Anti-rape movements call out varsity management

2016-04-28 22:06
(Photo: Stellenbosch University)

(Photo: Stellenbosch University)

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Cape Town – The Unashamed anti-rape movement leader has called out management at Stellenbosch University saying more needed to be done to curb rape culture on campus.

Speaking to News24 after an anti-rape demonstration on campus that saw about 300 students in attendance, Unashamed co-founder, Rochelle Jacobs, said the installation of additional security cameras and guards was not the answer to the rape problem.

“We are trying to have an understanding of rape culture communicated to people and to management. We have had women, particularly those of colour, saying the security guards are also part of the problem,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said the primary concern for all anti rape organisations that attended the demonstration was to ensure the safety of women and students on campus.

“Right now as I am speaking to you, I can see how dark it is outside and I have to walk to my car. I am concerned. Women should not be told they should carry pepper spray. The violation of a woman should not even be attempted in any way or for,” she said.

Experiences of abuse

Jacobs said a number of women took centre stage at the peaceful demonstration and relayed their experiences of abuse.

“The perspective of these women and their experiences is what will lead us to solutions. Right now it feels like measures being put in place have nothing to do with what students are talking about.

“Management are coming from the wrong context. They are not taking time to listen. They should acknowledge that they let us down,” Jacobs said.

The demonstration was in solidarity with the Rhodes University Chapter 212 campaign and was attended by a number of organisations.

Rhodes students recently protested and called for an end to rape culture on campus, with some women protesting topless. The protests were sparked by the anonymous publication of a list of 11 names of alleged rapists.

Students at the University of the Witwatersrand on Wednesday also staged a protest in solidarity.

Responding to Jacobs, university spokesperson, Martin Viljoen, said management was “very serious” about the issue of rape culture on campus.

Management met SRC

Viljoen said the Student Representative Council (SRC) and management had recently met and discussed ways of ending rape culture, giving student leaders an opportunity to discuss their concerns with management.

“A decision was taken to launch a jointly organised awareness campaign focusing on ending rape culture – with short and long-term aims and actions in mind. These could include incorporating the issue into the curriculum.”

Viljoen added that management would evaluate the support structures, processes and environment for the victim-survivor.

“We are working very closely with our Women Empowerment and Gender SRC portfolio, in fact the entire SRC, around planning events which raise critical conversations around gender," said Viljoen.

"Over the past weeks we have had many events, public, mixed, homogenous, in residences, in student structures, in various departments among staff, which address attitudes and behaviours which underpin rape culture.”

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  education  |  crime

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