HEAIDS Gender Based Violence Dialogue: University of Venda

HEAIDS is hosting a Gender Based Violence at the University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo. 

South Africa is known for its high rates of violence, which according to some analyses, are linked to an acceptance of violence as a way to resolve interpersonal conflict, based both from the historical imposition of apartheid and resistance to it. South Africa also has extremely high rates of gender-based violence and the highest rate of reported rape cases in the world, hence the labelling as ‘rape capital’ of the world’1. The analysis of gender-based violence recognises that violence directed against a person on the basis of his or her gendered identity is not directed at women and girls only. Some of the same mechanisms that entrap girls and women in subordinate roles, keep men and boys entrapped in masculinist identifications that are being played out in abusive ways. Victims of sexual assault are more likely to suffer academically and from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, abuse alcohol and drugs, and to contemplate suicide. Research in South Africa and internationally found that sexual harassment and SGBV have health, psychological and academic impacts on students, but it is female students who are disproportionately affected2. At present the true extent of sexual violence in South Africa is unknown. Stats SA found that one in two rape survivors reported being raped to the police3, while the Medical Research Council (MRC) found that one in nine women reported being raped4. Both studies clearly find rape to be under-reported although their findings differ as to the extent of such under-reporting. In 2012 55,201 rape cases were reported to the police, but this figure should also be viewed in terms of the gross under-reporting of rape in South Africa. Gender-based violence has health, psycho-social and legal consequences on women, men and children.The victim and her/his family may experience physical, emotional, mental and social affects. 

 As part of HEAIDS mitigation of SGBV in post school sector, SGBV programme elements will be integrated in existing HEAIDS programmes: 1) HEAIDS First Things First programme, 2) HEAIDS-Men’s health empowerment programme, 3) HEAIDS-Curriculum development and integration, 4) HEAIDS-MSM and LGBTI, 5) HEAIDS-Women’s health empowerment programme,6) HEAIDS-Alcohol and drugabuse prevention programme, 7) HEAIDS-FUTURE BEATS-Campus Radio Project, 8) HEAIDS Peer education programme.

These dialogues are part of the process HEAIDS is embarking on by consulting students on the ground.