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A robust discussion of GBV is hosted by the Arts and Design Faculty at TUT

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A robust discussion of GBV

A robust discussion of GBV is hosted by the Arts and Design Faculty

by Gerrit Bester

2 February 2023

Educators can increase awareness among students by taking a step back and defining gender-based violence (GBV) more clearly.

A robust discussion of GBV

Among the faculty members facilitating a dialogue on GBV are (from left) Dr Laetitia Orlandi (Acting Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning), Manoko Mogoroga (Psychologist at the Gender Desk), Dr Annah Sefolosha (Director: Directorate of Health and Wellness), Stephan Potgieter (Psychologist: SDS, Faculty of Arts and Design), and Sister Victoria Malatse (HOD: Directorate of Health and Wellness)

On 19 January, Dr Laetitia Orlandi, Acting Assistant Dean: Teaching and Learning, moderated a candid discussion led by staff members of the Faculty of Arts and Design.

 

 

Artivism, the Faculty’s vision for the next five years, was launched during the dialogue. The word artivism is a portmanteau of art and activism. It aims to bring about social change through art.

A discussion about the principles of the Community of Practice (COP) of Universities against GBV, which TUT is a member of, was launched by Dr.Annah Sefolosha, Director of the Directorate of Health and Wellness, and Sister Victoria Malatse, also from Health and Wellness. Universities are urged to implement policies that proactively address societal concerns, prevent and eradicate the spread of GBV across campuses and respond to societal concerns.

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COP has developed an indicator-based tool for universities to assist them in drafting such policies and in putting forward initiatives in this regard. Dr Sefolosha and Sister Malatse briefly mentioned the tool. In addition, a mandatory and credit-bearing module addressing poverty, inequality, gender, GBV, ethics, and culture is available to first-year students. Student Representative Councils are also required to have a gender portfolio.

Nevertheless, Arts staff expressly questioned such a module, saying that “GBV is more than just a box-ticking exercise; it is a multifaceted and brutal disease that needs to be treated every day.” 

Furthermore, they provided staff and students with insight into tricky issues related to gender identification, norms, and social constructs.

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Higher Health’s recommendations led to the Development of Higher Education and Training (DHET) creating a framework to address gender-based violence last year, leading to the establishment of the Faculty of Arts and Design’s first GBV desk.

This led to Manoko Mogoroga’s joining the Faculty as a psychologist with expertise in GBV. According to her, GBV refers to damaging behavior that is directed at a particular individual based on their gender identity, stressing the importance of its psychological impact. Audience members raised several questions, concerns, and suggestions about this definition, which is becoming more complicated and changing constantly. 

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There were several things discussed, including how bullying differs from GBV, excluding other genders (especially men), implying GBV is an attack on females and physical, lacking role models and absent fathers, requiring staff training to become gender sensitive (including how they use their language), etc.

The problem has been lost sight of fundamentally by many participants. Policy does not make sense to me. I believe we should teach respect by not always tiptoeing around each other.”

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Although participants found more questions than answers, they agreed that it is important to have regular conversations to contextualize GBV. Furthermore, they agreed that teachers must continue to model positive behavior by teaching diversity, tolerance, and gender equality in the classroom.

A robust discussion of GBV

Edwin Manyaka, Assistant Registrar: Student Judicial Services (centre), also participated in the dialogue.

PHOTOS: Boitumelo Choene

 

By having a safe and confidential environment, knowing the diverse student population, and clarifying the definition of GBV, a more thorough understanding could also be achieved.

  • A Transforming MENtalities Initiative will soon be launched by the government to combat sexual violence and femicide in higher education, aiming to mobilize men in the sector to become advocates for a world free from gender bias, stereotypes, violence, and discrimination. As a result of various incidents of GBV on campuses, including slayings of female students, Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, said on Tuesday, 24 January.

Regular updates and late application information can be found on TUT.

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