Has the Conceptualisation of Masculinity Created a Climate of Sexual Violence in South African Schools?

Sarah Van der Walt

Sarah Van der WaltSarah van der Walt, is a post-graduate student of Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies with a Bachelor of Social Science in Politics and Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has been involved in projects in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo which have focused on life skills and leadership.

Is there a relationship between the conceptualisation of masculinity and the high prevalence of sexual violence in South African schools? This is an important relationship to define as sexual violence in South African schools is becoming an ever increasing epidemic. For a successful solution of sexual violence in South African schools there needs to be a greater awareness of the relationship between social, environmental and cultural informants and their manifestations. This paper proposes that there is a need to dissect the conceptualisation of masculinity in South Africa and how it relates to sexual violence in South African schools. What was found through a literature review was that the formation of masculinity within an authoritarian childrearing culture, strict gender rules and emphasis on honour, respect and power has resulted in a sexually aggressive and violent male and female relationship. This has caused for behavioural patterns and social beliefs that condone sexual violence against girls in South African schools