A Convicted Rapist has no Place on Television!
For the past few weeks, we’ve watched in amazement the return of Cheikh Yerim Seck to television platforms. Sentenced to 3 years in prison for rape in September 2012, Cheikh Yerim Seck served only 15 months, benefiting from a pardon that had shocked women’s rights organizations across the country. He also is out on bail for a case of suspected abortion.
Despite this criminal record, Cheikh Yerim Seck remains a good client of the Senegalese media. His opinion is solicited on a plethora of topics, and he is particularly the “go-to person” on political issues. Does the Senegalese media sphere lack political analysts that much? We don’t think so. It is more of an orchestrated and programmed rehabilitation of a man of power, a blatant case of male privilege.
Why are journalists and television executives so complacent towards a convicted rapist?
We fault Youssou Ndour, CEO of Future Media Group, regarding the frequency with which Cheikh Yérim Seck is invited to appear on the medias outlets he owns.
The Senegalese media sphere is very problematic. It is full of men who routinely maintain gender stereotypes, enforce discrimination against women, and uphold patriarchy as well as a culture of rape. One only has to watch shows like Teuss, Xalass or Guis-Guis to see that they have self-appointed as prosecutors in charge of ensuring the pseudo-virtue of women, yet out of phallic solidarity, will not say a word about a convicted rapist returning to television platforms.
Should solidarity between males take precedence over the fundamental rights of half the Senegalese population?
As a reminder, 1 woman in 3 worldwide has suffered sexual and/or physical violence at least once in her life, yet few rapists are convicted.
When is the Senegalese media going to feel concerned?
To the media executives who willingly invite Cheikh Yerim Seck and to the men and women who accept to share the platforms with him, we ask that you reconsider your role in the promotion of toxic masculinity and the trauma that each of Seck’s victims and their loved ones feel when they see him on the screen. We call on viewers to promptly boycott those television channels who invite this sexual predator to their programs.
“Paying your debt” is not enough!
Symbolically, a rapist roaming television platforms is an insult to all women, to the whole country, and to all other silent victims.
What other sex offender in Senegal is entitled to such media exposure?
This selective rehabilitation is part of the promotion of a culture of rape. This sympathy toward rapists while their victims continue to hide, deal with their traumas, and try to have a normal life, is outrageous. It trivializes, worst, it encourages sexual violence.
What message is the media sending to women who have been raped?
Furthermore, dear media executives, journalists, and heads of newsrooms, what message are you sending to the little boys and girls in this country? That rape is not that big of a deal? While the victim has to hide for the rest of her life, the rapist sees himself rehabilitated as if rape is commonplace.
Shame must change sides and the rape of our minds must stop!
While women’s rights organizations are fighting daily against the myths surrounding rape and sexual violence and are trying to change the mentalities on the subject, the media forces on us a rapist every night.
It is also our responsibility to remind you that rape is an act of barbarism. Thousands of Senegalese women have been victims of it, and it affects them for the rest of their lives.
It is your responsibility to commit to fighting this culture of rape and sexual violence, by giving a platform to men and women of integrity instead of allowing an absolute counter-model to gloat on television screens, therefore taunting his victims.
It is our responsibility to remind you that there is no hierarchy of crimes that would justify a special treatment based on the identity of the perpetrator, his social class, or privileges
Co-signers 1. Aby Diallo, President of the Association of Senegalese women jurists 2. Awa Cheikh Seck, Technical Administrator 3. Aissatou Sène, Business leader and feminist 4. Mame Diarra Diané, Manager and Feminist 5. Dr. Rama Salla Dieng, Senior Lecturer in African and Caribbean Studies, University of Nairobi, University of Edinburgh 6. Aminata Mbengue, Clinical Psychologist, feminist 7. El Bachir Niang, President of the StopTontonsaïsaï association 8. Micheline Lawson Niasse, Marketing Director 9. Eve Frieda Ngo Bakenekhe, Journalist 10. Adama Pouye, communicator 11. Fatima Dieng, Project Manager 12. Kine Fatim Diop, Human Rights Activist 13. Ndeye Fatou Kane, Researcher in Gender Studies, EHESS Paris 14. Sokhna Racky Ba, France, Business Intelligence Analyst 15. Saly Diop, Manchester, UK, Women Advocate and media specialist 16. Seydou Badiane, CEO Fabagroup 17. Adama Djitome Diatta, Journalist 18. Marina Kabou, Collectif Dafa doy f coordinator 19. Dye Fall, Teacher 20. Fatou Warkha Samb, Women’s Rights Defender, videographer 21. Aisha Dabo, Journalist 22. Maimouna Astou Yade, President of Jigen, feminist 23. Mouhamadou Elias Ndoye, Collectif Dafa doy 24. Anta Ndiaye, Lawyer and Entrepreneur 25. Papa Ismaila Dieng, Journalist and Blogger 26. Adji Fatou Faye, Pr and campaign manager, Ringier One Africa media 27. Dr Marame Gueye, Associate Professor of English and African Literatures, East Carolina University 28. Jaly Badiane, Women’s Activist 29. Aida Niang, Town Councillor, Coordinator of the M23 Movement 30. Amy Sakho, Lawyer, women’s rights activist 31. Fatouma Diallo, Political Science researcher 32. Khady Cissé, Journalist 33. Awa Cheikh Faye, Journalist