As she approached her own room Zintle saw a couple she knew. A cold feeling of dread passed over her as their chatter fell silent, they avoided her eyes and hurried past as she stood outside her door. Tainted by association. It gave her a wrenching surge of sympathy for what her friend must be going though.

Once inside and away from judging eyes, and even though she felt somehow furtive and a little guilty about doing it, Zintle could not stop herself going straight to the comments on her Facebook feed. They were mostly more people making rude or disgusted comments.

She had to do something even though it felt like the proverb, “shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted”. She deleted the horrible picture of her friend and put up a new status. She thought carefully about the words.

Please do not tag me to see
disgusting pictures someone has taken
that harm a friend’s privacy and dignity.
Otherwise: unfriended.

Within seconds the comment feed came alive. Obviously everyone was watching this as unfolding hot news.

Now u kno da truth about da bitch u been hangin with. Drop her chommie.

I agree Zint. Felt v upset seeing it. I hav deleted.

Me tu

U make ur ‘beach bed’ u lie in it hkhkhk! That ho getin wat she dazevs.

God u such a sexist – so she’s a ‘ho’ and what is he … a dude 2 admire?

Jus becos a grl drinks 2 much don’t mean a guy cn do dat. He is da ho.

She was interrupted by a rapid knock on her door, followed by her friend Cassy bursting in, wild-eyed and freaked out.

“Zint – what the hell! What happened? I can’t believe my eyes. Nor all those horrible comments. And you are so right … I just immediately deleted it from my feed. I could not bear to even catch a glimpse of that picture again. I feel … somehow traumatised myself … poor poor Dina. Have you seen her?”

“She’s in a bad way, Cas. She’s locked herself in her room. What can we do? How can we stop this thing? No one deserves this. People who have no link to her will just share and share, not even seeing her as a real human being … not caring what it will do to her life!”

Then she was alarmed to see a long comment from a favourite ex-teacher back home pop up on the feed. “OMG. Now look, Cassy – this is a post about Dina from my cool old LO teacher from high school. We are both Facebook friends of hers.”

Zintle and Cassy stared at each other. Oh no – this was the true meaning of “gone viral”! Of “social networking”. They were both thinking the same thing: by now even members of their families back home had probably seen the shocking tagged picture of “varsity life”!

Zintle read out the teacher’s comment:

That picture showed sexual abuse. That poor girl
was dead drunk and being raped. Those who
watched and encouraged or even did nothing
to stop it were taking part. The heartless
person who posted the picture is continuing
her “rape”. So is everyone who shared
instead of deleted. Shame on you.
Think before you post!

“Yes!” said Zintle. “That’s what I have been edging to in my own thoughts. Mrs Jacobs is right: its rape, and now continuing abuse on social media. There is no way this is just the usual case of students getting a bit out of hand and going too far with partying.”

“Ja,” confirmed Cassy, “it does feel like that – like a crime has been committed against her!”

The situation was serious. Zintle now knew what she had to do.


Tell us what you think: What do you think of what Zintle did?