A television program supposed to denounce the rape and featuring a former rapist raised a wave of indignation in Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday. The host was suspended by the management of the New Ivorian Channel (NCI). Women’s rights organizations call for a demonstration in Abidjan.
Monday, August 30, at the end of the afternoon, at prime time, the private television New Ivorian channel (NCI) created in 2019, broadcasts live and in public its program “La TV ici vacances”, dedicated to rape and presented by host Yves de M’Bella.
The host invited a man whom he presents as a former rapist and whom he asks to explain how he went about abusing his victims. To better illustrate the words of the ex-rapist, the host, laughing in front of a mocking audience, provides him with a mannequin that he helps him to lay on the ground and then asks him to explain in great detail how he raped a woman.
After this “demonstration”, the ex-rapist is invited by Yves de M’Bella to give his “advice” to a woman so as not to be raped. Barely finished, the show sparked outrageous reactions on social networks from Ivorian personalities and anonymous.
“Tell me that I am dreaming”, writes on Facebook Priss’K, artist and comedian. “It is disgusting, inadmissible, disrespectful, especially towards women. Rape is so degrading, dehumanizing for the victim ”.
Geneviève Wannée, painter and former Ivorian television star host, denounces “the attitude of the presenter who approaches the subject of rape like a game, who speaks of a subject so traumatic for the victims with humor and casualness. “. “We are outraged,” she adds on her Facebook page. ” We are fed up. Let’s wake up ”.
Nassénéba Touré, Minister for Women, strongly condemned “these despicable acts” which “undermine efforts” to eradicate “this scourge (rape) which ruins the lives of thousands of women and girls”.
The Ivorian League for Women’s Rights also condemned “with the utmost energy this program and its content humiliating and degrading for women” and recalls in a statement that “rape is a crime”. She lodged a complaint “for public contempt of modesty and apology for rape” against NCI and Mr. de M’Bella which she wishes he would not be associated “with the final of the Miss Côte d’Ivoire contest” that he was to host on Saturday.
The presenter asks “forgiveness”
Launched shortly after the broadcast of the program, a petition signed on Tuesday by more than 37,500 people, addressed to the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (Haca), to the Ministries of Communication and Youth, deplores that “television whose role is to educate, is complicit in violence against women by giving a voice to a rapist ”.
The leadership of the NCI offered its “sincere apologies” and expressed its “deep regrets” and “solidarity with women victims of violence and abuse of all kinds”. “We humbly assume full responsibility for this serious and regrettable fault from which we will draw all the consequences”.
In a press release, the Haca, said to have “decided on the suspension” of Yves de M’Bella “for a period of 30 days of all the antennas of television and radio channels in Ivory Coast”. She says the man on the show is an ex-detainee “convicted of rape, assault and battery.”
Yves de M’Bella told AFP “to understand the indignation of each other”, saying himself “bruised by the turn of events. I ask forgiveness “. A demonstration by women’s rights organizations is scheduled for Wednesday in Abidjan against “the trivialization of violence against women”.
There are no official statistics on rapes in Côte d’Ivoire
For the 2018-2019 judicial year, the Ministry of Justice indicates that it has identified 481 cases of conviction for rape, but most sexual assaults are not the subject of complaints, according to women’s rights NGOs.
In a survey of 5,556 people published in June, the NGO Citizens for the Promotion and Defense of the Rights of Children, Women and Minorities (CPDEFM), identified in two years in the city of Abidjan 416 feminicides, 2,000 cases of violence against women, including 1,290 cases of the marriage of girls under 18 and 1,121 rapes.