Men featured in four main ways through the data collected, despite the focus of the research being on women's experiences. They were identified as enacting toxic masculinities, as entangled in patriarchal patterns, as silent and often complicit bystanders, and finally as potential allies who are also damaged by campus rape culture.

1. Toxic masculinities

First, men ‘perform’ or engage in many different types of toxic masculinities. Some male leaders and residences were identified as both unaccountable and entitled with male initiations forming a significant part of institutional socialisation into prevalent ideas that men were dominant and sexually entitled.

“…(S)he lived at (a block of flats) and there’d been three instances where she had almost been raped,…this guy was trying to force himself onto her and she just actively tried to push him off and be like, ‘no I don’t want to do this’ …he said, ‘you’re making me a rapist’.”

“…(H)e kept pestering her …to a point where he got angry…and he said ‘where’s my thank you, that’s the least you could do’.”

“…(A)n early 20s man thrown into the world thinking being a man means being dominant and entitled and all of this branches from patriarchal belief. Put that together with drugs, alcohol and vulnerable ladies and you get a very very prominent problem.”

“…(I)f a guy buys you a drink he is entitled to your body, and this need to have lots of sexual partners in a way to increase their social power, I think is very symbolic to this picture.”

“…(A)s I was walking back to my car, he basically was going ‘rrrooaw what a nice pussy cat’, but it felt very uncomfortable…it does not give you any right to catcall me just because you are higher up than me in life or in height difference.”

“I took a lot of pictures of men….with their backs towards us, because it was really hard to take pictures of them staring at us …patriarchy…the rule of the father… and we all know that this system seeks to oppress women and uplift men.”

2. Patriarchy

Second, men are seen as entangled in patriarchal patterns which create a grey zone of norms about masculinity perpetuated by both women and men. These assumptions often contribute to CRC. Some men claim to be allies or ‘good men’ but still reinforce bad behaviour

“The back of this man’s shirt says ‘The White House’…it is usually rezzes that institutionalize this idea that they are better than everyone, they have superiority complex that forms by virtue of being in rez.”

”…(H)e’s a person that knows the idea of consent and being open and receptive to your partner and has a strong will to fight back against GBV, but his sexual activity doesn’t mirror that.”

”…(S)ocial programming such as the ‘bro-code’ which further perpetuates campus rape culture because …it reduces women to sexual objects for male pleasure and satisfaction.”

“One of the drivers I noticed …was patriarchy being at the forefront of it all…sexism and queer-phobia being at the heart of how patriarchy has structured Stellenbosch. Inevitably this is related to racism …anything that is ‘Other’ to what patriarchy is falls susceptible to rape.”

“…(T)his (stolen road sign visible inside a male res) is a very clear symbol of males’ disregard for authority and things that do not belong to them…that sense of being entitled and also a sense of being able to do whatever without having the proper consequences to hold them accountable for their actions.”

“…(T)his was a fight and…(p)eople were cheering for their team mates to beat up the other team…it promotes male aggression and if they’re being positively praised for this behaviour it could lead into sexual aggression.”

“…(S)o whatever men do is right, whatever women do is negated, demonized, it’s so plain it’s a hierarchical structure we maintain. Men at the top, women at the bottom.”

3. Complicity

Third, some men emerge as silent or complicit bystanders who remain ignorant of, or in denial about, campus rape culture and often participate in the gendered drivers that underpin it. Male pride and defensiveness were also highlighted by women who often tiptoe around them.

“…(A)t that point I realised that how men don’t realise…just something as simple as the language they use fosters ideas, fosters patriarchal ideas fosters ideas… that eventually perpetuate rape culture.”

“He said he knew of campus rape culture/GBV on campus and that it was an important issue. So he did take a stand against it. He just never saw it… a man doesn’t have to touch you in order to violate you, and I think that’s a lot of the things guys don’t understand.”

“The men in my life are very narrow-minded. …because these comments where you just blindly say ‘how old is she or how hot is she?’ you know men…it’s kind of embedded in their heads that this is okay, but it’s not okay.”

“I was talking to a colleague about this project. And he said, ‘no, I don’t trust when someone says someone raped them’…And I was like, ‘why don’t you trust it?’ He said ‘no, there needs to be evidence’…”

4. Male allies

Finally, a few men seek to be allies against GBV and campus rape culture. Others are themselves damaged by toxic forms of hetero-masculinity. But these men often remain invisible and are typically afraid to be shown in the photos or speak out for fear of being targeted by other men.

“…(H)e said that the rugby space, even for men, can become very violent spaces of bullying one another, and so men are also afraid of speaking up.”

“He said that men are still being taught that they are entitled, that they are… still at the top of …(the) hierarchy….how men have been taught that they should act and the roles that they need to play in society.”

“…(B)y having a men’s residence we are re-affirming gender binaries. …toxic ideas and hyper masculinity prevail and anything ‘other’ is diminished… and these mindsets are never dismantled.”

“I wanted to have an interview with a man about GBV and to take a picture of him behind walls to illustrate that fear of how men feel that there is going to be GBV or rape or sexual harassment with them when they are in jail…to illustrate that that’s the same fear that women feel every single day. However, the man stood me up twice to do this interview so rather it is a picture of a blank space because he failed to pitch up…even though we fear the same thing, it’s always a one-sided conversation.”

Thank you for exploring the theme of Masculinity. Please click below to move onto the fifth shared theme of Social Norms.