According to the UN Statistics 2016, one in three women still experience physical or sexual violence. However, it is not only experienced by women but by men as well. The University of Johannesburg took an initiative to fight against Sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGBV), in a walk which was held on 21st of April 2017.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) community, led by Student Affairs in partnership with the Institutional Office for HIV and AIDS (IOHA), Campus Health and Community Engagement organised a walk from UJ Auckland Park Bunting Campus (APB) to UJ Auckland Park Kingsway Campus (APK). This was to emphasise the University’s commitment to end all forms of SGBV before it happens, and responding to the needs of all survivors, who can be men and women.
It was a triumphant walk filled with excitement which reflected unison between UJ students and the respective leaders of the march. With the red & black colored t-shirts and the vibrant chanting, the words; #ViolenceMustFall and Kwanele were exclaimed.
Amongst the masses were also students who could relate to the sexual and gender based violence march, Jabulile Mbhele says, “It is important for me to engage in this walk because my mom is a victim of abuse from my dad, which she fortunately survived. Most women have developed the tendency of surrendering to the pain of abuse inflicted on them for the sake of being loved.”
Patrick Buthelezi, a Finance Expenditure officer at UJ Doornfontein Campus, came to represent UJ staff to say that, “I am sick and tired of having to read in the newspapers about the treatment that is being inferred onto our loved ones. I am against gender and sexual violence. #Notinmyname.”
Despite the stereotypes that men are the only perpetrators of sexual-gender based violence but a considerable number of men participated in the march to display their disapproval of sexual-gender based violence.
“I think we are not giving enough attention to violence against women and children. I do think it is quite important especially the males showing support for this course,” says Jaco Van Schoor, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Finance at the University of Johannesburg.
Not only was the SGBV walk to raise awareness, it was also to submit a memorandum of concerned students in partnership with students support division for the University of Johannesburg to note and respond to certain demands.
Requests that the memorandum entails:
- Establishment of a division to exclusively address SGBV issues within UJ
- Establish a hotline for SGBV reporting
- Senior management, frontline service staff and student leadership to attend SGBV sensitisation workshop
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT+) to be considered when allocating accommodation to students
- Procedures to follow for SGBV survivors to be made available on all communication platforms
- Protection Service patrol radius to be increased to include off-campus accredited accommodation
- Improve lighting on campus for ease of movement by students at night
- Support all departments engaging in SGBV awareness within the university