Haji Mohamed Dawjee
Haji Mohamed Dawjee

David Bullard, do not pass begin, do not collect R200

When you can’t afford to invest in a new hobby, or buy a new car, or take a life-changing trip because you’re a bitter journalist who’s basically ragged on every publication they have ever worked for … then the next best thing to do is obviously start trolling people on Twitter. A public space, where you’re bound to get attention by being as crass as you feel like.

Fine David. You’ve baited. We’ve bitten.

How else did you expect the people in a public space like Twitter to react when you accused Michelle Solomon of being a “fantasist” and “alleging” her own rape?

Here’s a word of advice David, in a country that’s dealing with a rape crisis and the countless people who have lived through these ordeals and continue to deal with them on a daily basis in silence out of fear of laying a charge and facing the social stigmatism that comes with such ease for you on Twitter, alongside an audience filled with many who I hope are not misogynistic like you — accusing someone of lying when it comes to rape is basically proving that you are a B-grade citizen and opening yourself up to the wrath of more bitterness. Which is fine I guess, but let’s put our thinking hats on and remember that there are countless other ways of getting attention. Better ways. Constructive ways. Maybe spend some time on the internet researching those, or rape stats in South Africa for that matter, instead of bullying people about personal circumstances you know nothing about.

Bullard goes on Twitter to accuse activist Solomon of:

Wow. If I am speechless, it’s because I cannot even begin to conceive of the pure degrees of ignorance someone who once was a commentator on South Africa (in the form of a column) can openly share, let alone think up a pointless, insensitive, gem like this.

Solomon rightly replied:

And he goes on and on and on to make what I can only assume he thinks are witty and intelligible remarks, including calling another Twitter user, Melanie van Wyk, his “dear” and proceeding to brag about how white-middle aged English men use that term at the Rand Club.

Have we not learnt from the countless examples in South Africa of this kind of attack on social media? Or perhaps Bullard feels protected because as an unemployed civilian he cannot be fired and he will not face the professional ramifications of his actions?

While you might be entitled to throwing the word “dear” around at the Rand Club, you — and anyone else — in this society is certainly not entitled to assert themselves — like the act of rape itself — to claim back some sort of “power”.

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    • Not_shot_by_burglars

      It’s almost too easy to make a spectacle of Bullard given that he does such a good job of it himself. But good on you for making an issue of it. Still, why did all these people on Twitter engage with someone who is merely a relatively articulate attention-seeker whose views have carried no weight for years?

      You conclude with this: “. . . you — and anyone else — in this society is certainly not entitled to assert themselves — like the act of rape itself — to claim back some sort of “power”.”

      There are better ways to pillory him without equating his words with rape. It’s unnecessary to make his stupidity equivalent with actual rape. That’s just a cheap shot unlikely to silence or shame the person. Sure, he deserves it, but all the more reason to display some level of dignity to the undignified.

      Further, in what way is he not entitled to assert himself?

      “Not entitled” as in “decent people will think he’s fool”?
      “Not entitled” as in because you say so?
      “Not entitled” as in there’s a consensus among right-thinking people that that sort of speech should be prohibited?
      Or, “not entitled” as in his constitutional right of free speech does not extend to this kind of speech?

      Sorry, but . . . Our rights to be outspoken and brave are guaranteed by the constitution. Equally, our rights to be rude and disgusting are also guaranteed. The latter is part of the price of the former.

      Plenty of Bullards abuse their rights. No need always to respond. Pick…

    • Dee Scholtz

      I cannot begin to believe how absolutely crass and arrogant David Bullard continues to be. How dare he minimise rape in such a fashion. I am horrified to the core.

    • Grant

      So hard to judge here without all the facts.

      Rape, like many things in life is a double edged sword. I can imagine both the horror of being raped AND the horror of having a consensual sexual encounter called rape after the fact. As a man, being labelled a rapist is no small matter. So we have an issue here where it is pretty bad in both directions and facts and reporting do actually matter.

      I would therefore urge caution in suggesting that because certain sectors of our society view rape as less of a crime and because our numbers are high that any accusation of rape should not be questioned and any man that questions it is wrong or out of line. It should be questioned because it is potentially a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. If there is cause and a rape has occurred, the law should come down like a ton of bricks on the rapist. No question.

      What Bullard’s issue is, I have no idea and he is either being insensitive and deserves all of the fallout that he will most certainly get or he may be asking the question that needs to be asked. That will not make him any more popular but should be seen in an entirely different light.

    • Baz

      So sad, that David Bullard has been caught up in this sensless article. The mind boggles.
      Used to enjoy his articles years ago in the Sunday Times till….leave the rest to the reader’s imagination.

    • OneFlew

      What odious behaviour.

      By Bullard’s account the elderly English people who hang out at the Rand Club (most of whom are, from memory, probably South African rather than English) seem to be of the Godfrey Bloom school of political sensibility. So firmly stuck at the troglodyte end of the mid-20th century.

      I think he does the Rand Club, the English and the elderly a disservice. (And, for that matter, the South Africans that he may be mislabelling as ‘English’.)

    • Tony

      It must be difficult for Michelle Sololmon, and all rape victims. I feel for her. I will look forward to reading her work .
      D. Bullard, on the other hand – I used to read his nonsense, as I thought it was eloquent, from an eccentric outsider trying to get in. He’s now out of bounds, banished and off my reading list.

    • Carol Coombe

      Bullard’s crazed rantings are disgusting. That is enough.

      He will continue his truly vomit-worthy campaign as long as he has caught public and personal attention. He MUST be ignored if he is to be stopped.

      To be disgusting is to be ignored, and therefore immobilised. Do not pay any attention. Rather use your time and energy to carry on with those campaigns that make a difference for the thousands of women in South Africa who suffer because of rape, jack-rolling, men’s traditional views of women or any of the many complexities that have characterised our battle against HIV and AIDS. Go for it! C

    • Bernadette

      It would seem that perhaps it is Mr. Bullard who is craving attention…?

    • Walter Pike

      We are dealing with a horrific rape culture in South Africa. Cultures only get changed when people talk about them and think about them and realise that there must be something wrong with the way they are thinking.

      People need rallying points.

      Bullard has created one of those, his behaviour has been disgusting, but read the comments below the reports and you will see that he has sympathy, that there are many who think like he does – its those people who need to be influenced and then influence others to change their attitude (even just by being seen as idiots in public) – because its a change in culture that is needed.

      So don’t stop Bullard, let him rant on but do give Michelle Solomon all your support – she is fighting a tough fight here and at what must be a huge emotional cost to her.

      I hope that I am making sense?

    • Momma Cyndi

      Walter Pike
      A great deal of sense! You don’t change peoples’ minds by telling them to be quiet, you change it by giving better arguments which make them question their beliefs.

      I do feel for Michelle – but she is a tough cookie. If she could overcome the mental trauma of rape, then Bullard and his bullies should be a walk in the park for her. A truly inspirational sister.

    • Nam

      And the more we shout abuse at Bullard (though God-knows he deserves it), the more interesting he becomes. Just like any bully, the best tactic is to ignore him and let him continue trying to recapture his 15 minutes of fame.

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