Why not me? Reflections on running sexual harassment workshops

Speaker: Pierre Brouard, CSA&G University of Pretoria
Date: 21 May 2019
Time: 14:30-16:00
Venue: Graduate Centre, Room 2-65, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus
RSVP: nombongo.shenxane@up.ac.za

This paper asks “Why not me”? When I am confronted with the daily indignities of (mostly) women, in the street, in the classroom, in the boardroom, and I have not examined my own behaviour as a man, should I ask “why not me”? When I see gender stereotypes and gender power plays in multiple contexts, and I don’t challenge them, should I ask “why not me”? When I think back on my experiences of harassment which I ignored, denied or felt too weary to challenge, because patriarchy is pervasive, should  I ask “why not me”? When I run a sexual harassment workshop as a man, and I am challenged about whether this is right, because men are complicit, can I ask “why not me”? Beyond “why not me”? the paper asks if sexual harassment work “works”, looks at the evidence and opens a debate on what an appropriate response to #MeToo could look like in 2019.

Pierre is the Deputy Director of the CSA&G and a registered Clinical Psychologist. He has worked in HIV since the mid 1980’s and at the CSA&G since 2001 as a manager, researcher, writer, facilitator and teacher. His interests include sexualities, gender, diversity, transformation and human rights.

IDAHOT panel discussion: Justice and Protection for All

Please join us for a panel discussion in celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia,Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT). The theme for this year, Justice and Protection for All, reminds us that over the past decades, protection of LGBTQI+ people and all people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions or sex characteristics has greatly expanded and this progress is well worth celebrating, but we must guard against complacency. 72 countries still criminalise same-sex sexual relations and even in SA, LGBTQI+ people still face
regular stigma and discrimination.

Discussion: Laws vs. Hearts and Minds: how is justice and protection for queer people best served?

Panelists:

  • Geoffrey Ogwaro – Centre for Human Rights
  • Moude Maodi-Swartz – OUT LGBT Wellbeing
  • Rudo Chigudu – Centre for Human Rights, and
  • Clara van Niekerk – UP & Out

Moderators: Pierre Brouard and Christi Kruger (CSA&G)

Date: 16 May 2018
Time: 12:30 – 14:00
Venue: Graduate Centre Room 1.57, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus

 

IDAHOT

CSA&G statement on IAAF discriminatory hyperandrogenism regulations

The Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), University of Pretoria, stands in support of the campaign of the Department of Sports and Recreation South Africa in relation to the International Association of Athletics Federation’s regulations governing hyperandrogenism.

As they stand the 2018 regulations set a limit on the testosterone levels of female athletes if they wish to compete in certain track events. Track athletes with Difference of Sexual Development, like Caster Semenya, are particularly targeted by the regulations.

The question of whether and how female athletes are advantaged by higher testosterone levels is a controversial one, not least because any advantages conferred by testosterone in a female athlete have to be seen against the background of other factors: the kind and extent of training they do, their diet, the nature of the coaching they have, the rest of their genetic complement (potential for height and build for example) and the environmental factors they were exposed to when growing up. In sum, there are many variables; to thus focus on hormones alone seems arbitrary, and therefore unfair. What also seems unfair is to insist that for someone like Caster to compete she, an otherwise perfectly healthy person, would be forced to take medications which may have unpredictable side effects.

Apart from the science of sex differences, which is not perfect, what these regulations do is reflect an anxiety about separating male from female in definitive ways, and they reinforce notions of binaries. The truth is possibly more complex, and policing the borders of maleness and femaleness is as much a social concern as it is a scientific one. The idea of overlaps between men and women, of significant differences within the category “male” and the category “female”, can be alarming. People who identify as non-binary (neither male nor female or both) and trans people (who do not define their gender identity in line with the sex they were assigned at birth) also challenge our accepted ideas and certainties, often leading to moral panic and a desire to control and to create “order”.

The CSA&G argues that we should resist these impulses and accept people for who and what they are. Advantage and disadvantage in sport is a complex terrain, homing in on one factor seems wrong and unjust. We thus call on the IAAF to end this unnecessary and painful exercise and stand with the DSRSA and Caster Semenya.

Temporary relocation of the CSA&G offices

From February 2019 the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) will be temporarily relocated to two new locations on the UP Hatfield Campus. The Akanyang Building (formerly Huis & Haard) is due for major refurbishment in 2019 to house the new Shared Learning Space for the CSA&G and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences from 2020. From 2020 all CSA&G facilities will also offer disability access and all bathrooms in Akanyang will also be gender neutral.

The CSA&G projects, services and initiatives will be split between locations on Prospect Street and the Graduate Centre:

Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender: Prospect Street

  • HIV counselling and testing for students and staff
  • Just Leaders Volunteer and Leadership Development Programme
  • #SpeakOutUP – anti sexual harassment support service
  • General enquiries and support
prospect street entrance
Prospect Street location

Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender: Graduate Centre

  • Management and finance (2-76, 2-78 & 2-83)
  • Researchers and research support (2-77, 2-79 & 2-85)
  • Gender Justice Project (2-79)
  • Gender and Queer Studies Library (2-78)
  • CSA&G Press (2-83)
  • UP & Out – official LGBTI Society at the University of Pretoria (2-81)
  • United Nations Association of South Africa (UNASA), University of Pretoria Chapter (2-81)
Graduate Centre location

We apologise for the inconvenience and please do not hesitate to contact us on 012 420 4391 or nombongo.shenxane@up.ac.za for any queries.

We look forward to welcome you to the newly refurbished Akanyang Building in 2020.