Rape group protests over Patta's patter

Rape Crisis Cape Town on Monday staged a protest in front of the offices of free-to-air television station e.tv, demanding that it apologise for its "insensitive broadcast" of the Judge Siraj Desai/Salome Isaacs issue.

The group said the editorial comment of e.tv's Debora Patta on January 22 had caused "a serious amount of damage" to many rape survivors and "undermines all the efforts, energy, time and money spent on our endeavours to challenge sexual violence".

Patta said Isaacs's withdrawal of the rape case against the Cape High Court judge had set back the daily struggle to fight the scourge of rape.

"And this is precisely what rapists hope for - that doubt will be cast on a woman crying rape. Thanks to Salome Isaacs next time a woman genuinely shouts rape - we might just think she's crying wolf."

Patta said Isaacs owed this country, "and even more importantly the man you accused of rape", a proper explanation, and at the very least an apology.

About 30 Rape Crisis members dressed in black T-shirts stood and waved placards reading "Raped by e.tv", "Debora Patta you have failed the victim and the survivor" and shouted the slogan "Who are you to judge?" in front of the station's Kloof Street offices.

Nolitha Mazwai, advocacy co-ordinator for Rape Crisis Cape Town, said the organisation had been inundated with phone calls from concerned citizens alarmed by the Patta editorial.

Rape Crisis's demands were accepted by news editor Chris Nicklin.

Kanthan Pillay, e.tv's executive news producer, said the station supported the constitution in that everyone had the right to freedom of expression, saying the response to the protests would be made on air.


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