South Africa: Higher Education - the Sexual Assault Scourge On South Africa's Campuses


There is a blatant educational gap in what constitutes 'sexual offences' on campus, so much so that some victims don't feel sure about reporting offences.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Lebogang Masinga, a student at Stellenbosch University's (SU's) Tygerberg Medical Campus, has a good chance of bumping into her sexual offender on campus. In July 2020 a final-year medical sciences student physically and sexually assaulted her, grabbing her inappropriately several times despite her telling him to stop.

Masinga was left with a black eye. Later she posted an Instagram video.

"It took about 48 hours to get the university to respond and that's only because the students protested," Masinga says.

SU spokesperson Martin Viljoen says it may be that some feel the pace of interventions are not quick enough but various factors could influence such a perception, including that gender-based violence (GBV) is a larger societal problem and that the university is facing many other challenges. A number of interventions are currently under way at SU, he says, namely, the establishment of an Anti-GBV Steering Committee, a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Anti-GBV Working Group and training of university leaders by the Equity Office. SU...

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