THE controversial columnist and author, David Bullard, has landed in hot water again – after being accused of bullying a rape victim on Twitter.
The Twitter spat started on Monday, when Bullard posted this tweet to East London journalist Michelle Solomon:
“@mishsolomon Do you have anything else in your life to cling to other than your alleged rape? If you were raped then lay a charge.”
Solomon has been vocal about her alleged rape in 2010, but did not report it to the police.
As a result, Bullard questioned the veracity of her claim:
“@mishsolomon Face facts Mish. You got horribly drunk, had a bonk, regretted it in the morning and called it rape to protect your reputation.”
Bullard is no stranger to controversy. In 2008 he was dismissed from the Sunday Times for an alleged racist column.
His latest comments on Twitter have sparked outrage.
Sonke Gender Justice Network’s Mbuyiselo Botha said the thinking behind Bullard’s tweets defeated efforts of those trying to curb rape.
“This contributes to the toxicity that degrades women every day.”
Botha said there were a number of reasons why women did not report rape, including the belief that the justice system “may further rape them”.
Lisa Vetten, research associate at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, said comments like those of Bullard’s were “exactly why women do not report rape”.
She said it had become the “norm” not to report a rape, with survivors doubting whether they would be believed.
Solomon said she had not reported the rape because she was afraid people would respond like Bullard did, and that no one would believe her.
Social media lawyer Tamsyn de Beer said social media wars were becoming more prevalent.
“The legal consequences online are the same as those offline, but for David Bullard the reputational consequences are more severe. He has already been branded as a racist … now he has branded himself as unsympathetic to rape victims,” De Beer said.
Bullard yesterday declined to comment on the outcry over his Twitter comments
Solomon said she was consulting activists in the legal field about what action to take.