Safety in clubs under spotlight

Organisers of the Reassessment Party, Eric “Cjo” Moloko and Koos “DJ Cider” Kwena, took it upon themselves to spread awareness about sexual consent.

The festive season may be filled with partying, music and drinks but something more sinister can be lurking in Bloemfontein’s club life. Sexual offences and assaults can be commonplace under the veil of the night.
Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) reported that Park Road Police Station was one of top ten precincts with the largest number of reported crimes in the country. The reported offences include sexual harassment and assault.
Two local DJs, Koos “DJ Cider” Kwena and Eric “Cjo” Moloko, set out to campaign against sexual assault in particular. As organisers of the popular bi-yearly “Reassessment Party”, they confronted the sometimes toxic sexual behaviour that occurs in the city’s club scene.
“As men we think buying a woman drinks gives us a right to her body. This must stop. Again, we must stop taking advantage of intoxicated women who are not in a sober state of mind to give consent. People attend our events to have fun, not to become new statistics of rape and sexual harassment,” said Kwena. The latest Reassessment Party had visible security and MCs gave talks on consent.
He stated that it was important for organisers and entertainment establishments to create a space for fun without any harassment. “This is why in 2018 we decided to reassess the scourge of rape culture and reassess our role in enabling it. We must reassess our views about rape, consent and the body of a woman,” explained Kwena.
Physical assault can also endanger young party goers. An anonymous community member reported different incidents of violence at a well-known restaurant and bar in Langenhoven Park as well as a local club. “I was shocked to see how many people get into fights when they have one too many drinks. A fight broke out in the club and I found myself right in the middle of it. A guy fell against me and I got punched in the spur of the moment,” she said. “Fighting in clubs has become more common lately and bouncers are no longer on top of their game and just watch how fights happen,” added the 20-something-year-old woman.
Constable Manyatso Maseko of Police’s Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit said during the launch of 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children, that sexual crimes can be rampant during the holiday season. “During the festive season we can be vulnerable when going to clubs. If you plan on going out to enjoy yourself be vigilant, do not depend on anybody for drinks or transport,” she said. Maseko explained that a few cases of suspected spiked drinks have also been reported that resulted in sexual assault. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele