Gender Based Violence affects any alumni, any community, anywhere in the world – UCT alumni here is your call to action – if you are a qualified psychologist in South Africa please register to support survivors. Alternatively, you can also sponsor psychological sessions through donations. Your participation, helps a survivor take their first step towards academic success and healing.
Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a significant problem in our country, with devastating consequences for survivors. Regrettably, institutions of higher learning are not immune to this scourge, and the level of cases may be even higher as most survivors are known not to report. I am partnering with UCT and Sanda Nyoka, a UCT student, to enable access to mental health support for survivors of GBV at the university. The initiative, Alumni Action, is an intergenerational effort comprising Sanda and I, UCT and its alumni psychologists and the broader UCT community, including past and current students.
My role, beyond being concept originator, includes the provision of initial funding to enable therapy sessions with UCT alumni psychologists for student survivors of GBV. The initial funding will enable the provision of up to 8 sessions to 25 survivors. I am immensely grateful to Ms Dianna Yach and the Maueberger Foundation for their generous pledge of R100,000.00 which will increase the number of survivor beneficiaries to 45. It is my hope that the number of beneficiaries will continue to increase over time due to the generosity of the UCT alumni and other interested individuals.
There are several compelling reasons why I have chosen to partner with an institution of higher learning on this intervention: -
12-13% of students, and four times more female than male students, feel unsafe walking around campus at night (Saferspaces article, undated);
students experience mental health problems such as trauma related to gender-based violence (2013-2017 study by the Human Science Research Council, “Studying while black”);
Black students are also more likely than not to have no medical aid, to have limited to no financial resources to access mental health care when they need it.
unresolved trauma related to GBV can adversely impact the ability of students to complete their degrees at all or in the prescribed period;
while correlation does not equal causation, it is notable that the rate of African and Coloured students who do not complete their degree or have delayed completion is markedly higher than for White and Indian students;
All of this inhibits our efforts to create a more inclusive and more representative society and the realisation of a more sustainable future for all of us a mammoth task.
GBV has adverse economic consequences, estimated at 0.9 to 1.3% of GDP (KPMG Human and Social Services, September 2014-2017 study);
GBV can stunt the potential of survivors and limit their choices in life;
if unresolved, the resultant trauma from GBV can have
While I have chosen to partner with UCT, I am hoping that the intervention will spread beyond the university to Any Alumni, Any Community, Anywhere in the world.
Mental health is a human right. Please join me in enabling increased access to mental health support to survivors of GBV in your chosen community.
From Dianna Yach
"…the project has received an additional R100k donation from the Mauerberger Foundation Fund, chaired by alumnus Dianna Yach. Dianna is also Chairperson of the UCT Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) which has been advocating for alumni to become more engaged with their alma mater especially by sharing their skills and passion in giving back to society with kindness and compassion. The AAB wants to encourage more alumni to show leadership in action by participating in programmes devoted to the wellbeing of our students and staff and particularly survivors of GBV. We want to ensure that no one has to suffer in silence on their own but that they feel able to reach out and receive appropriate care and support.
Zellah has demonstrated exemplary leadership in working with Student Wellness Services and the OIC. We look forward to more alumni coming forward to join this programme in action."
From Gisella Shaer
"This initiative is an important step in improving survivor support at the university and will make available critically-needed aid to survivors, adding to what has previously been available. The SRC joins various alumni in supporting this initiative, which will equally support the efforts towards crafting a truly survivor-centred support system. We also call upon stakeholders, across the institution, to back this initiative."
The 2018 Global Peace Index revealed that South Africa is one of the most violent places in the world, ranked 38 out of 163 countries. For all of us living in South Africa we receive daily reports of the horrific and senseless murder, rape and maiming of women, children, queer folk and in some instances men. The University of Cape Town has increasingly acknowledged the crisis of gender based violence and its profound impact on the lives and well-being of survivors.
UCT has invested resources in Student Wellness Services and the Office for Inclusivity & Change (OIC) to ensure that the university can provide psychological services to survivors of gender based violence. We know that the psychological impact of gender-based violence on some survivors negatively affects their academic performance and the quality of their social interactions or at times their ability to conclude their tertiary education. It is with this in mind that we share an important programme conceptualised by a UCT Alumni, Zellah Fuphe. The Alumni Action Programme invites you to participate in the call to action by offering psychological services or donating funds towards psychological sessions for survivors in need.