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The Oppidan Press #RUReferenceList Edition 3. 4 May 2016
The Oppidan Press #RUReferenceList Edition 3. 4 May 2016
The Oppidan Press #RUReferenceList Edition 3. 4 May 2016

The Oppidan Press


Edition 3. 4 May 2016

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18 April 2016

Ed 3 / The Oppidan Press / 3

Students march down to Eden Grove to disrupt lectures and encourage students to partake in
Students march down to Eden Grove to disrupt lectures and encourage students to partake in the
protest movement. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN.
Nandipha Nena Mbangula protests against
rape culture after Dr Mabizela’s f rst public an-
nouncement on the #RUreferencelist. She felt
that management did not understand the pain
of the victims. Photo: VICTORIA BRIGGS.
Dr Mabizela tries to explain to an unsatisf ed student why the university stood by its adherence to the
Constitution. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

Students attempt to explain the purpose of their protests outside the Drama Department. They are met with much resistance by the police who respond by stating the laws of the country. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN.

Dr Mabizela addresses the students in response to the f rst set of demands given to management. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

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(Ed 3) Contents

Page 2: Photostory, 18 April Page 5: #RUReferenceList Page 6: Photostory, 19 April Page 8: Vocabulary Page 9: Chapter 2.12 Page 10: Photostory, 20 April Page 12: Carla’s Statement Page 13: Interview with Natasha Page 14: Photostory, 21 April Page 16: Guilt Page 17: Identifying the enemy Page 18: Photostory, 22 April Page 20: Trigger Warnings Page 21: Editorial Page 22: Photostory, 23-24 April

“TW”: T e content of this edition may be highly triggering to many as it focuses on the issues of the protests and experiences of many that were present. We therefore wish to warn you of the content as it addresses rape, sexual assault and police brutality”


The outcry over rape culture at Rhodes University lead to national attention. #RUReferenceList lay at the centre of this coverage.

Ashleigh Dean

P rotests opposing systemic

rape culture at Rho-

des University, and the

institution’s alleged failures to address cases of sexual assault, have been ongoing since Sunday 17 April. Protests were instigated follow- ing the anonymous publication of a list of 11 Rhodes students (past and present) accused of rape and/ or sexual assault. T e list, entitled “RU Reference List”, was pub- lished on Sunday, 17 April on the Facebook page RU Queer Confes- sions, Questions and Crushes, which has since been deleted. T e post was then shared onto the Rhodes SRC Facebook page, rapidly capturing attention across campus. Students congregated and be- gan marching to the residences of some of the accused, mobilising more students on the way. Two of the accused were forcibly brought out from their residences, before assembling at Purple Square (out- side the Drama department). One of the accused was released, and the second was forced by protest- ers to remain at Purple Square until Monday morning. Barricades were erected on Prince Alfred Street during these protests, before being removed by management preceding the start of the academic day. Protesters submitted a list of demands to management around 9am, con- tinuing demonstrations through- out the day, with marches around campus mobilising students and disrupting academic activities. Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sizwe Ma- bizela’s response to the demands

at 4pm was perceived as com- placent and failing to provide a

viable solution to the demands by protesting students. Students met at 7pm to address this, concluding with the establishment of a partial shutdown: a suspension of aca- demic activities on campus, with operations such as the Health Care and Counselling Centres and dining halls operating as usual. However, management did not recognise the legitimacy of the shutdown, allowing lectures and tutorials to continue. T ese were disrupted throughout the day on Tuesday by the protestors. Students gathered at Purple Square again on Tuesday afer- noon. A #NakedProtest also took place, with many students protest- ing topless and bearing messages such as “still not asking for it” on their skin. T e situation was tense due to a strong police presence, until Mabizela persuaded the South African Police Services (SAPS) to leave. Mabizela then addressed the students, stating that police were not allowed on campus. Barricades remained up and guarded by students overnight. However, just afer 8am on Wednesday, police began shoot- ing at students with rubber bullets and discharging pepper spray and stun grenades at the Lucas Avenue and South Street en- trances to campus. Five students were arrested on various charges, including obstruction of a public road. One of the students had a panic attack in the back of a po- lice van, which was ignored by the surrounding of cers. T e students remained in the van for over an hour before being driven around town, and then taken to the Joza Police Station. Once the court received the charge sheets, the hearing proceeded, commencing

