Gender violence

Why Baleka Mbete is wrong on ‘rape not part of any culture’

Like many people, Baleka Mbete was shocked by Judge Mabel Jansen’s online comments about black people, and responded by saying that rape is not part of any culture. As a person in the forefront of South Africa’s leadership, her public statements ought to be taken seriously. However, here she is entirely wrong. Rape is part…

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We’re all born naked, everything else is (a) drag

By Pierre Brouard When Caitlyn Jenner recently visited the Academy for Young Writers, an LGBTI-friendly school in a working-class New York neighbourhood, she was expecting some flak. In particular, from two youngsters, living non-binary lives, who had been vocal in their criticisms of her. Caitlyn was privileged, they said, had made disparaging remarks about “men…

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Mabel Jansen’s comments pathologise an entire people

Mabel Jansen’s comments rightly caused outrage this week. Unfortunately there have been a few that have come out in her defence (lingering in the comment section of articles and social media) after Justice Minister Michael Masutha made the decision to suspend her. I was utterly shocked at her pathologisation of an entire people. As a…

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Nine ways to make our universities safer

By Esmeralda Sayagues Several South African universities have recently been rocked by student protests deploring the high incidence of campus rape and sexual violence. The students have demanded that universities implement fair procedures that yield justice for complainants and punishment for offenders. In order to address these issues it is useful to look at the…

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Rape is not…

Rape is not something that can be avoided by good behaviour. Rape is not something that is brought about by a woman’s “bad” behaviour. Rape is something that a rapist chose to do. Rape can happen to anyone. The only person responsible for a rape is a rapist.   Rape is not your fault. Rape…

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Outlaw speech: Contesting sexual coercion on campus

To law falls the privilege of demarcating and controlling a particular territory as its own. That which it cannot, or will not, claim is pushed beyond its borders to become that which is without law – or outlaw. This is one way to think about the release of a list of men accused of rape…

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A response to Charlene Smith’s #RUReferenceList Facebook post

This post is written from a position of deep respect. I have followed Charlene Smith’s writing and activism for years, and have nothing but admiration for her. Her work has revolutionised the way hospitals treat rape survivors and she has been instrumental in getting antiretrovirals administered after sexual assaults. Her writing has helped thousands of…

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#RUReferenceList could prove crucial in influencing the rape conversation

Is the time for South Africa to have the difficult discussion about rape finally here? Is it now time to do our utmost to provide protection and care for survivors and those vulnerable? The release of a list of 11 male students accused of sexual assault at Rhodes University, and subsequent protests by students, could…

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In solidarity with women who speak out

This morning I woke up and like most people logged onto Facebook — out of habit. I saw a friend’s status about a reference list. I naively thought she was referring to her PhD reference list. I made a glib comment with an emoji and scrolled down for more news. The next status I saw…

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Rape, the South African nightmare

By the time I was in matric three of my friends had told me they had been raped. Not by strangers in some dark alley the way I imagined rape happened. They were raped by people who were in their inner circle: friends, acquaintances. When I was in Grade 11 someone I knew was gang…

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