The student representative council at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) held a gender-based violence programme aimed at raising awareness and fight against GBV on campuses and residences. This comes after the institution implemented new GBV policies.
Recently, UKZN implemented new policies on gender based violence that seek to address the rampant violence within the institution. According to the SRC, they have welcomed the management’s policy and are working together with them to ensure its objectives are met, especially in a violence stricken Howard College.
“We have so many cases of gender based violence that some are not yet resolved. Management recently put new policies in place so we are introducing them to these policies,” SCR student support officer Vamisa Nzima told the Daily Vox in an interview.
Nzima explains that the SRC has learned that students are not well informed in matters regarding gender based violence and that why it is hell bent on running these programmes, and will be having more in the next few months.
“Students don’t understand gender based violence and what it entails, that’s why we are running these programmes, to fully equip them with information and knowledge. Also, some students are not even interested in these topics because they think they don’t relate; but the truth is, gender based violence is happening across campuses and residences,” Nzima said.
Strides have been made by civil society organisations and other parties in curbing the scourge of gender based violence In South Africa, however, GBV remains one of the major recurrent issues, with women and children always being at the receiving end. In 2018, activists organised a total shutdown march against GBV and President Cyril Ramaphosa has since signed a presidential declaration against gender based violence and femicide in a summit held in March 28.
Gender based violence on campuses has reared its ugly head. In May 2018, Zolile Khumalo, a student at Mangosuthu University of Technology was short dead by her former lover, just one example of the scourge of GBV in recent times.
According to UKZN Risk Management Services (RMS), which is the first responders to cases of any nature within the institution, due to the new policies; it has had to keep up and train its personnel on dealing with gender based violence
Prudence Ndlovu, who is among the task team appointed said “RMS staff have been trained to deal with gender based violence. We understand students’ circumstances and will assist without any jeopardy,” she said.
According to Ndlovu, RMS has been reformed and now offers countless services to students who might be victim of gender based violence, without making them feel uneasy.
“We have a Thuthuzela care centre that provides comfort rooms where students can feel safe while receiving medical attention or counselling. In these comfort rooms you also find police services waiting for you to make a statement whether you have decided to open a case or not, so that when you eventually decide to, all the information will be recorded already.
“We also assist those who may decide to open a case with preparation for court by providing counselling and advice,” Ndlovu said.
RMS will be holding roadshows in August to introduce students to their new services and further educate them on gender based violence and how these services can be accessed.