The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) of Stellenbosch University (SU) stands in solidarity with those protesting against the epidemic of gender-based violence in South Africa. We acknowledge the distress, sadness, fear and frustration of our students and staff. We know that much work needs to be done for us to achieve healing as a nation and recognise that addressing the continued violations against women, and other vulnerable groups, is an essential part of this process.
We wish to express our support to students and staff who would like to attend the Gathering Against Gender-based Violence at Parliament on Thursday 5 September and encourage our respective environments to make provision for those wish to attend the gathering. Please note that the usual processes apply, namely that staff members should apply for annual leave and students should fill in forms for leave of absence.
As we mourn the tragic loss of the most recent victims, we also remember the thousands of women and children who are abused, attacked, raped and killed every year. Many of our colleagues, as health care practitioners, and our students are confronted with the pain of victims and their families on a daily basis. This contributes to the mental strain our colleagues and students experience. We need to continue to have open conversations regarding this issue and commit to engagement with all role-players on how we can better respond to this crisis.
Students who are in need of counselling or psychological support are encouraged to contact the Centre for Student Counselling and Development at the Tygerberg campus on (021) 938 9590 or the ER24 crisis service at (010) 205 3032. If you need assistance on our campus or would like to request an accompaniment service to your residence or vehicle after hours please contact Campus Security on (021) 938 9507. Any incidences of unfair discrimination, harassment or gender-based violence can be reported to the SU Equality Unit by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, please be advised that in light of recent events, we have decided to postpone the launch of the Faculty charter that was due to take place tomorrow, until further notice.
Prof Jimmy Volmink, on behalf of the Dean’s Management Team