A television station in Ivory Coast has been backlashed for broadcasting a prime-time show where a man described as a former rapist was given a mannequin to demonstrate how he sexually assaulted his victims.
The controversial episode, which was aired on Nouvelle Chaine Ivorienne (NCI) on Monday, was met with swift backlash in the West African nation, as over 30,000 people signed a petition demanding for disciplinary action to be taken against the presenters, Al Jazeera reported. The petition was addressed to the country’s media regulator as well as the youth and communication ministries.
During the segment in question, the man, said to be a former rapist, was given a mannequin by the show’s host, Yves de M’Bella, to demonstrate how he went about sexually assaulting his victims. The dummy was laid on the ground for the so-called demonstration, and de M’Bella was seen laughing at a certain point.
Following the said demonstration, the guest reportedly sat down with women to offer them tips on how to avoid being raped.
“Please tell me I’m dreaming,” Ivorian rapper Priss’K wrote about the episode on Facebook.
“It’s disgusting, unacceptable, disrespectful, especially towards women,” she added.
“Rape is so degrading and dehumanising for the victim.”
In the wake of the backlash, NCI issued an apology on Tuesday, saying what happened was a “serious and regrettable mistake,” Al Jazeera reported.
The TV station also said it was dedicated “to respecting human rights and in particular those of women.”
It added that it empathises “with women who are victims of violence and abuse of all kinds.”
And besides suspending de M’Bella, NCI said the controversial episode will not be re-aired.
De M’Bella also rendered an apology on Facebook, saying he “made an error” and he was “sincerely sorry to have shocked everyone while trying to raise awareness,” Sky News reported.
“I’m also sorry for everything that was said or done during that sequence of the programme yesterday that hurt,” he added.
A June report by CPDEFM, an NGO that advocates for children, women and minority rights, revealed 416 women were killed in the country’s capital city of Abidjan within two years.
The probe also highlighted 2,000 cases where women were victims of violence. This included 1,290 marriages involving girls below the age of 18 as well as 1,121 rape incidents.
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