17 August 2018

South Africa: Sensationalising Rape On TV Is As Dangerous As Saying It Doesn't Exist

opinion

Whether the controversial BBC documentary My Neighbour the Rapist was scripted or not, it nonetheless hurts us all because it plays on our worst fears about rape without ever addressing the real issues at hand.

Even as women across South Africa marched for a #TotalShutdown to protest against gender-based violence, global media was undermining the good work of the women's movement.

Two weeks before the marches, online viewers of BBC were given a view of life in townships, when a documentary called My Neighbour the Rapist featured the stories of a number of men who provide graphic admissions that they have raped.

In vivid detail and with disturbing imagery, a BBC freelance reporter claimed to get inside the heads of men who target women living alone in their shacks. Two of the young men spoke about their pleasure in hearing a victim's screams and recounted chasing women out the street naked and throwing stones. Another man said he rapes children to cure him of HIV, thanks to guidance from a local traditional healer.

The documentary is troubling in many ways, not least of which because one of the men interviewed, David Kaise, now says the film...

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