In this study the nature and consequences of the sexual victimisation of female students at the University of Venda with specific reference to sexual harassment and rape were explored. To serve as a theoretical background for the study, an integrated model of sexual harassment and rape was formulated. In this model various victim related risk factors, offender related risk factors, institutional related risk factors as well as societal related risk factors, were highlighted as possible factors that may contribute to sexual harassment and rape of female students on campus. Ten research participants who met the requirements of the study were selected by means of purposive theoretical sampling. Requests for research participation were made through the use of posters as well as the facilitation of a workshop on the campus of the University of Venda. Two victims of sexual harassment and eight female students, who were subjected to rape on campus, participated in the study. In order to obtain in-depth information on the nature of the research participants’ experiences, face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted. Based upon the analysis and interpretation of the data it became evident that most sexual harassment and rape incidents occur on campus between individuals who know each other. Further analysis of the data indicate that victim related risk factors (such as age, level of study, residential status, victim-offender relationship, victim participation and position in class, denial and non-reporting, the acceptance of stereotypes regarding rape and sexual harassment as well as the use of alcohol), offender related risk factors (such as male peer support and the use of alcohol), institutional related risk factors (such as participation in campus activities, the level of surveillance and absence of deterrence) as well as societal related risk factors (such as the legitimisation of sexual victimisation and the role of significant others) interact with each other and contribute to sexual harassment and rape on the campus of the University of Venda. The findings also show that victims of sexual harassment and rape suffer emotional, physical, social as well as financial consequences as a result of the incidents. Based upon the findings, certain conclusions with regard to the aims of the study were reached and recommendations for further research were also made. Emanating from the feedback from the research participants, recommendations regarding prevention aimed at the victim, perpetrator and the institution (the University of Venda) were also made. The need for the empowerment of female students through educational programmes, the necessity to dispel the stereotypes surrounding sexual harassment and rape as well as the need to encourage the management of the University of Venda to take serious note of sexual victimisation on campus and to implement policy to protect women at this institution, were also emphasised.
Dissertation (MA (Criminology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.