at 4pm so that the students would not be detained overnight. Campus was of cially closed on Tursday and Friday, with man- agement stating that the academic project would proceed as usual on Monday, 25 April. Members of university management laid an in- terdict against protesters, restrict- ing their legal scope of action by criminalising the disruption of lectures and the barricading of entrances to campus. T e VC gave a media-only press conference at 11am on Friday, which was fol- lowed by a press conference held by the student body and the task team appointed to address the issue. T e VC stated that the “stu- dents have a right to be angry”, and that, “one rape is too many. Rhodes University will never protect a rapist”. Mabizela also apologised for pushing a student of of the Prince Alfred street bar- ricade on Wednesday morning, in an attempt to clear the road. An open forum was held for all Rhodes students, staf , and senior management on Saturday at 3pm, which was followed by a meeting at the Drostdy Lawns with the student body, academic staf , and National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NE- HAWU), where management’s response to the demands was read out. Following a vigil held on the Sunday evening, it was decided that the best way to continue protest within the scope of the interdict was to encourage lectur- ers to use their allotted times to facilitate discussion around rape culture. T ese were supplemented by talks held by the Critical Stud- ies in Sexualities and Reproduc- tion (CSSR).

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19 April 2016

Students gather at the ‘Purple Square’ outside the Drama Department for the #NakedProtest. Numerous male and female students removed their shirts and held signs to protest against rape culture. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

to protest against rape culture. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS. While the #Nakedprotest was met with resistance from

While the #Nakedprotest was met with resistance from SAPS, protesters refused to move or be intimidated. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

The police threaten to use force if the students contravene the law. The crowd then join hands in solidarity to display their peaceful and unintimidating approach to protesting. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

approach to protesting. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS. Abongile Milani James shows her anger towards the police o

Abongile Milani James shows her anger towards the police o fcers after they intimidated and argued with her. Students were met with more resistance than expected from the police, but they maintained their convictions and stood together. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

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Vocabulary: Words to get Woke

During the protest, certain terms proved to be incredibly important. The Oppidan Press chose those that came up the most to de f ne for you.


An unjust social system that consistently places men

in positions of dominance over women. T is has a

profound e fect on society as a whole, through con-

stantly undermining women, as well as feminine traits

in both genders, and contributing to a cycle of social

and economic discrimination. T e patriarchy is subtly manifested through the lack of female leaders and the pay-gap as well as the overriding violence and microag- gressions directed at women in their daily lives.


A movement for equal rights regardless of gender.

Feminism is not about the superiority of women, but

is rather about the promotion and struggle for equality

between genders based on history of oppression of peo- ple assigned female at birth. E.g. Feminism is necessary because women are still paid less for the same work in most Western economies.

Intersectional feminism

Intersectionality, the core concept of intersectional fem- inism, is a concept used to describe the ways in which racism, sexism, homophobia etc. are interconnected and cannot be studied or examined separate from one another. For example, a white cisgendered woman could not understand, never mind represent the struggles of a black, queer woman, and this is why it is essential that all sections are considered and represented adequately

as they are all interconnected.


A type of assault usually involving sexual intercourse or

other forms of penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.

Rape culture

T is is the normalisation of male violence in our society

due to oppressive attitudes particularly with regards to gender and sexuality. Part of rape culture is the victim- blaming of sexual assault victims and slut-shaming of women’s sexuality. As said by Natasha Piprek: “Rape culture is such a huge thing, it is not just about rape either, it encompasses sexual violence and even domestic violence to an extent and just basically dominating other people, through sex.”


To give permission for something to happen. With regards to sexual consent, this is what is required to have been given by both partners before any bodily contact is made. Without this consent, these is no guarantee that each person is comfortable or willing to participate. Consent must be given and enthusiastic.


Possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men. Tese traits are expected of men and so de fne how certain people who identify as male behave as a result. It is this masculinity that the Men’s Rape Culture Talk last week questioned, and asked the individuals in the crowd to question in themselves.


Misogyny is the unfounded contempt for women based on deeply-ingrained ideologies and prejudices. It is a by-product of the patriarchal society we live in. Tere are countless examples of misogynistic behaviour ex- perienced by women in their daily lives such as sexual discrimination, sexual objecti fcation of women as well as gender-based violence.

