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Pretoria universities encourage dialogue on campus rape, assault cases

Students say more men need to condemn the sexual assault and rape of women in this country.

FILE: A UCT student holds up a poster during a protest against rape and sexual abuse on campus on 11 May 2016. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As at least five South African universities review their sexual offences policies, the University of Pretoria (UP) says it's currently holding talks with students about its handling of assaults on campus.

Eyewitness News has spent the past four weeks speaking to students and staff on eight campuses across the country, as part of a special focus on rape culture at tertiary institutions.

UP management says it wants students to submit proposals on how rules and regulations can be improved, so the focus falls on helping survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, the advisor to the vice chancellor, says there will be harsh consequences for perpetrators whether they are staff members or students.

At the same time, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) says it encourages its students who have been sexually assaulted or raped, to report cases to police.

Deputy vice chancellor of student affairs, Ezekiel Moraka, says they always make sure they guide survivors through the criminal process, if they choose to press charges.

He says since last year, TUT dealt with at least four cases of rape on and off-campus.

"I think some are quite recent; we have to wait for the police reports to progress in as far as those issues are concerned. As soon as it is confirmed there is a rape case opened against a student, then the university acts."

LISTEN: Students are unhappy with universities policies and actions and actions on rape

Meanwhile, male students at TUT have told EWN they are embarrassed by the sexual assaults taking place on various campuses, saying the perpetrators should be punished.

They say more men need to condemn the sexual assault and rape of women in South Africa.

The students also believe men have a duty to speak out, and make sure they don't stand by as women are verbally abused.

One student says drastic measures need to be taken.

"It is definitely wrong; I think they must do something about it."

Another says he is shocked that these incidents occur at places of learning.

"I'm actually pretty shocked because this is supposed to be the safest places."

Some of the students say their image, as men, is being tainted.

"The dignity of men lays exposed. The people who are doing this, they don't think."

They say women will now see men as bad and as rapists.

Many male students were comfortable speaking out when they were alone - and but refused to be recorded when approached as a group.

WATCH: Inside SA's 'Rape Culture'