Shock at varsities' high rate of rape

Women protest against sexual violence at the court appearance of former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana. Institutions of higher learning have been identified as hunting grounds for rapists.
Women protest against sexual violence at the court appearance of former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana. Institutions of higher learning have been identified as hunting grounds for rapists.
Image: Alon Skuy

The rape culture at universities has again been thrust into the spotlight after it emerged that no less than 48 rape incidents were reported last year.

The universities that recorded the highest number of rape cases include University of Cape Town (UCT) with nine cases, Walter Sisulu University (WSU) with seven cases, Tshwane University of Technology with six cases, Nelson Mandela University with five cases and the University of Johannesburg with four cases.

Higher education and training minister Naledi Pandor revealed the statistics in a parliamentary question by the EFF.

Spokesperson for WSU Yonela Tukwayo confirmed there were initially seven cases that were reported in their campuses but one was withdrawn at a later stage.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the number included both rape and sexual assault cases.

"UCT is committed to fighting this scourge and as an institution we recognise our responsibility to dealing with and eliminating sexual assault and rape on campus," said Moholola. A 22-year-old UCT student said her life had not been the same since she was sexually assaulted by a fellow first-year student.

"It was on a Sunday and [was out] on orientation, but when we came back the bus had already left.

"I asked one of the male first years to wait [for me]. We went to his room and he started touching me. For the first few minutes I was almost paralysed, I tried to get him off but he overpowered me.

"He managed to undress me and that is when I screamed my lungs out," she said.

Pandor's spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the minister has asked for the finalisation of a policy and strategy framework as part of a response to challenges faced by higher learning institutions.

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