Words by Leila Kidson, Leila Stein, Chelsea Haith and Lili Barras-Hagan

Chapter 2.12 explained

Chelsea Haith

Chapter 2.12 refers to the section of the South African Constitution that protects our right to safety and security of person. In an attempt to highlight the scourge of rape and sexual assaults at our university, members of the SRC and the Gender Action Project (GAP) joined the nationwide protest to show solidarity with rape survivors and to bring these problems to the attention of our university’s management. GAP was approached by a gender activism group at Stellenbosch Univer- sity called Unashamed in early April to collaborate on a nationwide campaign to end rape culture. T e campaign was begun at university campuses all over South Africa on Monday 11 April. At Rhodes University, members of GAP together with non-aligned students, members of the Gender Action Com- mittee (GenAct) and with the support of Activism and Transformation Coun- cillor Naledi Mashishi put up posters which featured facts about rape culture at our university as well as quotes from university management in response to rape survivors and victims reporting their assaults. T ese posters were then taken down by management and following this the organisers of Chapter 2.12 put up a large sign outside the library which read ‘WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED’. T is

protest was completely peaceful: students and staf participated by having their photograph taken with a sign that read ‘Chapter 2.12’. T e purpose of this campaign is to urge alumni, parents and interested stakeholders to take note of the problem of rape culture at universities and to write to the universities in protest. T is tactic has become necessary because students’ complaints are ignored or si- lenced by the university management or through the usually inadequate policies regarding rape and sexual harassment reporting and prosecution. Even at a more senior level, members of staf involved with the Gender Action Committee (GenAct) at Rhodes Uni- versity have been working for years to change the policies on rape and sexual harassment, to no avail, and have ex- pressed their frustration to me privately in the course of the protest. Furthermore, 2016 will be the tenth anniversary of the Silent Protest. Every year students and staf symbolically silence themselves, only to untape their mouths in the Breaking the Silence cere- mony at the end of the day, during which survivors share their stories. While the Silent Protest allows a space for sur- vivors to hear one another’s stories, to commune, heal and to create awareness about sexual violence in South Africa, it is worth considering whether the time has come for a more vocal, more public

resistance to rape culture. However, the protest action of the week 18-22 April resulted from the ac- tions of non-aligned students in response to the #RUReferenceList, and was not initiated by Chapter 2.12. While we sup- port any resistance to rape culture, it is not accurate to praise or blame (depend- ing on which side of the fence you’re on) the members, organisers or participants in Chapter 2.12 for the protest action on campus. Chapter 2.12 has already released a statement that reads:

“As Chapter 2.12 (Rhodes), we would like to state that we did not publish the ‘Reference List’ which has been circu- lated on social media networks since last night. Further, the organizers do not know the identity of the person(s) who compiled & published the list, or the intentions behind the publication.” Furthermore, I’d like to stress that all members of Rhodes University Chapter 2.12 acted in the protest in their personal capacity and not as part of the move- ment. Lastly, I’d like to reiterate a section of our statement from 20 April: “We con- tinue to support any peaceful and non- coercive anti-rape culture protests on campus. We encourage our supporters to continue showing solidarity, particularly on social media, and supporting the pro- testing students. In addition, we ask that everyone continues to support victims of sexual assault and abuse through this very di f cult time.”

Photo: Bronwyn Pretorius
Photo: Bronwyn Pretorius

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20 April 2016

Students gather at the Purple Square to discuss the events that occurred in the morning. The crowd was flled anger and disgust as their fellow students were arrested earlier that day at the barricades. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

Dr Mabizela stands in front of protesting students and asks police to stop using pepper spray and rubber bullets against students at the barricades. The police still opened f re with rubber bullets and used pepper spray on students. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN.

and used pepper spray on students. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN. Mic Halse, a Computer Science lecturer at
and used pepper spray on students. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN. Mic Halse, a Computer Science lecturer at

Mic Halse, a Computer Science lecturer at Rhodes, walks away from the police o f cers and shows that Halse is just a harmless protester. Halse has also been in the frontline of supporting the protest movement and stands alongside the students. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN.

Mercy Lynn Watama being arrested at the South Street barricade on the morning of Wednesday 20 April. Photo: JOSHUA STEIN.

