Male students’ understandings about sexual violence at the University of KwaZulu-Natal residences.
Heizo, Mathunjwa Nkosingiphile.
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Considerable research highlights that sexual violence is a worldwide issue, which is experienced by some groups at a high rate in the society and one of these groups, is university students. This study explores fifteen male students` understandings about sexual violence at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Edgewood campus residences. The study focused on understanding what these male students regarded as sexual violence, what meanings they attach to sexual violence and what they suggest to be possible ways of preventing sexual violence in the university residences. Using a qualitative research approach, the methods utilised in this study comprised semi-structured individual interviews and focus group discussions. Theories of masculinities were drawn to frame the study. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings indicate that sexual violence is prevalent at a high rate at the university residences. Findings reveals that sexual violence at the university residences is aggravated by campus life that exposes students to freedom and alcohol, dressing in an improper way and poverty that makes females students vulnerable to sexual violence from sugar daddies. “Sugar daddy” is a term is associated with the phenomenon of transactional sex. Findings indicate that the influence of culture on male dominance fuels the rate of sexual violence in the university residences. The data reveal how male university students use their masculinities, and how by conforming to the societal norms they add to the prevalence of sexual violence in the university residences. The findings also illustrate how patriarchal societies promote male domination and how female subordination results in the normalisation and under-reporting of sexual violence at the university residences. The findings of this study emphasises the serious consideration and possible initiatives that the university and students should implement in dealing with issues of sexual violence in the university residences. Possible initiatives such as the training and active engagement of university administrators, students and staff on striving to prevent the issues of sexual violence are proposed.