For over a year, journalist and activist Gillian Schutte has been trying to get the contents of a Facebook message which contains racial undertones some attention from people who can act on it, but to no avail.
So only when she posted the images to Twitter on Sunday evening did someone retweet them and the spiral began.
You see, High court in Pretoria Judge Mabel Jansen had been involved in a highly questionable conversation with Gillian, seemingly suggesting that rape is an ingrained part of black people’s culture.
Obviously, Twitter was quick to dish out the insults.
Her response? Priceless:
People were hardly taken by it, and now there is a petition to remove the judge from her post. Started by Linda Mahamba, it said:
Fellow South Africans, the views of Judge Jansen are not only racist and bigotry but also underline the institutional racism in our judicial system. I see it fitting that a person with such views cannot be given powers to preside in our legal system due to her lack of neutrality, which could tamper with her decision making due to personal views about race.
We have come a long way not to allow the views of individuals such as Mabel Jansen to instigate social unrest in our very fragile democracy. Your signature will be highly appreciated. Lead South Africa.
Set to be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission, at the time of writing the petition sat with just over 1 800 signatures.
When News24 contacted Mabel for comment on Sunday evening..
…she said her husband had just died in the UK and the controversy had shaken her because the accusations are opposite to who she is.
She said the excerpts doing the rounds on the internet formed part of a private Facebook inbox exchange with Schutte last May. It started when she was trying to find help for the victims of the rape and assault cases that she hears.
It worried her that victims were often alone with no help – especially children and women who had been raped by a relative or family member.
Somebody suggested she get in touch with Schutte who would be able to give her advice on how to help them, and they started communicating via Facebook inbox.
Jansen said that she came under attack and was accused of saying that all black men are rapists. She blocked Schutte and, she said, she thought that was the end of it.
But Schutte said that Jansen had not approached her for help for the victims of rape. Rather Jansen had participated in a “raging” public debate where she was taken to task for racism and the conversation continued with Jansen messaging Schutte.
Jansen, who was appointed a High Court judge in December 2013, said the number and brutality of the rape cases the judges have to hear is shocking. A friend once commented that she may even have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from hearing them.
She said she even invited Schutte to read some of the case files.
“I was referring to specific cases,” said Jansen. “It was within that context.
“She knew I was not generalising.”
Supporters of Judge Mabel have used the word “shame”, blaming Gillian for victimising the poor white lady – much like supporters of the awful ex-waitress Ashleigh Shultz. Ideas of victims are so skewed.
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