Sun Dec 04 14:19:45 SAST 2016

Rhodes to embed gender-based violence in its curriculum

Bongekile Macupe | 2016-11-30 11:41:43.0
Rhodes students bare their breasts in protest against sexual violence after naming 11 alleged perpetrators.
Image by: GALLO IMAGES

The rape culture protests by Rhodes University students earlier this year is one of the reasons why the institution was called to appear before the Commission for Gender Equality.

The commission is currently holding hearings on gender transformation in institutions of higher learning. Rhodes and at the University of Cape Town appeared before the commission on Wednesday morning.

In April‚ a “reference list” of alleged rapists at the university was circulated on social media‚ sparking a protest at the university and leading to a shutdown.

Speaking at the commission‚ Rhodes vice-chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said the protest was an “eye-opener” about gender-based violence at the university.

“During the protest‚ many young people came to my office and shared their stories and many of them had a common theme. They would say my stepfather raped me when I was 10‚ my uncle raped me when I was nine‚ my next-door neighbour raped me when I was eight. They would say I never told my parents because my stepfather is the sole breadwinner‚ I knew if I shared this our family would be torn apart‚" said Mabizela.

He said he was proud of the students who raised the issue at the university. Mabizela said the rape culture protest led to the appointment of a task team to look at issues of gender-based violence at the institution and also interrogate its policies.

He said the task team has concluded its work and the university has a report that makes numerous recommendations‚ among them is that gender-based violence must be embedded in the curriculum.

Over two days‚ the commission hopes to probe current internal policies‚ programmes and strategies to ensure effective gender transformation at universities‚ including challenges faced in achieving the transformation goals.

- TMG Digital/Sowetan

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