A well-orchestrated smear campaign against a 15-year-old Durban schoolgirl has led to strange men propositioning her for intercourse via WhatsApp and arriving at her home to enquire about her “services”.
The incident allegedly involves a spurned woman.
Photographs of the 15-year-old were lifted from her Instagram account and used on posters, titled “I am willing to give” and “Come on over.”
The posters, which featured her cellphone and landline numbers and home address, were put up at service stations and shops in the area.
In her affidavit submitted to police‚ the girl’s mother states that she suspects that her boyfriend’s estranged wife is behind the smear campaign.
The mother said her family had been bombarded with messages and prank phone calls since she started dating the man last year. Their harassment heightened when the man moved in with the family.
“The matter worsened when the school principal contacted me stating a letter was sent to the school encouraging the school to remove my daughter.
“Posters of her were also found outside the school premises as well as the tuck-shops and neighbouring schools in that area.
A week later her dad received a letter and photographs at his residence stating that they will be distributing posters of her in the neighbourhood‚” she said.
Less than two weeks ago‚ a resident contacted the mother to inform her that posters had been scattered on his street.
“En route we began finding posters scattered approximately 100 metres from my residence.
We then proceeded on the neighbouring roads and picked up numerous posters scattered along the roadside‚” she said.
The woman has sent her three daughters to live with their father while police investigate a case of crimen injuria.
“My children and myself now live in fear as we do not know how many other people may have our address and phone numbers and may even want to come to our residence to confirm what was on those posters.
We all have been under a lot of stress‚ humiliated‚ degraded.”
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed that a case of crimen injuria was opened at the Phoenix police station after “a 15-year-old girl was allegedly insulted by unknown people”.
Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said the matter was “simply awful”.
“To be honest it is difficult to protect against this kind of thing as people who want to be mean will be. ‘Haters gonna hate’.
“That said there are steps to ensuring that young people are careful with who they share information as well as their images.
He added that it was critical that the media did not name her and add to her abuse.
“And for anyone who get the images and her details to please not share them again as they are likely to retraumatise the victim.”