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#CampusRape: 'Rape culture a reality'

University students in CT say they believe rape is regarded as a taboo topic, but say it is in fact a reality.

UCT students hold up posters during a protest against rape and sexual abuse on campus on 11 May 2016. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The University of the Western Cape (UWC)'s Student Representative Council (SRC) has encouraged students to speak out against sexual violence at the institution.

The SRC recently launched a campaign, which calls on the university community to take a stand against the scourge.

The university's management says one female student was raped this year, but the SRC and other organisations believe this figure is much higher.

They fear many cases go unreported.

The council's Lukhanyiso Matebese says, "I do know about a whole lot of gender-based violence attacks on women on my residence specifically, and how as students we didn't take note of that because we weren't the ones being affected."

UCT students hold up posters during a protest against rape and sexual abuse on campus on 11 May 2016. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

'TABOO TOPIC'

A Stellenbosch University post-graduate student says she believes rape is regarded as a taboo topic and isn't taken seriously by the institution's management.

Master's student Nicola Bruns says rape culture is a reality on campus.

"If you walk down the streets as a woman in Stellenbosch, someone is going to cat-call you and cat-calling is rape culture. If you go to the bar with a short skirt on, someone is going to tell you maybe you should put stockings underneath so that you don't get raped."

Bruns says female students shouldn't have to walk in fear on campus.

"We shouldn't be having to carry pepper spray around. We shouldn't be having Tasers around because we shouldn't have to protect ourselves. I remember within the first two weeks of my arrival in Stellenbosch during orientation, they sold us pepper sprays.

"They said Nicola you want to have a pepper spray because you don't want to walk home alone and feel unsafe."

UCT STUDENTS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER SAFETY

Some students say their safety remains top of mind as they go about their business on campus.

Eyewitness News spoke to a number students about issues relating to sexual violence.

One student says,"What saddens me the most is that ladies are seen as objects. A girl should be able to wear what they want to, whenever they want to."

While another says, "You feel unsafe as a female walking from North Stop to South Stop because you don't know what will happen to you in between."

The issue has been thrust into the spotlight after several Rhodes University students demonstrated last month.

They've demanded eleven alleged rapists be removed from the Grahamstown Campus and want security to be beefed up there.

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

UCT RAPE

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) earlier today said additional rape charges will most likely be brought against a suspected serial rapist.

Patrick Hlomane, also known as Mthunzi Makhamba, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates Court yesterday where his case was postponed to next month.

Hlomane was arrested in March in connection with at least five rapes which occurred in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial.

Most of his victims were UCT students.

The NPA's Eric Ntabazalila says the suspected serial rapist will be remanded in custody as video footage and cellphone records have to be scrutinised thoroughly.

Ntabazalila says statements also have to be taken from witnesses which means more charges may be brought against the man who struck fear in UCT students for months.

"We still need to get further statements as well as cellphone records and video footage which we will use to take our case forward".

Meanwhile, a police investigator has told Eyewitness News the alleged serial rapist's DNA has already been positively matched to five of his alleged victims.

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