Carla Botha

to the Union barricade and I could f nally open my eyes. I could see my friends standing there, but the police were standing in a line for much longer this time. I imagine this was because of the number of protesters and also the larger media presence. Teir force ampli f ed and I heard gunshots and stun grenades. Ten I saw Mercy and Natasha be-

ing dragged towards the van. Both I classify as friends. Mercy was shouting that they were hurting her and that she would not be silenced. Afer the police threw them into the van with me, all I could do was try to embrace them but I was covered in pepper spray. Mercy then started bending backwards, gasping for air. Her hands clinging to anything she could f nd. It looked like her back was going to break. She couldn’t breathe. Natasha and I started

banging the police van because we weren’t medically equipped to help her. We banged and shouted for what felt like fve full minutes but nobody came. One female police ofcer opened the van door and told us that Mercy was not having a panic attack. We couldn’t believe it. She just closed the door on us again, locking us in with our friend who we had no power to help. Somebody tried to console Mercy, reminding her to breathe ‘in/out’ at the window. But with all the shots being fred around us and shouts of confusion it was by no means adequate medi- cal care. Te police van started reversing and we even lost the ‘in/out’ lady. All I could do was lay down next to Mercy and speak to her. She is such a powerful woman and to see one of my biggest role models being triggered and then go through such an injustice was too much. Soon afer, the ambulance ar- rived and we had no knowledge of her whereabouts until the afernoon. At the police station one of the ofcers said she went to war that morning. War against who? Peaceful students crying out against injustice? I recall a Chapter 2.12 poster that said “Girls need to learn how to be frmer when they say no”. I wonder if they now realised how f rm we can be. We are saying no to rape culture. We are saying no to injustice. And our ‘no’ is so loud that it is reverberating around the world.

On the morning of my arrest I ran to help my sleep-deprived friends man a barricade. A journalist told me that the Eden Grove barricade had almost no support so I decided to go there.

Just afer I got to the barricade, staf members arrived and they were taking pictures of us. We asked them to delete the photos, as they featured survivors of rape. Later the police arrived and we were not warned as to why they were present. No member of staf came to speak to us or warn us, they just stood there and stared. Te police said they would use force to remove the barricades when we stated that we wouldn’t help them. Nonetheless, we stood

behind the barricades peacefully. Police then came from all directions with pepper spray and all I remem- ber was trying to cover my face before a police of cer shouted ‘arrest her’. Nobody ever said anything to us about the possibil- ity of being arrested. My confusion doubled afer they told me I was being arrested for public violence. All I was doing was stand there, hiding my face from their pepper spray; the exact same thing many rape victims use to fend of their rapists. Tey rounded us up and then I was handcu fed and thrown into the back of the police van. My face was burning from the pepper spray but I was only given a bottle of water afer shouting for help from my friends and once the police had removed all the barri- cades. Te van then drove to Prince Alfred street and I could still not open my eyes but had to sit alone hearing my friends scream. Nobody was arrested at the Prince Alfred barricade. Te police then drove

at the Prince Alfred barricade. T e police then drove I was only standing there, hiding

I was only standing there, hiding my face from their pepper spray; the exact same thing many rape victims use to fend of their rapists

Carla Botha

If you have any more questions feel free to ask Carla Botha.

Leila Kidson

Following her arrest, Leila Kidson speaks to Natasha Piprek on her experience of the #RUReferenceList protest and the details of her arrest.

Q: What made this protest so important to you? A: I was incredibly emotionally tied to this protest because one of my friends was date-raped by a guy we knew. He wears contact lenses, so he has eyedrops with him wherever he goes, and he spiked her drink. He led her outside and eve- ryone thought he was helping her, because everyone knows him, and everyone is friends with him. He took her out into the park next to the house, she called me the next day saying she remembers trying to smack him and telling him no, but she couldn’t do anything. She woke up a few hours later and was completely naked. She wasn’t even sure if she had been actually raped, or what exactly had happened to her. She can just remember short snippets of trying to push him of of her. She ended up not going to the police. She was so scared, her parents don’t have a lot of money, and his parents are incred- ibly rich, and she knew that if they were to go to court there might not be evidence against him. I had to sit in art class with this guy for an entire year, and literally every time I saw him I would almost be paralysed with anger. He was going around, f irting with girls, going out, and I had to look him in the eyes and know what he had done. T at’s the thing, that is what is so scary, that if someone goes to report a guy to Rhodes, how do you expect a girl to be on the same campus as a guy she has just accused of rape?

Q: How do you feel about being the face of the protest in some way? A: It is a weird feeling, opening articles and seeing myself, and it is weird being called a hero. I don’t want to blame it on race, but I think if I were a black girl the press wouldn’t have been the same. Te fact that I was wearing a white shirt also makes me seem a lot more innocent, maybe more innocent than I am.

