Gender violence

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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The horror of how our children die, I see it every day

Last week we heard of a teenager who went missing while running with her dog and family in Cape Town and was found murdered a few hours later. It’s a terrible story, the stuff of every parent’s absolute worst nightmare. We have all briefly lost sight of our children in a supermarket, at the park,…

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Men will never stop hurting us

As a child, I thought that grownups weren’t afraid of anything. They killed spiders. They didn’t believe in monsters and ghosts. They weren’t scared of dogs or the dark or the deep end of the swimming pool. Of all the disappointing discoveries of adulthood, the realisation that grownups are in fact very frightened very often…

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