Academics, Practitioners Discuss Gender-Based Violence, Treatment, Prevention at Panel

RESEARCH TRIANGLE, PARK, N.C. - Leaders from RTI International and Duke University will discuss gender-based violence in South Africa Monday, Oct. 28, on the Duke University campus.

The discussion will focus on RTI's U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Women's Justice and Empowerment Initiative in South Africa, which helped the South African Government to establish 23 Thuthuzela rape survivor care centers in all nine provinces. The centers have helped more than 27,000 women.

The event, titled "Engaging Youth in Social Change: Gender-Based Violence in South Africa” will be held from 4:30 – 6 p.m. in the Sanford School of Public Policy (Rhodes Conference Room 223) at Duke University.

The event is the second in the “Professors, Practitioners & Students in Conversation” series, designed to connect students with real-life applications of their studies. In addition to RTI and Duke, the North Carolina chapter of UN Women is co-sponsoring the event.

The panel includes Peter Vaz, Ph.D., RTI’s chief of party for the Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative, and Professor Catherine Admay, a legal specialist on human rights and development. Busi Sibeko and Jacob Tobia, both students at Duke University with extensive experience in South Africa, will also join the panel. Christian Arandel, a senior municipal management specialist at RTI will moderate.

Throughout the $14.4 million four-year project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, RTI worked with the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority to implement and expand the country's Thuthuzela Care Centers.

The Thuthuzela model—whose name derives from the Xhosa word for "comfort"—was created to improve the treatment of rape survivors and thereby reduce secondary victimization, decrease the time needed to finalize a case, and improve conviction rates.

This discussion will center on broader applications for the Thuthuzela model and other ways to combat gender-based violence in South Africa.

The event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.