Q: Just before your arrest, did you hear any formal warning? A: Tere were about two or three of us that were talking to the police, asking for clarity on what was happening, and what was legal and not legal. Tere was never a big announcement. If they did, it would have been more personally. At no point did anyone say we would get arrested. Tere was just “We need you guys to move now, we need you guys to move now”. I was only told at the police station what I had been arrested for, which I don’t think is legal either. Tere was so much confusion, even just within the team of police that worked with us, as to what we were being charged with and why we had been arrested. Tat’s why it feels so much more clear that it was just for intimidation.

Q: What are your hopes for the future of the protests at Rho- des? A: We need to start talking about rape culture and people need to start scrutinising leadership positions where people have been called rapists. It is kind of the same concept as for climate change to start slowing down we need leaders who care about the environment, and for sexual violence and rape to come to an end we need leaders who vouch for it. We need leaders who actually care about people.

Natasha Piprek is pulled from a barricade and pepper sprayed by the police. She is
Natasha Piprek is pulled from a barricade and pepper sprayed by the police. She is then arrested and removed from campus, along
with four other students who were protesting against the manner in which Rhodes handles rape and sexual assault cases. Photo:

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21 April 2016

Dr Vashna Jagarnath addresses students, who were encouraged to contribute to the list of demands and to agree upon the time-frames in which they should be met. Photo: LAUREN BUCKLE.

in which they should be met. Photo: LAUREN BUCKLE. Shortly after the conversations held at the

Shortly after the conversations held at the Drama Department; students, sta f and children join in a peaceful march around campus. Protest songs were sung by the crowd as they walked up Prince Alfred Street and back down to the Clock Tower. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

Students join hands to ensure all those marching stay as a unif ed group. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

stay as a uni f ed group. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS. At the end of the march,

At the end of the march, the crowd gather at the Clock Tower and continue to sing. The emotions were high at this point and a few students broke down in tears. The gathering was concluded by a prayer. Photo: LAUREN BUCKLE.

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Guilt : why do we blame ourselves?

Lili Barras-Hargan

Since the release of the #RUReferenceList, the Rhodes University campus has become a space for lived experiences and pain to be brought to the surface and discussed. However, listening to some people share their encounters with rape culture, an element of guilt is tangible. Although this may be seen as internalised victim blaming, it is simply an incredibly common step in the process of ac- ceptance. When I discovered that I was raped at the age of 15, my f rst reaction was to blame myself.

“I said yes at the start.” “I wasn’t forceful enough.” “Am I even remembering this correctly?”

As a survivor of sexual assault and rape, it is

di f cult to imagine a world where people are so

violently stripped of their agency and dignity. So

I didn’t allow myself to think about it and made

excuses for what happened. I blamed myself so that

I wouldn’t have to accept the terrifying reality of the

rape culture that pervades our society. As a result, when someone close to me told me that I needed to lose weight and ‘present’ myself bet- ter to avoid it happening again, I believed them. I let my feelings of guilt obscure what I knew to be true:

rape is never the victim’s fault. I was experiencing gaslighting, a form of mental abuse which makes an individual question their memory of events as well as their sanity. It takes a lot of courage to let go of the guilt and begin to accept that what happened to you wasn’t

your fault. It can be a very lengthy process, especial-

ly if you’re surrounded by unsupportive people. But

one day you’ll realise that the length of your skirt and the drink in your hand aren’t to blame. Rape isn’t about lust or sex; it’s about power. And losing control of your body is terrifying. In one moment, your whole life is turned upside down and the pressure to quickly, quietly regain that control can be overwhelming. Take time to heal. Act instinctively. If your body needs a week in bed, don’t force yourself to lectures. If you need your routine back, there is no shame in throwing yourself back into your studies. Your mental health comes f rst. But above everything else, work towards letting go of the guilt. Because none of this was your fault.

