Prof Lourens van Staden burns a candle in remembrance of all the victims of gender-based violence.
#RiseUpForWomen called on all South African to wear black today, 6 September, in solidarity with the campaign to fight this societal scourge. Men and women from all campuses heeded this call and came dressed in black in honour of the women and girls who have suffered at the hands of men.
Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, accompanied by Prof Elsabe Coetzee, acting DVC: SAED and other members of the EMC, also lit four ceremonial candles in remembrance of all victims.
In a Communiqué from his office yesterday, Prof Van Staden emphasised the importance of challenging the problem together, “Only by working together, by confronting difficult challenges, and by mobilising everyone in and around our institutions, we shall create a society where everyone, especially women, feel safe and are safe at all times and in all places,” he said.
He also wrote; “The University takes it responsibility, as the students’ parents away from home seriously will continue to go out of its way to create and maintain a safe environment for our students.”
His sentiments were echoed in a statement by the chairperson of TUT’s Women in Leadership Forum and Executive Dean of the Faculty of the Arts. In a call to action to the TUT community, she wrote; “I am writing to you to share my voice, as a woman, as a mother of a young woman, as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, as a citizen of this beautiful country, as a teacher, as a Dean and, most importantly, as the Chairperson of the Women in Leadership Forum. If I am silent then I’m part of the problem and I refuse to be part of this problem. I am here to say this is not going to happen in my space during my watch and I want you to say the same. NOT ON MY WATCH! My children, my students, my responsibility! Not on my watch! I will commit to protect and empower you towards protecting yourself.”