05 December 2019 Volume :7 Issue :66

Staff and Students Urged to Take Strong Stand against GBV

Staff and Students Urged to Take Strong Stand against GBV
UKZN’s zero tolerance on Gender-Based Violence.

While awareness is being raised throughout South Africa around gender-based violence (GBV) during the 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children campaign, UKZN encourages staff and students to take a stand and speak out against any form of violence and abuse.

Chair of the Gender-Based Violence Committee at the University, Ms Janine Hicks urged staff and students to report known cases of abuse.

‘As students, staff and citizens we can all take steps to report known cases of abuse, support and care for those courageous enough to speak about their abuse, and challenge those around us who perpetuate gender inequality and GBV through their discriminatory attitudes, language and abusive behaviour,’ said Hicks.

Executive Director for Corporate Relations, Mr Ashton Bodrick said according to recent South African Police Service data, a woman is killed every three hours in South Africa, ranking the incidence of femicide in this country the fourth highest in the world.

‘The recent well publicised tragic deaths of young women from the Higher Education sector have highlighted the dire situation in our country. These acts of extreme violence were against defenceless young women,’ said Bodrick.

Addressing the problem of violence against women was complex, he said, and required commitment from all stakeholders including government, civil society and other bodies and associations. ‘I urge all stakeholders at the University to put this matter on the agenda and create mechanisms to not only deal with the issue but to also look at creating awareness and finding preventative solutions. Fortunately, there is growing awareness and with the right interventions from all sectors we may win this battle,’ said Bodrick.

Hicks said the 16 Days of Activism Campaign ‘provides us with an opportunity to raise awareness around GBV, speak out against inequality and hopefully transform attitudes and behaviours of men. It also provides us with the opportunity to challenge our leadership, our institutions of higher learning and justice system to provide better care and response to survivors of GBV, and to be more vigilant in arresting, investigating, prosecuting and convicting offenders, so that we can end this scourge.’ 

When asked if patriarchy and sexism in our society were causes of gender-based violence in the country, Hicks said research indicated that gender inequality stemming from patriarchy was one of the key causes of GBV. ‘Gender inequality results in unequal power relations between the sexes, gender discrimination against women and LGBTIQ people, and the low social status accorded to women. This has become normalised in our society, in family, intimate partner and work relationships, and is perpetuated by the impunity of offenders – men getting away with raping, sexually harassing and abusing women.

‘UKZN is no exception, which explains the unacceptable levels of sexual harassment, rape and abuse of our female and LGBTIQ students,’ said Hicks.

For more information on GBV, please click here. Below are the contact details to report abuse:

•    Contact RMS – 031 260 3777

•    After-hours emergencies:

- RMS (Westville) 031 260 7133

- RMS (PMB) 033 260 5211

- RMS (Howard) 031 260 2540/2

•    Report the assault and lay a charge at SAPS (RMS will assist you with this)

•    Go to a hospital/District Surgeon within 72 hours of the rape (RMS will accompany you to a Thuthuzela Care Centre)

•    Make an appointment with a UKZN Student Counsellor in the respective Colleges’ Student Support Services

Additional off-campus support:

•    Lifeline Durban – 031 312 23 23

•    Lifeline PMB – 033 394 44 44/0861 322 322

•    Thuthuzela Care Centres – 031 401 0394: Umlazi TCC, Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital; Phoenix TCC Mahatma Ghandi Memorial Hospital; RK Khan TCC, RK Khan Hospital

•    SAPS Umbilo – 031 203 2409

•    Advice Desk for the Abused – 031 262 5231

•    Open Door Crisis Centre – 084 409 2679

•    Jess Foord Foundation – 0861 333 449

•    Isipingo Support Centre – 031 902 2158

•    Cleremont Women’s Project – 031 707 2221

Words: Sithembile Shabangu

Photograph: Supplied

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