TEN PERCENT of all rape cases reported in South Africa come from institutions of higher learning.
This according to Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.
Speaking at a Women’s Month roundtable hosted by Higher Health on Monday, the minister cited figures from the SA Medical Research Council
Nzimande said more than 51% of 2.5 million young people enrolled in the country’s universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges are adolescents and young women aged between 15 and 24 years.
He added that female students were a high-risk demographic for abuse and most perpetrators were known to them.
Nzimande said tackling gender-based violence (GBV) must not be left to women alone, adding men too must be taught to question and challenge gender stereotypes.
He said: “We should all commit to fighting against gender-based violence, discrimination based on gender, and patriarchal attitudes in institutions, workplaces, and homes. Men must be part of initiatives that challenge negative masculinity.”
“In many cultures, men and boys are taught from an early age that they are better than women and that they must not show emotions as real men do not cry, and boys are told to stop acting like a girl if they show emotions.”
He added accountability should not be reserved for certain abusers, saying all allegations must be reported and investigated regardless of the societal positions of the perpetrators.
“We are against rape and sexual harassment regardless of who is involved. No one is above the law, and every act must be investigated until the issue is concluded.”
Nzimande pledged his commitment in the fight against GBV in institutions of higher learning by continually engaging student leaders and stakeholders in the sector.
Image (University of Johannesburg-Soweto Campus).