Wednesday, 11 April 2018

CPUT takes stand against gender-based violence

STOP THE CYCLE: CPUT is saying “No” to gender-based violence STOP THE CYCLE: CPUT is saying “No” to gender-based violence

CPUT is taking a stand against gender-based violence with the development of a new policy. The HIV/Aids Unit, in collaboration with the Student Counselling Department, Dr Navindhra Naidoo, Acting Head of the Emergency Medical Sciences Department and student interest groups led by Chad Chippe from the Bachelor of Emergency Medical Care programme have joined hands to draft an Institutional Position Statement on gender-based violence.

“Currently, one woman is killed by her intimate partner every eight hours, the highest incidence in the world,” says Melanie Marais, Head of the HIV/Aids Unit. “There is a national drive that universities must ensure it has an updated gender-based violence policy in place. Gender-based violence happens at HEIs including our own institution and we would like to see CPUT be a safe place for all students and staff where human rights are respected by everyone.”

The institution’s Sexual Harassment Policy was recently reviewed and Marais says it will be recommended that it be renamed as the Gender-Based Violence Policy with sub-headings, namely intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and stalking, sexual assault and rape. A number of workshops were held during 2017 and a final draft was presented to various departments on March 20.

The main objectives of the policy will include ensuring the safety of the CPUT community by putting in place and maintaining the necessary safety infrastructure; comprehensive, educative and preventative programs toward raising awareness of human rights. It will also aim to ensure there is a specialised but accessible procedure for reporting cases of gender-based violence and strive to ensure that there is a comprehensive, specialised medical and psychosocial support and other appropriate responses for survivors of gender-based violence.

“The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Prof Anthony Staak, will present the Policy at the Deans Forum. It will also be forwarded to the Registrar’s office and via a link to all students and staff,” says Marais.

The GBV policy is now ready for submission to the Management Committee for review and comments. Staff and students will soon see the first draft being circulated for their input before it is submitted to Council for approval. “The planned launch date will be August 18, the weekend of the 2018 Young Women Leadership Conference taking place on the Bellville Campus once approval is obtained,” says Marais. She appealed to more men to lend their support to the fight against gender-based violence.

Staff and students can send an email to maraisme@cput.ac.za to find out how they can get involved.

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design Faculties.