05 September 2023 | Story Nicole Bongo | Photo Supplied
GBV dialogue 2023
The UFS Xhosa Student Association and Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Office joined forces to host a dialogue to enlighten students on combating gender-based violence.

The Xhosa Student Association at the University of the Free State (UFS), along with the UFS Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Office (GEADO) on its Bloemfontein Campus, recently hosted a dialogue titled ‘Aiding the Victim’, to educate students about what perpetuates gender-based violence, and inform them about UFS support services available to help fight GBV.

The discussion was held at the Education Auditorium on 25 August 2023, and students were challenged to pinpoint what GBV is and what it looks like. Balisa Nqambuza, Chairperson of the Xhosa Student Association and second-year BA student majoring in psychology and philosophy, said, “There is a need to have these tough conversations, as they provide insight on how to combat GBV in the future... We have had enough talks about the problem, and it is very important to start speaking about solutions that inform people of what they can do when encountering GBV.” 

The event organisers said the dialogue was an opportunity for GEADO and the Xhosa Student Association to inform students about support structures within the university that provide help for students through free counselling sessions.

“The objective was to bring awareness about GBV victims amongst us, and how to assist them better, and to also highlight comprehensive approaches, as dialogues may discuss holistic approaches that address the multidimensional impact of GBV, including psychological, emotional, physical, and economic consequences,” said Pebetsi Kgole, a guest speaker and intern from GEADO.

In May 2023, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund reported a shocking rise in violence against women in South Africa, with 969 murders and 1 485 attempted murders recorded over this period. The UFS has put many structures in place to help in the fight against the scourge of GBV. 

Other support services available include a sexual offense response team made up of GEADO, Protection Services, Kovsie Health, access to psychologists and social workers, and free services to help victims feel safe in a secure environment. 

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