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Workshop empowers UL ambassadors in the fight against Gender-Based Violence

The University of Limpopo (UL) Gender Desk is actively combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) with strategic initiatives that involves trained ambassadors acting as first responders to GBV cases

In a recent workshop, the University focused on refining the skills of GBV ambassadors, ensuring their effectiveness in addressing the complex issues surrounding GBV cases amongst the University community.

Rev. Dr Ngoako Rapakwana, Director at UL Gender Desk, emphasised the significance of caring for both the Gender Desk and its ambassadors. Dr Rapakwana highlighted the essential role ambassadors play in curbing GBV on campus and stressed the importance of fostering a supportive environment amongst colleagues.

“Recognising that at times, we may unintentionally make remarks about each other that are hurtful and have the potential to contribute to a toxic work environment, as part of our initiative to eradicate GBV, the office will conduct a seminar for staff members to be workshopped about better ways of addressing each other without hurting one another,” she emphasised.

Adding to the shared responsibility approach hinted by Dr Rapakwana, Nokuthula Ndou, a Social Worker at UL’s Student Health and Wellness Centre, highlighted the importance of collective action to change attitudes and behaviours around GBV.

“Awareness is crucial, even if it may appear ineffective,” Ndou said. She also noted that some students resort to self-harm as a coping mechanism. “It is essential to be vigilant about individuals arriving at work or school with unexplained bruises,” she cautioned. ?

?Ndou suggested that abusers often grapple with low self- esteem, utilising abuse to assert superiority over the vulnerable. “Addressing this multifaceted issue requires collaborative efforts to establish a supportive environment where individuals feel secure enough to speak up and seek help.”

She also emphasised the significance of addressing root causes, such as gender inequality and toxic masculinity, "recognising the intricacies of the challenge, yet simultaneously underscoring its indispensability in establishing a safe and healthy campus community," Ndou advised.

Dr Mpho Modipane, an Academic Development practitioner at the Centre for Academic Excellence at UL discussed challenging cases involving women in long-term relationships. She highlighted situations where negotiation for protection becomes difficult, particularly when partners exhibit narcissistic and rebellious behaviour, leaving women vulnerable to diseases. “Such cases require specialised interventions and support,” Modipane said.

Prince Mangwa, an Administrative Assistant Officer at University’s Postgraduate Office and GBV ambassador shared his motivation for breaking the stigma around men discussing sensitive topics like GBV. As a young man, Mangwa aspires to be a voice for the voiceless and contribute to positive change. “Through my role as an ambassador, I aim to foster a community that models healthy and respectful relations, ultimately creating a safer and more supportive environment for all students on campus,” he pledged.
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By Kgabo Selepe


Date created: 2024-03-12 15:15:06