A new initiative called Tuks Against Women Abuse was launched last week Wednesday by the Department of Student Affairs.
Head of Student Support Dr Madeleine Nolte held a women abuse seminar for the launch as the first step towards introducing this new initiative.
Lerato Mafuya, a fourth-year LLB student at Tuks, came up with the idea to establish a women abuse support structure at Tuks. Mafuya explained that this initiative was driven by the recent incidents of two female Tuks students who were allegedly murdered by their respective partners earlier this semester. Mafuya further explained that as a past victim of an abusive relationship herself, she was deeply unsettled by the news and felt very concerned about the lack of proper support structures available at the university to students caught in abusive relationships.
Mafuya approached Dr Nolte at the beginning of this month to ask whether Student Support would be willing to form part of this initiative.
Dr Nolte said that emotional support forms a crucial part of the services offered by Student Support and that they were more than willing to support the initiative.
“Students have a big need to know more about relationships,” Dr Nolte said. She said that not all students received a proper example of how a healthy relationship functions at home and therefore these students often battle to judge whether a relationship is healthy or not.
Dr Nolte explained that Tuks Against Women Abuse’s function will be twofold: the first being to empower students with the necessary skills to handle relationship challenges in a healthy way. Secondly, it will serve as a platform for both women and men in abusive relationships to speak out and receive active emotional support and relationship guidance.
Director of Student Affairs Dr Matete Madiba also agreed to support this initiative and aims to implement it as a proper support service offered by UP.
“I think UP is taking the matter seriously now after what has happened. I am overjoyed by the positive response [from the university],” Mafuya said.
Illustration: Modeste Goutondji