Author: Corporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Anél Lewis]
Stellenbosch University (SU) has bolstered its commitment to the fight against gender-based violence by accepting the Ring for Peace Cape Trust’s (RfPCT) invitation to actively participate in establishing the SU INSPIRE (Initiative for Non-violence, Support, Prevention, Intervention, Research, and Education) facility within the Stellenbosch GBV Centre. Located in Ida’s Valley in Stellenbosch, the facility is a collaboration with RfPCT, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the provincial Department of Social Development, the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness, and South African Police Services (SAPS). It includes an NPA Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC), with extended emergency accommodation for victims of GBV.
The location of the Stellenbosch GBV Hub within the Cape Winelands is significant, says Dr Jill Ryan, coordinator for gender non-violence at SU’s Equality Unit, as this region has one of the higher rates for hospital-reported sexual assault of females outside the central Cape Town area. “With the recently released SAPS crime statistics for the period July till September 2023, we find that though there had been a 35,9% decrease of sexual offences, rape statistics are still persistently high, with 10 516 rape incidents, similar to last year’s reported cases for the same period (10 590 cases). Thus, the establishment of the GBV/Non-Violence Facility will dramatically address pertinent needs not only of national concern, but also for local impact.”
TCCs are one-stop facilities that provide comprehensive support for victims of rape and sexual abuse. Jaco Greeff Brink, head of SU’s Equality Unit and INSPIRE project founder, notes that there are only 57 TCCs in the country - not enough to support the 155 Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Violence SAPS units. The Ida’s Valley TCC will be one of only a few in the Cape Winelands District. Currently, the closest TCC for this community is the Khayelitsha Hospital or Karl Bremer Hospital in Bellville.
“SU’s INSPIRE facility proposes a strategic response to address the root causes of GBV and foster a culture of non-violence. By combining research, learning, teaching, and community engagement initiatives, the facility aims to create sustainable and impactful interventions using a transdisciplinary approach to address national challenges coupled with immediate contextual impact,” explains Brink. “The long-term goals envisioned for this facility would be to establish a global network of researchers, academics, and practitioners studying and promoting non-violence; and to provide training and capacity-building programs for individuals and organisations.”
Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU, says the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign which started on 25 November shines a spotlight on GBV, but real and sustained action requires a long-term solution. “SU’s vision is to be a leading research-intensive university that addresses societal challenges. GBV is without a doubt a serious challenge, so a facility that focuses on risk factors, interventions, and health outcomes of GBV, particularly in the Western Cape, will have a significant impact. This initiative demonstrates collaborative transdisciplinary, cross-faculty research, learning and teaching potential. It will uniquely position SU as a leading partner within non-violence and GBV. In fact, every single day should remind us of GBV and the need to have a society that allows everyone to be the best version of themselves in a safe and free environment.”
- SU's Equality Unit reports to Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, and implements SU's policies on unfair discrimination, harassment, and HIV/Aids. It also is committed to dealing with social injustice. Students and staff can report all forms of unfair discrimination, sexual harassment, gender-based violence, victimisation and abuse to the Unit. The Unit also provides staff and students with services, training and interventions to combat gender violence and HIV/Aids (prevention, testing and counselling), and gives support with issues related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and allies (LGBTQIA+) community. Click here to visit the Equality Unit’s website.
- SU students and staff can report incidents of unfair discrimination and harassment, including racism, victimisation, sexual victimisation, sexual abuse, gender and identity discrimination, any form of sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and victimisation, including sexual harassment, stalking, rape, and sexual coercion, here.
- The integrated Stellenbosch GBV Centre is located at the corner of Old Helshoogte Road and Protea Street in Ida’s Valley.
- View a video about the facility
Photograph: Henk Oets