The focus should be on teaching men not to rape rather than teaching womxn how to avoid getting raped.
Knockando residence have called off their block party, originally scheduled to take place on Friday September 13, to make way for a conference that seeks to address gender-based violence, xenophobia and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community on October 6, 2019.
In partnership with the Wits Development and Leadership Unit (DLU), the ‘Shintsha Ndoda’ conference is preceded by an online survey that aims to get students’ perceptions on the safety of the residence.
The survey has attracted more than 350 responses since it went up on September 11, 2019.
Tebogo Mamabolo, chairperson of the Knockando house committee, told Wits Vuvuzela, “Our belief is that as men we have failed to take accountability for rape culture, whether through participation or by remaining silent.
“We did not feel it would be appropriate to go have a celebration while womxn and other affected communities continue to suffer at the hands of men,” he said.
Project co-ordinator at DLU, Quintus Dirks, said the idea for the conference came at a crucial time when the country was facing issues of gender-based violence and xenophobia.
“Knockando house committee approached us [DLU] looking for suggestions on how they can make the party successful. This was right after the #WitsAmINext march.
“It is also refreshing because Knockando is a male residence and men are more likely to listen to other men, which is why this conference is necessary,” Dirks told Wits Vuvuzela.
The Activate Wits society will also be at the conference addressing issues relating to the queer community.
“Ours is to contribute as advisers on addressing topics around queerness, as well as the interconnectedness of these issues,” said Zanele Hlongwane, who is the outgoing chairperson of the Activate Wits society.
The conference is open to everyone “who would like to participate in becoming part of the solution”, Mamabolo said.
FEATURED IMAGE: Knockando residence aims to get students perspectives on how to improve safety for all its residents and visitors. Photo: Molebogeng Mokoka
Wits Vuvuzela, Women ‘angry, disappointed and numb’ at GBV dialogue, September 20, 2019.
Wits Vuvuzela, Stranger danger is a myth when it comes to gender-based violence, September 19, 2019.
Wits Vuvuzela, Campus Africa shines light on gender-based violence, September 13, 2019.