thinking beyond

Sexual harassment and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a global problem, occurring in all settings, including online. It is a profound and widespread problem in South Africa, impacting on almost every aspect of life.

The Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) recognise that SGBV serves to reinforce and legitimise social, political and economic inequalities and power relations in society, affecting the most vulnerable in society.

CUT’s Statement of Intent

The Central University of Technology commits itself to provide a safe institutional environment where all may learn, work and go about their duties and activities free from sexual harassment, sexual violence, gender harassment, gender bullying, sexual assault, relationship violence, other forms of gender related misconduct and associated claims of retaliation.

Sexual and gender-related misconduct undermines the dignity and autonomy of those victimised and erodes mutual trust and respect, which are essential to personal, academic and professional wellbeing. Sexual and gender related misconduct constitute a serious disciplinary offence, both in terms of these guidelines and the law, and will not be permitted, condoned or tolerated at the Central University of Technology. Disciplinary action, including summary dismissal or academic exclusion may result after following due process.

The Central University of Technology has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual and gender related misconduct. It recognises that it has an obligation to put in place reasonable measures to ensure, as far as possible, the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff as part of its institutional and academic duty of care.

The focus is on the Central University of Technology commitment to preventing sexual and gender related misconduct. The following documents can be referenced:

  1. CUT policy (PDF) and procedure (PDF)
  2. the South African Constitution and Bill of Rights (PDF) which provide for the right to equality, dignity, freedom and security of person;
  3. the National Strategic Plan on GBV and Femicide (PDF);
  4. the Department of Higher Education and Training Policy Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System (PDF), as well as specific laws governing labour practice, and sexual offences.

Behaviour | Consent | Forms of harassment

Inappropriate behaviour and guidance on how to avoid it

What behaviour constitutes sexual and gender-related misconduct?

When we say misconduct it includes physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct. Let’s unpack the behaviours:

1. Unwelcome, unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.

Making any person feel discomfort, offended, humiliated, embarrassed and/or intimidated is not ok. It creates an environment that is hostile, threatening or demeaning for someone.
Avoid such behaviour by paying attention to what the person says to you or their body language. Be respectful and attentive to others.

2. Harassed because of gender, being gender non-conforming, or identifying as part of the LGBTQI community.

This may be sexual in nature or not.
Respect the views and choices of others. We are all free to choose. That is captured in the constitution of South Africa.

What is consent and what is not

Silence does not imply consent. Consent must be explicit.

  • In any instance of sexual activity, it is the responsibility of the individuals involved to ensure that everyone gives consent freely and without coercion.
  • Having said yes before does not imply future or ongoing consent.
  • Relenting and submitting does not equate to consent.
  • Being in an ongoing relationship is not consent.
  • Accepting a social invitation is not consent.
  • Judgement being adversely affected through the use of alcohol, medicines, and/or drugs or being asleep, unconscious – are all states of diminished capacity to give consent.

Understanding the many forms of harassment

It’s important to understand the various forms. 

Verbal harassment is unwelcome, unwanted and inappropriate verbal conduct such as advances, inferences, propositions or pressure for sexual activity or offensive flirtations and requests for sex.

Non-verbal harassment is the inappropriate display or transmission of gender-degrading material, stalking, flashing, pornography or sexually suggestive pictures including male and female pin-ups, offensive objects or written materials inter alia by text message, email, or through social media. Open or covert hostility on the grounds of gender or sexual orientation.

Cyber revenge being posting or re-posting revealing images of a former partner or another person.

Sexual assault is sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim.

Physical abuse is actual or potential unwanted physical contact perpetrated by another person.

Sexual exploitation involves a member of the CUT community in sexual activity in exchange for money, gifts, food, accommodation, affection, status, admission, higher grades or promotion, or anything else that they or their family and/or loved ones need.

Sexual favouritism is when a person who is in a position of authority rewards only those who respond to their sexual advances.

Sexual victimisation is when a person is victimised or intimidated for refusing to submit to sexual advances or other any other form of sexual request.

Discriminatory abuse is motivated by discriminatory and oppressive attitudes towards people on the grounds of disability, gender and gender identity and reassignment, age, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, and political beliefs.

Abuse of power or quid pro quo harassment that covers a wide range of behaviour related to the power dynamics in the campus community, workplace or home.

Grooming can initially appear to be conducted within the context of the academic project but are taken with the overall aim of befriending and establishing a psychological and/or material connection with a person in order to facilitate subsequent sexual harassment or sexual assault and/or to hinder the reporting of various acts of harassment or assault.

Creation of a hostile work or learning environment occurring where the purpose or effect of the conduct is to interfere with another person’s performance at work or study.

Intimate partner violence and domestic abuse being when an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour takes place.

Trafficking / kidnapping is when a member of the campus community is delivered, recruited, transported, transferred, harboured, sold, exchanged or leased to another person for the purposes of exploitation. CUT has committed to a safe institutional environment for all.

Contact 

In case of emergency: Bloemfontein Campus

+27 (0)51 507 3732 / +27 (0)51 507 3767 / +27 (0)723547767 (after hours)

In case of emergency: Welkom Campus

 +27 (0)57 910 3555 / +27 (0)828012085 (after hours)
Uploaded: 18 March 2022
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