18 May 2017

South Africa: Makers of Sexist Tuks Posters Face Suspension

The male students from the University of Pretoria (UP) who held up sexist posters at female students during a residence event, face suspension.

The university is currently in the process of identifying the student who will be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation into the matter.

The offensive posters which read: "Personality only gets you so far, thereafter you must swallow", "Nice thigh gap, can I fill it", "I am a gentlemen, I will let you cum first", "Spit or swallow", "I hope you can like it in the Gat [buttocks] ne?" and "There's better uses for that mouth" were held up during a Serrie residence competition on Tuesday evening.

Female students had to perform a dance in front of a crowd, to be judged by a panel of judges. These posters were allegedly meant to be a distraction to the dancers during their routine.

UP spokesperson Candice Jooste said their legal division have launched an investigation into the ordeal and that the male students are in the process of being identified and will subsequently be suspended.

'Clear message'

Jooste added that they welcomed the decision by the TuksRes Sub-Council to withdraw residences from the final of the Serrie Competition and commend them on the swift action they have taken to condemn the behaviour of a few students during a Serrie event.

"This will send a clear message that derogatory and offensive behaviour against women will not be tolerated as it does not form part of the university's values," said Jooste.

"Appropriate steps will be taken against those found guilty. We look forward to working with students to create greater awareness around the different forms of abuse."

Attorney Tracy Lomax said while a case could be made that these posters breached the Sexual Offences Act, it may be too far removed to be seen as a breach of the act.

"Section 55 of the Sexual Offences Act says it is an offence to attempt, conspire with another person it incite another person to commit a sexual offense under this act. The penalty is the same as if you had committed the act," said Lomax.

"It is arguable that certain of the posters could be viewed in this way but unless and until a particular act of incitement is tied to a particular act, in respect of a particular victim, I think it's too remote to be seen as a breach of the act."

Social media outrage

Lomax added that the behaviour is completely unacceptable and that the university should now step in and discipline these students as strongly as they disciplined students who in 2016 interrupted lectures because both actions result in trauma to other students.

"It may also be time, in light of this incident and the spiralling rape statistics, and the very real fear which most women live with, daily, for the law to be developed to outlaw statements which are intended to, or have the effect of, inducing in women fear, humiliation or degradation."

"The posters used were no less objectionable than racial slurs are, and the men who participated in this mass assault on women's safety should be condemned, as well as educated. Their actions evidence a remarkably poor EQ," Lomax said.

People took to social media to show their outrage while others defended the actions of the male students.

One Facebook user Elsje Nothnagel said: "Let's see, a 20 year old something guy made a tongue-in-the-cheek joke at a cultural even as has been tradition for many years. I think his future will be just fine."

Karishma Ramdev said: "Maybe he [one of the poster wielding students] must be evicted from res and banned from res activity."

Jooste said the University was unaware of this practice having taken place before.

Source: News24

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