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Under reporting of gender-based violence ‘still problematic’ - Rhodes VC

The Commission on Gender Equality is holding public investigative hearings into gender transformation at universities.

FILE: Rhodes University students show thier support for the Chapter 2.12 camapign against victim blaming and rape culture on campus. Pictur: EWN/Siyabonga Sesant

JOHANNESBURG – Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela says while the institution does have internal sexual offence policies and programmes for men, the under reporting and a lack of education around gender-based violence is still problematic.

The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) is holding public investigative hearings into gender transformation at universities.

The aim of Wednesday’s hearings is to probe ‘sex- for marks’ scandals, the placement of women and persons with disabilities in senior management positions, and gender transformation policies.

Rape culture on campus, which came into focus during the #FeesMustFall protests, has also been interrogated.

Mabizela has been criticised for the way that Rhodes has disciplined sexual offenders, who were in some instances only suspended for a year and allowed to return to campus.

This means that often, a victim could have to face their perpetrator again.

Mabizela says while they have put additional security on campus it’s still not enough.

“Most instances of sexual offence happen in intimate spaces.”

Mabizela says enforcement of policies is sometimes problematic.

The discussion has also interrogated the reality that many students have already been sexually violated by the time they enter university.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)

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