Dr Josphine Hapazari, a part-time lecturer at the National University of Lesotho, was thrilled to graduate with a PhD in Sociology for her research that explored the drivers of sexual violence against women and the possible mitigation strategies that can be implemented to combat the scourge.
Hapazari’s research was influenced by the observations she made on numerous cases of violence against women that were occurring in the Maseru district in Lesotho, particularly sexual violence. ‘My aim was to make a positive contribution to the fight against gender-based violence through research and policy,’ she said.
She strongly believes that her research will contribute to the manner in which sexual violence cases are handled and to the body of knowledge on violence against women. Her research unearthed that sexual violence against women is driven by factors such as masculinity, patriarchy, gender socialisation and gender inequalities. ‘Collecting data from male perpetrators of sexual violence was a chilling experience but this process was made easier through the help of correctional facility officials and social workers.’
Hapazari added: ‘Chiefs and police officers do not have the requisite skills needed to handle sexual violence cases. They urgently require assistance in this regard in order for them to effectively assist survivors of sexual violence.’
She presented two research methodology papers based on her study at a conference hosted by the Faculty of Humanities at the National University of Lesotho. One of the hallmarks of her research is the contribution it has made to a sociological model on the drivers, dynamics, mitigation strategies and challenges, which expounds on the nexus of these concepts.
Hapazari thanked her support system of the Bhiri family (paternal), Ndonde family (maternal), her husband Innocent, children, friends, workmates and supervisor. ‘They kept reminding me that I am capable of excelling and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Music also played a role. Soothing songs that my niece, Ofentse Rammuki, sang for me kept me sane throughout my studies.’
Hapazari is delighted that she completed her studies in time. She advised other students to ‘avoid walking the academic journey alone.’
‘Spare some time to attend academic seminars and conferences, avoid distractions such as social media and create a conducive environment for studying effectively,’ she said.
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal