.

The woman, who would not disclose much information about her working life or herself, said she had been having drinks with male friends.

“Maybe I was drugged, I really don’t know, I normally do not act like that,” she said.

The woman revealed that a family meeting had taken place on Saturday, where she apologised to her relatives about the ordeal. During the family meeting, she revealed that the family had agreed to move on from the ordeal.

She was also upset that the video had been recorded on tape and requested it be taken down on social media as it was ruining her family, she said.

A family spokesperson, who did not want to be named, said members of the family had been looking for the woman for several hours at the Durban mall. The spokesperson, said it had been agreed, that she would be called when it was time to leave.

“She was later found at around 11pm with a group of males, very drunk,” said the family member.“The woman carrying the child in the video is the girl’s guardian, and was trying to help the girl. The girl told her she doesn’t want to go home, and in front of everyone started screaming and swearing, and then proceeded to hit her guardian,” the spokesperson said.

The man in the red shirt is the guardian’s husband, according to the spokesperson.

“He [the guardian’s husband] then got involved when the girl became out of control and also started attacking security while they tried to calm her down. This was not shown in the video. The video only began from the point after the girl had been hitting and slapping the woman’s husband.”

In the beginning of the video, the woman and her guardian are seen arguing before the scuffle.

The spokesperson said: “He tried to talk to his wife and the girl to tell her to proceed to the car and leave the mall. She did not want to do that and started screaming and performing. He became enraged as he had been calm all the time before and began to get very frustrated as she would not listen. Taking into account she was very intoxicated she exaggerated being pushed to the floor.”

The family member said the relative who was seen hitting the young woman had never beaten her or any of his children as a form of discipline before.

The video, the spokesperson said, amounted to defamation of character for which, the man’s career would suffer. The said career was not revealed.

Earlier on Sunday, Gateway marketing manager, Michelle Shelly, said the management team was aware of the incident and would be investigating. Shelly is expected to provide further comment on Gateway’s security protocol following a meeting with the management team on Monday. – Additional reporting by Sihle Mlambo

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