Sexual violence in schools threatens the rights of learners across the country, affecting their access to, and participation in, the education process. It also infringes on their constitutionally protected rights to equality, privacy, dignity, safety and health.

Our work on this issue continues to unearth horrific cases of sexual violence in schools. It demonstrates the need for intensified advocacy campaigns to ensure that communities are given the knowledge to protect learners and, most importantly, that learners are equipped to protect themselves. But little attention is given to the problem and, when cases are reported, the investigation process is too long and causes extended trauma to the learner involved.

It is for these reasons and many others that SECTION27 conducts workshops in schools on dealing with sexual violence. Aimed at empowering learners and ensuring that they understand when and how they can report sexual violence, we dedicate time and resources to training and working with key partner organisations and individuals. These groups will continue to work with schools and communities on this important issue and ensure wider distribution of information. On top of workshops in schools, we have been conducting ‘train the trainer’ worskhops where we train community members to teach on sexual violence and act not only as a resource for empowering information, but as a support for learners in a need.

At the beginning of 2014, in partnership with the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and Lawyers Against Abuse, we produced a handbook called ‘My teacher hurt me, what should I do?’. The handbook is a step-by-step guide, setting out the law and the rights of learners facing sexual abuse. The handbook has been published in Zulu, Sesotho, English and in Braille. See a pdf of the book below.

Click the cover to look through the book!