Cape Peninsula University of Technology

03/20/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/20/2023 01:24

CPUT hosts Research Indaba on GBV in Higher Education

CPUT recently hosted its first Research Indaba on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Higher Education under the theme: Crafting trends, patterns and awareness intervention to combat GBV.

The purpose of the two-day event, which coincided with International Women's Day, was to share lessons, strategies, interventions, practices and research agendas on:

  • Enhancing, integrated, multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration on gender equality and women empowerment to combat GBV in higher education.
  • Dealing with changed behaviours, social norms and interventions that drive GBV for students and staff.
  • Enhancing sustainable and survivor-centred response, care and support services for students and staff.
  • Sustaining, responsive, efficient, safe and responsive campus protection.
  • Ensuring evidence-based research and integration of research focus areas; and
  • Integrating realist evaluation approaches aimed at developing GBV interventions to existing social problems to bring about social change.

The keynote speakers on the first day were Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Hon. Buti Manamela and Prof Mzikazi Nduna, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Fort Hare, who addressed the topic of Sustainable Development Goals and GBV: Locating the Higher Education Sector.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, welcomed attendees and said that to give effect to the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation's Policy Framework to address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System, CPUT has put in place a high-level GBV Committee, which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor.

He said the institution maintains a zero-tolerance stance on GBV.

Manamela, said that according to the World Health Organisation, over a quarter of women aged between 15 and 49 years, who have been in a relationship, have been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner at least once in their lifetime since age 15.

"They also observe that globally as many as 38 percent of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners so this is actually very scary."

He said the post-school education and training sector has been deeply affected by the scourge of gender-based violence.

"As a department, we regard gender-based violence as a national emergency. Together with our entity, Higher Health, over the years, we've made a number of policy, institutional and programmatic interventions, all of which are intended to create a safe and secure environment for students and staff in the PSET sector.

"We are implementing various programmes and support structures for students and frontline staff at institutions of higher learning. The programmes are offered on 420 campuses across the country."

An emotional candle lighting ceremony in honour of GBV Victims was also held, where CPUT staff member, Flora Buffet shared "HerStory" from the GBV survivor" from her childhood. The guests, which included students, were welcomed by the Vice-Chancellor, who condemned "every act of gender-based violence", saying: "Not at CPUT."

"Let's create an environment where all of us can live in peace and harmony…" Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships, Dr David Phaho, provided insight into eradicating GBV through Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships aligned to Vision 2030 - One Smart CPUT. The CPUT Arts Society showcased a gender-based violence short drama just before thel candle lighting moment.

The last session was held on the second day, and idealt with multi-sectoral partnerships and collaborations to enhance social, political, and economic consequences of gender inequality and gender-based violence. In his comment, Student Representative Council (SRC) member, Xolani Booi, voiced his "happiness" with CPUT management's effort in fighting GBV and its decision to host such an event. "We are happy with the response we are receiving [from the management] and today there is this event, and we knew about it before it happened … We are happy that we're not surprised when things are happening in this university, we're part of the decision making in this university."

Xolani also acknowledged the existing "good working relations" between the student leadership and Acting Dean of Student Affairs, Nonkosi Tyolwana who had earlier made a presentation on: Localising response to National Strategic Plan on GBV and Femicide in Higher Education: A CPUT Case Study.

The speakers included Advocate Lizelle Africa from Sexual Offences and Community Affairs: National Prosecuting Authority. Africa provided a presentation on: GBV Reporting protocol and training approaches to enhance the implementation of the GBV Policy: A CPUT Case Study. Director: HERS- SA, Brightness Mangolothi talked about "women academics' bullying experiences in higher education as a manifestation of GBV". "It's harmful, it has a negative impact on you who is in the receiving end." Mangolothi said GBV is not only about sexual harassment, and she said the abuse of power and workplace bullying is another form of GBV.