University of Limpopo ramps up efforts to address GBV cases

The University of Limpopo is creating space for the victims of gender-based violence (GBV) with the launch of the university’s gender desk on Wednesday.

The university’s director of gender desk, Dr Ngwako Rapakwana, the intervention was encouraged by the national Department of Higher Education.

The latest statistics indicate that GBV cases spiked at national level, showing that 902 women were killed in the last quarter and the figures are rising. Figures also show that 11 315 women became victims of rape in the last reporting period.

“The gender desk will provide services which are gender-related for both staff and students. The department decided that all the institutions of higher education and learning need to have platforms like this to address the current scourge of GBV,” said Rapakwana.

Under the theme Combating Gender Stereotype and Sexism, Rapakwana said the victims of GBV need specialised counselling, treatment and care.

“It is unfair to attend to sensitive issues like rape and murder in a space [health facility] where some people are there to cure flu. With this gender desk, we will be opening a safe space for victims to report their cases, get counseling and be referred to SAPS,” she said.

She also emphasised on the inclusion of the LGBTQI community, and said the university expects students and staff to utilise the gender desk.

“We advocate for and educate about the existence of the LGBTQI community, and we wish to have a large number of people who come out looking for help because we want to prevent GBV.

“For the country to alleviate GBV, they [the victims] should know that silence is not the answer.”

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