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Prominent South Africans to debate “Rape Crisis”

Date Released: Thu, 18 July 2013 10:59 +0200

Prominent speakers will debate the “Rape Crisis”, as part of the 11th annual Teach-In Public Lecture Series hosted by Rhodes University Political and International Studies Department from 22 July to 26 July. 

The “Rape Crisis” and gender-based violence against women are endemic in South Africa.

In May this year, academics, staff and students from Rhodes, Fort Hare, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Walter Sisulu Universities marched against gender-based violence and children.  

The four Eastern Cape universities held their respective marches on different campus sites in Grahamstown, Alice, East London, Port Elizabeth, Umtata and George and pledged unity in raising awareness about gender-based violence. 

The Vice-Chancellors of the four universities are united in the view that communities need to reject gender-based interpersonal violence and that the academy is tasked with leading by example and encouraging the communities in which they exist to take a stand against violence against women.

The co-ordinated marches follow the highly successful Silent Protests held by Rhodes University, the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and University of the Witwatersrand in April 2013. The campaign assists rape survivors to deal with the trauma of being sexually violated.

“The purpose of the Teach-In is to consider an issue of public concern which will touch the future careers and lives of all Rhodes students. It plays a vital role in interrogating public issues,” said Political and International Studies lecturer and Teach-In organiser, Mr Richard Pithouse

“These lectures bring a particular issue of interest and concern in the public sphere to the attention of the University and the wider community,” he added.

Ms Lisa Vetten, Independent Researcher, will kick-start the sessions on Monday and the title of her lecture is “When Men Man up and Vulnerable Women are Protected: The gender politics of rape and risk in South Africa”.

On Tuesday, Prof Pumla Gqola, Associate Professor of African literary and gender studies at the University of the Witwatersrand will deliver her lecture entitled: “Fantasising about stranger danger, living with haunting and familiar perpetrators”

This will be followed on Wednesday by Mr Mbuyiselo Botha, Government and Media Relations Manager: Sonke Gender Justice Network with a lecture entitled: “Why it is critical to work with men to address gender based violence”.

On Thursday, Dr Catherine Burns, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, will present a lecture entitled: "Why does the history of rape matter?"

Mr Eusebius McKaiser, Political Analyst, Broadcaster, Lecturer and Author will wrap the 2013 Teach-In with a legal viewpoint in a lecture titled 'Don't touch me on my policy!': the role of the judiciary in the economic transition of South Africa.

Gender-based violence and rape survivor rights activist, Journalist and Researcher, Ms Michelle Solomon, will be the discussant for all the lectures.

The Annual Teach-In takes the form of a week of public lectures.

In 2012, prominent speakers such as the late Ms Mandy Rossouw, Mr Joel Netshitenzhe, Prof Steven Friedman and Prof Pierre de Vos debated the “Second Transition” which was proposed by the ruling party, African National Congress.

All the lectures will take place during lunch time at the Barratt Lecture Theatre.

For background information on Teach-In visit: http://www.ru.ac.za/politicalinternationalstudies/teach-in/

Photo by Judith Doubell