#EndRapeCulture: The successes and failures of task teams in bringing about change

Krige, Dalaine (2021-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Rape and gender-based violence have reached epidemic levels in South Africa. The problem of campus rape and sexual harassment is also not a new phenomenon. The statistics are not always reliable due to chronic under reporting and low conviction rates acting as a deterrent to report. Both the state and universities have been slow to respond to the crisis facing the women of the country. It was only after the wave of student protests in 2015 and 2016 that universities around the country faced the full reality of the violence facing the women on their campuses, and in the country. In response to the protests, Stellenbosch University and the University Currently Known as Rhodes set up task teams to investigate the sexual violence women face on their respective campuses. They released reports with recommendations of how to improve the lived realities of the students at their universities. At universities, party rape and date rape are common. The victims often know the perpetrator and often have to coexist with them on the same campus. It is therefore imperative that students who face any form of discrimination, harassment or violence have options for recourse. It is from policy documents of the universities and interviews with key informants that a clearer understanding can be gained on how successful these conflict resolution channels are.The ways that students and institutions respond to the presence of rape culture on university campuses in South Africa is at the heart of this thesis. Rape culture can be understood as the attitudes, perceptions and stereotypes that normalise sexual violence. The research seeks to examine the effectiveness of the interventions which were implemented following the appointment of task teams and the release of their recommendations. Utilising a feminist methodology and a collection of secondary and primary data, which was collected through interviews with key informants, this study seeks to investigate the task teams set up at Stellenbosch University and the University Currently Known as Rhodes. Due to the nature of the thesis, a theoretical feminist framework is used to understand the social conditions that enable a rape culture to survive. Liberal, intersectional and radical feminist scholars are drawn upon to contextualise violence against women in a patriarchal society. South Africa being an exceptionally violent society, rape, rape culture and gender-based violence are common in the country. They are part and parcel of the fabric of our society. The task teams helped to name the problem of rape culture and ensure universities responded to the student protests. Part of their recommendations have been implemented. At UCKAR, policy came as a direct result of the task team, while at Stellenbosch the current policy preceded the protests. Of the recommendations made, approximately half have been implemented so far at each university. UCKAR focused on policy change and student and staff training and sensitisation. Stellenbosch University focused on creating opportunities for training and sensitisation for both students and staff. The task teams, therefore, played a role in challenging the rape culture at both institutions, building off of the momentum of the student protests. However, it will take massive systematic change to unstitch the cloth and create a society in which rape and sexual violence are not predicable outcomes to being woman.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In Suid-Afrika het verkragting en geslagsgeweld tot buitengewone epidemiese vlakke gestyg. Verkragtings en seksuele teistering op universiteitskampusse is ook nie ’n nuwe verskynsel nie. Die statistiek hieroor is egter nie altyd betroubaar nie weens die onder raportering van hierdie misdade en die lae skuldigbevindingsyfers wat veroorsaak dat hierdie misdade nie aangemeld word nie. Beide die staat en universiteite reageer met traagheid op dié krisis wat vrouens in die gesig staar. Dit was eers na ’n reeks studente optogte in 2015 en 2016 dat universiteite regtig die werklikheid en erns van die geweld teen vrouens op universiteitskampusse, en in die land, begin besef het. Ingevolge die studente optogte het Stellenbosch Universiteit enUniversiteit voorheen bekend as Rhodes Universiteit taakspanne aangestel om geslagsgeweld op hul onderskeie kampusse te ondersoek. Hierdie taakspanne het verslae uitgereik met voorstelle vir die verbetering van studente se lewenswerklikhede op hul kampusse. By universiteite kom verkragtings tydens partytjies/gesellighede en afspraak verkragtings algemeen voor. Die slagoffer ken gewoonlik die oortreder en moet ook met hom/haar op dieselfde kampus saamleef. Dit is daarom noodsaaklik dat studente wat enige vorm van diskriminasie, teistering of geweld ervaar, hulle op een of ander oplossing kan beroep. Die beleidsdokumente van die universiteite en die onderhoude met sleutel informante verskaf duidelikheid oor hoe suksesvol hierdie konflikoplossingskanale is.Die spilpunt van hierdie tesis is die wyse waarop studente en instansies op die teenwoordigheid van ’n verkragtingskultuur op universiteitskampusse reageer. Verkragtingskultuur verwys o.a. na die houdings, persepsies en stereotipes wat seksuele of geslagsgeweld normaliseer. Hierdie studie beoog om te bepaal watter intervensies voorgestel is om die verkragtingskultuur op universiteitskampusse stop te sit, na aanleiding van die aanstelling van die taakspanne en hul voorstelle. Deur ’n feministiese metodologie te gebruik, poog hierdie studie om veral ondersoek in te stel oor die bogenoemde taakspanne wat by Stellenbosch Universiteit en Rhodes Universiteit ingestel is. Om die sosiale omstandighede wat ’n verkragtingskultuur laat voortbestaan te verstaan, word daar ook gebruik gemaak van ’n teoretiese raamwerk wat in die feminisme gegrond is. Daar word op liberale, interseksionele en radikale feminisme gesteun om geweld teen vrouens in ’n patriargale samelewing te kontekstualiseer. Omdat Suid-Afrika ’n besonders gewelddadige samelewing is, is verkragting, verkragtingskultuur en geslagsgeweld nie besonders aan die land nie. Dit is ’n geïntegreerde deel van samelewingskultuur. Die taakspanne het gehelp om die probleem van verkragtingskultuur bloot te lê en te verseker dat universiteite op die studenteoptogte reageer. Van die taakspanne se voorstelle is ook reeds geïmplementeer. By Rhodes Universiteit is die beleidsverandering ‘n direkte uitvloeisel van die taakspan se bevindinge terwyl Stellenbosch se beleid die proteste voorafgegaan het. Sowat die helfte van die onderskeie taakspanne se voorstelle is tot dusver by beide universiteite geïmplimenteer. Rhodes Universiteit fokus veral op beleidsveranderinge en die opleiding en sensitisering van studente en personeel. Stellenbosch Universiteit spits hom toe op die skepping van geleenthede vir opleiding en sentisering van studente en personeel. By beide universiteite het die taakspanne ‘n rol gespeel en voortgebou op die momentum van die studente proteste oor hoe die verskragtingskultuur aangespeek word. Dit gaan egter grootskaalse, stelselmatige veranderinge verg om ’n samelewing te skep waarin die voorspelbare uitkoms van vrouwees nie uitloop op verkragting en geslagsgeweld nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109895
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