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Students enrolled at the South African university exploring their views and lived experiences of gender-based violence (GBV) in a university context

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posted on 2023-07-18, 11:16 authored by Kgothatso MokitleKgothatso Mokitle

A qualitative research methodology was utilised to seek an in-depth understanding of students’ lived experiences of gender-based violence (GBV) at a South African University.  This study investigated the experiences of students who were victims of GBV at a South African university. Through carefully and thoroughly planned interviews, this was achieved by exploring the experiences of three students who have previously experienced gender-based violence. The conclusions drawn in the study emanate from the interviews conducted with the participants as well as the literature that informed the study. The three students employed in the study were all women. The first step of the data analysis included familiarizing myself with the raw data obtained from the interviews in the form of transcriptions. Additionally, codes were generated using the participants' exact statements from the transcripts. Secondly, data was organised and grouped together with the aim of searching for themes. Lastly, themes were reviewed, finalised, and named. 


The findings in the dataset suggested that the participants tend to be weary of people on campus rather than the campuses themselves, or the surrounding areas such as the residences or public areas. Their main concern revolved around the perception that men are the catalysts of instilling the fear of potential harm within various contexts, and the university spaces being one of them. Undoubtedly, the female students’ activities and daily experiences appear to be cultivated and constrained by the fear of sexual violence, harassment, and emotional harm. In summary, the findings in the dataset highlighted that the students were keenly aware of the GBV prevalence on university campuses and surrounding spaces, which birthed an innate fear of potential harm within these spaces. Furthermore, the students each shared the experience of feeling that the university could do more to disperse widespread awareness and information about student safety protocols and legislation with regards to GBV incidences. Therefore, the findings of this study do provide evidence that GBV in the university environments may need to be further examined and that more should be done to ensure that students are safeguarded by university policies and laws. 

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Department/Unit

Psychology

Sustainable Development Goals

  • 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • 5 Gender Equality