Outcry in Ivory Coast over televised ‘rape demonstration’

NCI TV channel says presenter suspended amid nationwide backlash over scene with man using mannequin to simulate rape.

The NCI channel says the show's host Yves de M'Bella has been suspended [Screen grab/YouTube]

A TV channel in Ivory Coast has apologised after broadcasting a show in which a man presented as a former rapist explained how he assaulted his victims, using a mannequin for the demonstration.

The programme, broadcast at prime time on Monday by the private Nouvelle Chaine Ivorienne (NCI) channel, caused a nationwide outcry, including a petition signed by 30,000 people demanding that the presenters be punished.

The show saw host Yves de M’Bella hand his guest a mannequin, laughing, helping him lay it on the ground and asking him to explain in detail how he raped his victims.

At the end of this “demonstration,” the man was invited to give women “advice” to avoid being raped.

“Please tell me I’m dreaming,” Priss’K, an Ivorian rapper, wrote on Facebook.

“It’s disgusting, unacceptable, disrespectful, especially towards women,” she wrote. “Rape is so degrading and dehumanising for the victim.”

TV channel apology

The petition, addressed to the country’s media regulator and the ministries of communication and youth, called for the show to be cancelled and for “its presenting team, headed by Yves de M’Bella, to be sanctioned”.

NCI’s management apologised on Tuesday, saying it was committed “to respecting human rights and in particular those of women”, and expressing its “solidarity with women who are victims of violence and abuse of all kinds”.

Taking responsibility “for this serious and regrettable mistake”, NCI said De M’Bella had been suspended and the contested episode of the show would not be rebroadcast.

In June, an NGO called CPDEFM, which campaigns for the rights of children, women and minorities, found, after an in-depth probe, that in the space of two years, 416 women had been killed in Abidjan alone.

It also identified 2,000 cases of violence against women, including 1,290 marriages of girls aged less than 18 and 1,121 rapes.

Source: News Agencies