News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
18 May 2017
5:09 am

UP to take disciplinary measures against picketers who displayed ‘insulting’ messages

Virginia Keppler

UP spokesperson said they condemned any and all derogatory and offensive behaviour against women.

Photo: Fezekile Msimang.

The University of Pretoria will institute disciplinary procedures against students who held up placards with “derogatory” and “insulting” messages aimed at women during the Serrie 2017 singing and dancing finals on Tuesday night.

READ THE INITIAL STORY HERE: Shockingly derogatory placards insulting women cause outrage at Tuks

Earlier, about 100 female students, some of them topless, protested against rape and sexual violence on campus.

UP spokesperson Rikus Delport said: “We condemn any and all derogatory and offensive behaviour against women in the strongest possible terms.

“The university is currently looking into the matter and will act against anyone found guilty of offensive behaviour against women.”

Serrie is an annual cultural event. Tshegetso Morakame Moepi, who is involved in the movement against rape and sexual harassment on the UP campus, said they were concerned.

“What happened last night was just a complete and absolute violation against women and, especially, against victims of rape and sexual violence.

“This is victimisation upon victimisation. It is degrading,” she said.

Another female student said they would take the matter up with management.

“The fact that there are women among the people who held up the placards is of great concern, because it shows that the rape culture has become so normal that even other women objectified women,” she said.

“I was one of those women who was protesting on Tuesday to say that we are frightened to walk around campus. We are not going to be friendly any more. We need management to take us seriously or we will challenge the organisation,” she said.

Delport said the university’s sexual harassment and rape policy was currently under review and inputs received from the #SpeakOutUP campaign have been included.

“We did engage with students last year to improve awareness as part of our ongoing campaign against sexual violence, which is being repeated this year.

“The university has provided support to all students who have reported rape.

“We are aware of about three cases, however, [where] in some instances, the survivors have declined to involve the police.”

He said students could report incidents of sexual violence to any UP staff member.

“The university has introduced three sexual harassment officials and established the UP Careline, 0800-747-747, which offers students support in instances of trauma associated with rape and sexual violence.”


PICS: Naked protest against UP campus rapes

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