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Rhodes drills into gender violence scourge

Date Released: Fri, 19 July 2013 08:30 +0200

Gender-based violence will come under the spotlight during a week of high profile Rape Crisis public lectures at Rhodes University.

Starting on Monday, a variety of experts will tackle different aspects of the problem at the 11th annual Teach-In Public Lecture Series.

Organiser Richard Pithouse, who lectures in political and international studies at Rhodes, said the lunchtime teach-ins played a “vital role in interrogating public issues”.

“The purpose of the teach-in is to consider an issue of public concern that will touch future careers and lives of all Rhodes students.

“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 explained.

Over the years, Rhodes University has been at the forefront of trying to tackle rape and gender-based violence against women by spearheading local and cross-country campaigns to raise awareness.

Academics, staff and students from Rhodes, Fort Hare, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Walter Sisulu universities all united in May when they marched at campuses in Grahamstown, Alice, East London, Port Elizabeth, Mthatha and George against gender-based violence, said Rhodes media liaison officer Zamuxolo Matiwana.

“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 came on the heels of Silent Protests held at Rhodes University, the University of KZN and Wits in April, which were aimed at assisting rape survivors deal with the trauma of sexual violation.

On Monday, independent researcher Lisa Vetten will tackle “When Men Man Up and Vulnerable Women Are Protected: The gender politics of rape and risk in South Africa” followed on Tuesday by Professor Pumla Gqola – associate professor of African literary and gender studies at the University of the Witwatersrand who will give a lecture titled “Fantasising about Stranger Danger, Living with Haunting and Familiar Perpetrators”.

Wednesday’s session will be filled by Mbuyiselo Botha, the government and media relations manager for Sonke gender justice network, who will lecture on “Why it is Critical to Work with Men to Address Gender-Based Violence”.

On Thursday, Dr Catherine Burns from the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, will talk on “Why the History of Rape Matters”. This is followed by author and political analyst Eusebius McKaiser, who will conclude the 2013 Teach-In Series with a legal perspective.

By: David Macgregor

Article Source: The Daily Dispatch