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Rape accused seeks gag order against Reverend June Dolley-Major over social media posts

The application against Dolley-Major was lodged in March 2021, shortly after the applicant was made aware of it, according to Myburgh. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

The application against Dolley-Major was lodged in March 2021, shortly after the applicant was made aware of it, according to Myburgh. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Aug 18, 2021

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Cape Town - The gag order application, sought by the man accused of rape by Anglican Church Reverend June Dolley-Major, was heard in Western Cape High Court on Tuesday with the matter adjourned to today.

An urgent application was brought against Dolley-Major by her alleged rapist, whom she had revealed in social media posts.

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Dolley-Major said the alleged rape occurred at the Grahamstown Seminary, nearly 19 years ago.

Advocate for the complainant, Lynette Myburgh said, “... a number of people who have been accused of rape were lynched, were assaulted, by members of the community and I don’t want to express anything other than that this is a possible consequence of posting on places like social media, so one can ever be allowed to do this.”

The application against Dolley-Major was lodged in March 2021, shortly after the applicant was made aware of it, according to Myburgh.

However, Dolley-Major said the posts had gone years back. The complainant was aware of media reports, but his name was not mentioned.

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) was admitted as a friend of the court, to provide a “specific gendered and feminist context before the court” and to highlight the lived realities of women survivors of gender-based violence.

Counsel Bonita Meyersfeld said, “The WLC very clearly intervened in this case to demonstrate the dispute between the parties must be understood in the context of gender-based violence in South Africa…

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“That context is necessary and should influence this honourable court’s determination of both the facts and the law in this matter. But the context is also necessary to demonstrate that there will be a profound impact by this order on millions of women in South Africa.”

Previously, the WLC said, “This worrying trend of interdicts being brought against women to prevent them from publishing information about their experiences of gender-based violence, and those who had abused them, constitutes a violation of their constitutional right to free speech and thereby silences women and legitimises rape culture in South Africa.”

Dolley-Major manages the “Justice for Rev June Dolley Major and for All Victims/Survivors of Abuse”, Facebook page and her personal page and used this as a platform to highlight her own case and cases of sexual violence and gender-based violence.

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Last week, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Cape Town Diocese concluded its six day tribunal into the alleged rape. A judgment is expected to be made and announced within 21 days, following the hearing.

This may be the subject of a further appeal. During the tribunal, it was found that Dolley-Major had come into contact with a family member who had tested positive for Covid-19. She is currently self-isolating after having tested positive for the virus.

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