n African Safety Promotion - Communicating about sexual violence on campus : a university case study - research

Volume 17 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1728-774X


South African universities are in the midst of highly visible struggles around decolonisation. Over the past two years, these struggles have foregrounded racialised, classed, gendered and other forms of exclusion. These are being challenged both by black academic staff as well as by black students. Most visibly and deeply connected, have been the challenges to the ways in which universities, as particular types of institutions, have dealt with sexual violence and harassment of its womxn1 students. In this context we ask how the University of Cape Town, as one particular case study formally communicates about sexual violence on its campus. In an archival analysis of the university’s public communications on sexual violence during 2015 and 2016, we ask what kinds of messages it conveys about violence, victims and perpetrators. We are interested in the ways in which the university positions itself in relation to the issue of sexual violence. The paper finds that the university’s institutional discourse on sexual violence produces and reproduces some of the same discourses on sexual violence in both the public and media more broadly.

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