Rape. At school. On the net. On mobile phones.

2010-11-13 15:42

On Friday afternoon, videos of the alleged rape of the Grade 8 schoolgirl were being feverishly sought on easily accessible chat websites.

On one called Outoilet, which bills itself as an amateur sex chat site, we found the following items under an entry for Jules High, the Johannesburg school where the young girl was allegedly raped in a gang bang last Thursday.

The website contains entries for most public schools around the country.

Said one: “Peeps i need to gt dat video plz plz if you have it send it to (a phone number is provided).”

Said another: “i’m in jepe bosy i jus wantd to say julez rockz. HALL OF FAME...im thnkn im inda wrng sch.”

In case you don’t speak this 12th official language, this person hailed Jules High as a hall of fame and congratulated the boys who made the video as well as the infamy of the school.

Most of the communications go like this: “Mr video I’l buy you airtime send me the vid.”

This offers a trade of airtime in return for a multimedia message containing the video.

It was easy enough for City Press to find a copy of the sordid image recorded on a cellphone and sent through the ether.

While the rape is alleged, the violation is repeated each time this image is downloaded and watched.

While charges have been dropped, what occurred was statutory rape, since the girl is below the age of consent.

The distribution of the video is illegal too, but the nature of the internet and of mobile communication is that no law will stop this.

Only social opprobrium will do so, and the laissez faire nature of the sale and distribution of the video suggests a country in which there is an appetite for abuse, for violence, for rape and for child pornography across an age and class range.

The reasons are manifold, but the solutions are elusive.

The gang bang is a copycat of any number of hip-hop and rap recordings that glorify misogyny and violence.

Role models are increasingly drawn from celebrity culture, where sex and sexuality are commercialised and cheapened.

Priests, principals and parents are no longer the figures of authority and reverence they once were. Layer this on to an already endemic culture of rape and it feels as if things are getting worse every year.

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