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South Africa: What People Forward a Gang Rape Video?

On Wednesday morning (18 April, 2012) South Africans woke up to a shocking front page story of a 17-year-old mentally handicapped girl that had been gang raped by seven men. They captured the disgusting and cruel incident in a 10 minute and 33 second cellphone video, which has gone viral.

The video has sparked anger and outrage online. On Twitter netizens are expressing their anger and opinions with the hashtag #rapevideo. While most people vented anger and disgust, some requested a copy of the video.

It was reported that girl went missing after the incident. @MandyWiener notes that the girl has been found:

@MandyWiener: #RapeVideo MEC Mazibuko has confirmed the teenage girl has been found and is at the Dobsonville police station.

Front page of the South African newspaper The Times. Courtesy: The Times.

Front page of the South African newspaper The Times. Courtesy: The Times.

The Film & Publication also issued a warning to people requesting copies of the video as reported by News24:

Possessing or distributing a video of the gang rape of a 17-year-old missing girl is a criminal offence, the Film and Publication Board said on Wednesday.

They also indicated they would pursue additional charges related to child pornography against the boys:

“In terms of the Films and Publications Act, minors may not be used or featured in pornographic content and the creation, possession and distribution of child pornography is illegal,” said Makhasi.

She said she would also approach the prosecutors in the case to ask them to charge the men for creating and distributing child pornography.

The story has also been picked up by international news outlets such as CNN.

Tamryn writes:

In our country today, it is evident that we have serious problems arising out of the youth. Our country is so taken by the antics of Julius Malema and the how-manyith wife of the president instead of spending more time on the issues that are demoralizing our country at a rapid rate. (Perhaps Malema and Polygamy is part of that!)

I know these are not isolated incidences and the truth is that these types of stories are happening all the time, everyday! With our move in technology there will probably be more and more cellphone videos of rapes.

She feels that:

It’s appauling to think that people want to find the link to the video and share it! The truth of the matter is that it can be considered child pornography and I can’t imagine why people would want to view it! They wouldn’t like it if it was their child!?!

One idiot on Twitter even managed to say that “seeing is believing” – I hope he rots in hell!

Karen Jeynes shares her insight from working with teenagers:

‘I would just delete it.’
‘If it was my friend, ja, I’d tell them.’

‘Maybe.’

A few weeks ago I was part of a process where teenagers were being asked to improvise scenes. The given scenario was that an incident of horrible bullying had been filmed on a cellphone and was being sent around. The response, overwhelmingly, was that the teenagers wouldn’t do anything about it. They would delete it from their phones, they said. No one admitted they might forward it. A few were bolder, stating that it was not their problem, and that getting involved would only cause more problems for them.

Fast forward to this morning and the horror of the rape video. The disgusting calls for a link to it so people could watch it. The litany of excuses for rape. And then the international attention and the onslaught of despicable, racist, phobic comments about South Africans.

She continues:

A few of the teenagers got to talking about what they perhaps could do if they were sent a video showing some incident of bullying. One angry young woman was full of ideas. The first of which was reply to whoever sent you the video and tell them that they are “a stupid asshole”. The second involved telling authorities. The third involved telling everyone “as loudly as possible” that the bullying, the videoing, and the distribution were all “cruel and dumb”.

Be grateful we have people like her in this world. I am.

Smidoz discusses the morality of the affair, including the sharing of the video among teens via mobile phones:

Although this issue is important, and I will continue to blog about the need for moral objectivity, it’s not really what struck me while reading the Tweets on this trend. Three things really struck me. Firstly, the fact that people where requesting links to the video; secondly, the blame being cast, and lastly, the various suggestions for punishment.

People wanted to share the video so that the rapists would be caught, or at least that was one excuse. If this was really the case, then it would be better for a call to send the video to SAPS, rather than sharing it all over Twitter.

He also feels that:

The casting of blame ranged from society to the president, people have at least started looking at the boys themselves though. Far from me to be deterministic here, but we live in a society where mass media bombards people with sex and violence. This is bound to at least have a numbing affect on people.

Twitter reactions

@ButiManamela: Viral #rapevideo is sickening. Distributers are as sick as gang rapists. Sympathies to girl & family. Safety and Security for all…

@JoziGoddess: This #RapeVideo incidence should not be looked at in isolation. These things start as ‘games’ and become more sinister with time.

@Prashil_Naran: The mentality and tendencies of our current younger generation… Disgusting. #RapeVideo

@Taravs84: Saddened that a gang #RapeVideo could go viral! No words for how disgusting that is! Those who have watched / passed on should be prosecuted

@SphiweTMahlangu: SA is a beautiful country,we just have a number of people who see life through different eyes to you and me #Rapevideo that is NO excuse.

@ksamsays: @ClaysonMonyela: #RapeVideo. I shall b praying 4 the 7 rapists 2 find like minded monsters in jail 2 give them a taste of their own medicine

@TsepisoNzayo: Girls are told to be careful NOT to be RAPED, instead of telling BOYS/MALES NOT to RAPE. MEN in solidarity against #GangRape & RapeVideo

@NazliThomas: The #rapevideo case has been widely reported but so many women in SA suffer in silence daily.

Dr. Roof sums it all up nicely:

The really sad thing is that some of us will show our anger and be upset about this incident, today. Tomorrow, another gruesome act will catch our attention. For us too, this has become normal.

South Africa is known as the “rape capital of the world” because of high incidences of rape.

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