Love‚ don't hurt - Nelson Mandela University will try to teach students not to rape

Family have confirmed that Khensani Maseko committed suicide on Friday.
Family have confirmed that Khensani Maseko committed suicide on Friday.
Image: INSTAGRAM

Mandatory training will be provided to all university students in on- and accredited off-campus residences‚ as well as all incoming 2019 student leaders‚ as part of Nelson Mandela University's attempts to tackle gender-based violence.

Rape‚ sexual harassment‚ stalking and assault are covered by the definition of gender-based violence.

Student protests over an alleged rape at the weekend led to a shutdown on the Port Elizabeth campus on Monday. Police said the 21-year-old NMU student’s boyfriend was arrested and detained after she opened a case on Saturday morning‚ but she later withdrew the case.

NMU said in a statement the alleged rape "has once again foregrounded Nelson Mandela University’s deep concerns regarding reported‚ and unreported‚ cases of gender-based violence. The university unequivocally reiterates its condemnation of acts of GBV and remains committed to working with staff and students to embed a culture of zero tolerance".

In addition to the mandatory training‚ NMU said "efforts to increase awareness of and advocate against GBV will be embedded in the student orientation programme‚ the social consciousness module for all first years‚ as well as student leadership development programmes to clearly outline expected student conduct".

Rhodes University is also turning to education to deal with instances of gender-based violence‚ following the death of third-year Bachelor of Arts student Khensani Maseko. Maseko allegedly committed suicide on Friday after reporting to the university‚ on July 30‚ that she had been raped in May.

The university’s academic programme was on Monday substituted by an alternative programme of awareness-raising and education on sexual and gender-based violence. The Grahamstown-based university said the issue of sexual consent would also be discussed in a series of talks set for Tuesday‚ which would be open to everyone on campus.

NMU said it is presently engaged in an institution-wide organisational redesign process to review the effectiveness of existing policies‚ systems‚ processes and structures. A safety app and skills training for first responders‚ to take statements and handle GBV cases sensitively‚ is on the cards.

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