Identifying the enemy

Lindsay Kelland

T e recent protests have made it clear that as part of human

nature there is a speci f c requirement for a def nitive enemy. While this is ofen what leads to concerning beliefs such as “stranger danger” in relation to sexual assault, the real en- emy which should unite us is rape and rape-culture and are a problem in which we are all complicit through the perpetua- tion of hetero-patriarchal beliefs, values, and norms. Chapter 2.12 of our constitution states that everyone has the right to freedom and security. T is includes the rights not to be deprived of freedom without just cause, to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources, and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. While the protests have moved beyond calling attention to Chapter 2.12, it seems to me that these basic rights are still driv- ing our concerns over rape culture on our campus. Te students, staf, and community members who are now protesting together are angry about the scourge of rape and sexual violence in their lives which deprives them of their free- dom and their bodily integrity. Tey are also angry about the ways in which survivors of rape and sexual violence are treated by so-called ‘justice’ systems, and with the undeniable failure of these systems in the protection of survivors of sexual violence. Our anger stems from the fact that these systems currently protect perpetrators, thereby placing the costs of rape and sexual violence f rmly on the shoulders of those who sufer rather than on the shoulders of those who cause su fering. Tere is also an underlying mistrust of one another fos- tered by countless bad experiences in the past, and a simple f aw in human nature that aims to position, f x, and essentialise what is ‘other’ in order to have a nameable enemy. An enemy who is someone or something that is entirely at odds with what we hold to be good, true, and just, and that we can jus- ti f ably target our anger at. But if part of the problem is precisely the divisions between us that cause communication and account- ability to break down, then how do we put this all behind us and come together to move forward in what has come to be seen as the ‘South African way’? As we know, sexual violence afects us all across the lines of race, class, sex, gender, and

sexuality. Rape and rape-culture are a problem for all of us, and are a problem in which we are all complicit through the per- petuation of hetero-patriarchal beliefs, values, and norms. T is problem unites us. T is is our enemy. In order to f ght it we will need the creativity and knowledge of diferently situated people with di ferent expertise. If there is anything we must learn from our history it is this, that it takes us coming together to f ght a systemic social injustice. During the protests I heard I have heard people call on im- ages of the kind of university we want to be a part of, of the kinds of values we want to uphold, and the kinds of people we want to be. I have been a student here, and now I am a mem- ber of academic staf —the university I want to belong to is one where we listen to one another, where we give credence to one another’s pain, where we are able to falter, account for our mistakes and be brought back into the fold as people who care about what happens on our campus and in our institution. I want to belong to a university that supports survivors and holds perpetrators to account; a university that leads the way in changing how sexual violence is dealt with; a university that radically challenges and overhauls the hetero-patriarchal ideology that governs each of us. T is is a juncture at which this dream could become a reality if we don’t let it slip away from us. What we need now is to f gure out together how to go about creating this culture in ways that do not continue the cycles of injustice that we are f ghting… lest we forget that the rights enshrined in Chapter 2.12 are basic to us all.

of injustice that we are f ghting… lest we forget that the rights enshrined in Chapter

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22 April 2016

Students sing and dance as the press conference between management and the task team takes place inside Eden Grove. Students were not allowed to enter the meeting, but this did not stop them from displaying their unhappiness with the Rhodes management. Photo:


with the Rhodes management. Photo: VICTORIA BRIGGS. After Dr Mabizela approaches the students, he informs them

After Dr Mabizela approaches the students, he informs them that he was not aware that he was expected to respond to the demands by 5pm that day. Dr Peter Clayton and Chrissie Boughey come forward and state that it is in everyone’s best interests for them to respond to the demands the following day rather. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

Yolanda Dyantyi shows her frustration during the press conference in Eden Grove. Like many students, Dyantyi was unimpressed by man- agement’s response to various allegations that arose during the discussion. Photo: VICTORIA BRIGGS.

that arose during the discussion. Photo: VICTORIA BRIGGS. Corrinne Knowles and Professor Catriona Macleod rea f

Corrinne Knowles and Professor Catriona Macleod rea f rm their position as being in full support of the students and their demands. They agree that the way in which Rhodes deals with rape and sexual assault cases is f awed and needs serious attention. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

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20 / The Oppidan Press / Ed 3 E d trigger warnings Emily Stander and Leila

trigger warnings

Emily Stander and Leila Kidson

T e last two weeks have been exceptionally triggering, to many both on campus and across the

media spectrum. People have been triggered both by experiences on campus, but also by content published online. Te contentious issue of trigger warnings has therefore been brought up. Te past week or two of protests have brought new words and phrases to the vocabulary of many, one of which is ‘trigger’. Consider the phrase “pulling the trigger”. It entails making a di fcult deci- sion, whereby you are forced to confront something - in this case, a memory of experience. Triggers force us to confront the pain of those experiences. To protect readers from this pain, trigger warning were created. As de f ned by a trigger warning is a stated warning that the content of the text, video, photograph or other media platforms is one of nature that might upset or ofend the reader, especially if that person has previously experienced trauma. As with everything, there are pros and cons to trigger warnings. For example, where a trigger warning can be used to ensure sensitive readers are not ‘triggered’ by engaging with content, the

trigger warning itself, such as the use of ‘sexual violence, abuse’ could itself be have the same painful

e fect as the content. Te need for trigger warnings became near null and void last week, as just being on campus and in the spaces of protests were exceptionally triggering, and while many tried to use trigger warnings on both Facebook and other social media platforms, not all content could be policed, and many were triggered.


