And talking of new media and sexual assault…..

// 5 November 2007

Viewers of Big Brother in Africa have been complaining about what appeared to be a rape shown live on the show. Richard Bezuidenhout After a protracted drinking session Nigerian medical assistant Ofunneka Molokwu appeared to pass out at which point Richard Benzuidenhout (shown here) penetrated her with his fingers, despite another housemate pleading with him not to. Under South African law, where the show is filmed, this constitutes rape.

The whole encounter is worrying on so many levels – Endamol have continued to argue that there was no evident Molokwu was unconscious or didn’t consent, although they did, after the assault, send in paramedics and cut the live feed (surely one viewpoint being inconsistent with the other). Viewers are, however, adamant about what was shown and Benzuidenhout defending his sexual behaviour on the show (although it’s not clear whether this was before or after the rape) saying “Well this is Africa” and told his victim “It was only a game”. Molokwu has said she has no recollection of what happened after she vomited but the show has said that unless she complains they will take no action.

Seemingly Benzuidhout promised to have sex with (but in much less polite language) all three female contestants left in the house with him. Benzuidhout is also married. One can only hope that situation lasts less long than the protracted legal case that is bound to happen when Molokwu sees the footage of her rape. One can only imagine how the African equivalent of Davina will handle that one…… are reporting that in his home country of Tanzania there is still widespread support for him to win:

“In his quest for the prize he has not stepped on anybody’s toes the way some people did,” wrote one fan From Jezebel

More confusingly the network showing the show has since claimed it was another housemate Durao who was passed out (despite Benzuidhout apparently “nearly” having sex with her too (whatever that means). And if Molokwu was conscious why did she make no response to Maureen Namatovu who was apparently screaming at Benzuidhout not to. Smacks of a cover-up to me.

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