Gender-based organisations have challenged South Africans to rethink the way they raise boys so that they are more sensitive to issues relating to violence against the vulnerable.
This follows a Hilton College-linked scandal in which a group of boys took a picture showing one of them dressed in what appears to be a St Annes School for girls uniform while the other four pretend to rape “her”.
The image appeared on social media with the caption: “Apparently we are ‘f**kbois’ (losers) yet they love us anyway”.
The post triggered outrage on social media nationwide.
Sonke Gender Justice’s Mbuyiselo Botha and Sakina Mohamed of People Opposing Women Abuse both said it was sad there were still teenagers who thought rape was a laughing matter.
“Rape is such a violation that your whole being is taken away and some victims are unable to cope so they commit suicide. Boys are also sometimes victims so such ‘pranks’ makes one wonder if they are not acting out what they have seen being done,” Mohamed said.
Botha said rape was a matter of life and death in some cases. He said parents and teachers had a major role in grooming boys into men and such “jokes” called for urgent attention and rethinking on what values the boys were being taught.
“They are going to be husbands and fathers so we need to ensure they don’t raise their children with the mentality of making sickening jokes about sexual violence, especially in today’s society where so many young girls and boys are victims,” he said.
Headmaster Peter Ducasse described the image as highly offensive and said the college would be investigating the matter before taking appropriate disciplinary action.
KZN department of education’s spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi condemned the boys’ actions, describing it as “barbaric, inhumane and gender insensitive”.
Mahlambi believed that such actions were a reflection of social ills and said he hoped no one was victimised at the end of the “mock rape” incident.
“We have an interest in the findings of the school’s investigation and we will then advise accordingly,” he said.
A Facebook post claiming to be from the Hilton College teens involved in the “mock rape” picture scandal apologises for “a joke” and “an act born out of ignorance, not malice”.
“You have the right to know why we made this mistake. It was intended as a joke, between friends, but was a gross misjudgment. We are not making excuses and take full responsibility for our actions.”