• They promote the emotional well- being of the reader

• It provides a means of creating safe spaces where the reader is not made to feel uncomfortable, espe- cially so on Facebook and Twitter.

• It puts the agency with the reader. They can decide if they want to read triggering content


• There is no real way of telling what will trig- ger somebody, especially since the warnings themselves are words that could trigger.

• Articles and discussions that surround sensi- tive issues are an easier target for dispropor- tionate complaints about trigger warnings.

• There may be too many trigger warnings in a speci f c article, which allows for the warn- ings to actually become a bit futile as they become redundant.

Te Oppidan Press strives towards safety for our viewers in engaging with our content, and wants to ask you how you would like us to warn readers as to the content, without the warning itself being triggering.

Letter from th

T e protests which took p

the attention of the media privilege of being at the fo every point. As students and journali such as these. O fen the fee

tain journalistic integrity. F which they felt incredibly c Executive team is made up In addition, this protest close to home for almost al a statement on the matter, team account for our form caused a lot of grief. It was was immediately assumed cused of, namely rape and the team who are survivors Despite the di f culties, o truthful, fair and made up was based on what the stud

T is has been the goal of

sured that there has been c consent in every edition th articles or through the con We will continue to cove incredibly important and a protest action.

We would like to thank o protests: Lili Barras-Hagan Briggs, Lauren Buckle, Juli Lauren Dixon-Paver, Ti f an Muller, Collette Prince, Pie Phiwokuhle Dhlamini, Co Jadezweni, Tom Makkink a

Buckle, Juli Lauren Dixon-Paver, Ti f an Muller, Collette Prince, Pie Phiwokuhle Dhlamini, Co Jadezweni, Tom

22 / The Oppidan Press / Ed 3

Ed 3 / The Oppidan Press / 23

23 April 2016

Students, sta f, parents and NEHAWU members gather in the Great Hall to hear Dr Mabizela and management’s response to the set de- mands. A moment of silence was held for the passing of a fellow student, Londiwe Jobela before the discussion began. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

before the discussion began. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS. Dr Mabizela tries to remedy the con f ict

Dr Mabizela tries to remedy the con f ict and unhappiness displayed by the crowd. He explains that he respects all his of students, but it is crucial to stay within the boundaries of the law when protesting. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

Various audience members show their dismay at some of the responses from management. They feel that they are not being respected as human beings and that the interdict treats them as criminals during a peaceful protest. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

Various audience members are eager to ask questions regarding the way man- agement handled the issues during the week. Audience members were required to request either Dr Peter Clayton or Chrissie Boughey to answer their ques- tion, or else Dr Mabizela had to answer it. Students were unhappy that the respon- sibility of justifying the actions of man- agement during the police confrontation lay with Dr Mabizela and demanded one of the other members of sta f to explain. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

confrontation lay with Dr Mabizela and demanded one of the other members of sta f to

24 / The Oppidan Press / Ed 3

24 April 2016

Ed 3 / The Oppidan Press / 25

Babalwa Magoqwana introduces the vigil which is held on the Sunday after the reference list was released. The vigil aimed to bring everyone together who took part in the protests and those who may have been triggered by the week’s events. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

triggered by the week’s events. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS. Corrinne Knowles stands as a uni f ed

Corrinne Knowles stands as a uni f ed member of the crowd and listens intently to the speakers’ stories and re fections. Knowles is one of the sta f members who has defended the students from the beginning of the protests. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

A few members of the audience re f ect upon what the past week has meant to them as individuals. One of speakers includes Natalie Don- aldson who admitted that she was ashamed of being a member of sta f at the university currently known as Rhodes and that she would support the students no matter what. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.

the students no matter what. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS. The wall’ was a place for individuals to

The wall’ was a place for individuals to write notes about their feelings, sympathies and support for all those a fected. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS.