Now I’m writing this at 00:03 while eating a sandwich, and there are multiple issues which I can discuss at length such as our awesome sci-fi and fantasy edition, which you have in your hands right now, and I hope you enjoy and
But an issue that I feel like can never be talked about enough is GBV and safety – especially in university spaces, where I think there is a collective feeling that A LOT gets shoved under the rug .I am a veteran student and I remember all the experiences shared in the Aula in 2019, and how nothing has felt like it has changed. I feel like students have been confronted with the same issues at UP for years, with the only real changes that I have noticed is an increase in our fees. Now this might be melo-dramatic of me to say, but it’s hard to say any real change has occurred when we are confronted with our lack of safety on a daily basis.
Recently our previous editor, Kayla, moved to the Netherlands, and she has shared her experience living overseas as a woman. Dare I say how “safe” she feels? She can walk alone at 4 a.m through the streets, and although this is amazing, I cannot help but feel jealousy at the lack of safety we as students, but especially as South African women, feel on a daily basis. Not only this, but the “rumours” we hear constantly circling on campus (I use the word rumours, because I’m not trying to get sued).
Rumours like locks in private accommodations not working, allowing men and security guards to walk into the rooms of female students uninvited.
Rumours like certain deans sending out mass emails mourning the loss of an accused rapist, yet allegedly not informing the victims of their alleged rapist’s return to campus.
Rumours like lecturers inappropriately touching students, or offering them benefits in exchange for certain things. I don’t need to elaborate on that one.
Although a majority of us hear these rumours floating around campus, these incidents are not isolated and are reflective of the issues faced by so many past and present students.
As an editorial of mainly women, it has become a huge topic of discussion in our office as of late, a discussion we hope to emphasise in our paper. We hope to assist in creating a safe space for these conversations and the reporting of these issues, especially following the work of other student organisations during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in early April.
I hope that April was, and can be, a reminder of the power of conversation, and the power we hold as youth and as students to make positive changes in our communities.
Images taken during SpeakOut’s peaceful march during Sexual Assault Awareness Week
Photos: Jaime Lamb