Students of Stellenbosch University gathered at the Rooiplein yesterday (28 April) to share their experiences of rape culture and show solidarity with their fellow students at Rhodes University.
Some of the women were naked from the waist up and had stuck black tape over their breasts, while others were in their underclothes; most carried posters that read, "still not asking for it". They were emphasising that women's bodies belong to themselves and that they decide when and where they remove their clothes.
Some of the experiences and opinions shared were that rape culture is a national problem, that women students feel afraid on campus, that campus security does not offer sufficient protection or is not properly trained to deal with incidents, and that support on campus for the victims of sexual violence is often lacking.
One of the students said that women were sometimes guilty of placing the blame on victims of rape by asking questions such as, What was she doing there alone at that time of night?
The students urged their fellow students and the staff of the university to do some introspection and stand up against rape culture.
SU rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers pleaded earlier this month for the Matie community, to stand together to end rape culture. In his video message Prof De Villiers asks Maties to take a stand for social justice.
"Let's work together to create communities where everyone – men and women – feel safe and are not exposed to disrespect and violent crimes. We can do it if we show solidarity on this issue. So, that's my appeal to students and staff, to the University as a whole. Let's take a stand against rape and gender violence. Let's take a stand against sexism and the objectification of women. Let's take a stand for social justice."