Opinion

RU: Rapist’s University? #RhodesWar

Loyola Nyathi & Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile

The events which have surfaced in #RhodesWar have become a translation of how rape culture and violence against womxn, Gender Non-conforming and trans individual has been accepted in the society we live in. The events have also shown how rapists and abusers are able to flourish and lead successful lives without being held accountable for their actions while those attempting to hold them accountable are charged, punished, policed and isolated. Essentially, according to the logic of Rhodes University it is more punishable to hold rapists accountable than to commit the violent act.

Context

Two students, Yolanda Dyantyi and her co-accused have been banned for life from Rhodes University after taking part in at the anti-rape protests in April 2016, where names of some male students identified as rapists were publicly revealed in a list known as the #RUReferenceList.

One of the male students was tried through the university’s disciplinary processes and found guilty of sexual assault followed by a 10 year ban. The 10 year ban is a far cry when compared to the life ban imposed on students involved in the anti-rape protests who were found guilty of kidnapping, intimidation and insubordination.

As a result of this, they cannot complete their studies and their academic transcripts are written ‘pending disciplinary hearing’, which essentially hinders them from applying elsewhere.

War on womxn’s bodies

The violence of womxn, Gender-non conforming and trans bodies stays implicit to the success of patriarchy. Patriarchy serving to reduce these bodies through violence of experience through economic and societal oppression. Experience therefore serving to show that patriarchy is not bound my those claimed to ‘know what it stands for’. The flourish of rapist and abusers is important for rule of men.

What is patriarchy?

“A system of society or government in which men hold the power and womxn, gender non-conforming and trans bodies are largely excluded from it.”

#RhodesWar is a reminder that what was accepted was the prosperity of rapists and abusers as graduates, politicians and economist and evens doctors. This only depicting the voices that hold power are often those that normalize toxicity. When Activists at Rhodes spoke against rape culture and the experience undergone. The final verdict led to their ‘permanent expulsion’. This being a notion that isn’t brand new to those that call out rape culture and violence. The flourish of violent bodies is validated by society through the silence of such issues. Importantly, the academic, economic and political prosperity of rapists and abusers has been pivotal for the silencing of womxn, gender non-conforming and trans individuals. Where lecturers, deans, professor and VCs decide the fate of activists. While violent bodies are thrust into these positions by virtue of being allowed to succeed as lectures, deans, professors and VCs. An example, the image of apartheid was not only economic and political but reformed to oppress womxn, gender non-conforming and trans individuals.

This is seen through mobility.

In apartheid, one would be presented with iDompas where their mobility would be policed and isolation would occur. The legitimation of patriarchy becomes a dompas of oppressed bodies where social, economic and political mobility is policed. Leaving it in the hands of those who circulate or monopolies power. #RhodesWar activated the academic and economics collapse of the oppressed.

What does Patriarchy look like?

Patriarchy therefore looks like our faves. Those we allow to occupy space. Those we seek solace in and voice. Validating that #RhodesWar cannot succeed without our attention. It looks like Rhodes University punishing severely those who hold patriarchy accountable.

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Categories: Opinion

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