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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Support for Yolanda after removal from Big Brother ‘reveals society’s double standards on GBV’

Bravo B was also disqualified after sexual abuse comments. But unlike Bravo B, Yolanda has received overwhelming support after her removal.

The removal of Yolanda as a contestant on Big Brother Mzansi (BBM) has put the spotlight on the disparity of societal treatment towards male and female perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Eulanda ‘Yolanda’ Monyai was booted from the reality TV show after spewing comments relating to sexual violence, targeted at fellow housemate, Sabelo “Papa Ghost” Ncube.

“I’m going to go rape Ghost. I’m going to force myself into his bed,” she told her housemates during the 24-hour live broadcast.

Yolanda did apologise to Papa Ghost, who is also the younger brother of broadcaster Andile Ncube.

“The support Yolanda has received from her fans as a result of being booted off the competition show is symptomatic to the crisis of gender based violence and sexual perversion in our communities,” expert on GBV Yolanda Dyantyi told The Citizen.

Dyantyi is the founder of Archive Amabali Wethu, a media and digital organisation that aims to cultivate a practice of dialogue that broadens our understanding of GBV.

“There should never be favouritism afforded to a perpetrator of violence no matter their gender and sexuality,” averred Dyantyi.

“We do not condone any acts that threaten the safety of the housemates on the show and we take gender-based violence seriously. Therefore, the housemate who made the threatening remarks [Yolanda] has been disqualified from the game,” read the statement from MultiChoice on Friday.

ALSO READ: Yolanda’s team begs for donations after ‘BBMzansi’ disqualification

Society’s double standards

This was a show of consistency from the channel after male contestant, Lindokuhle ‘Bravo B’ Nsele was kicked off the show after he and fellow participant Tshepo ‘Makhekhe’ Tau plotted to sexually take advantage of inebriated female contestants, live on television.

The dunk female targets were Zinhle Mofokeng, nickname Zee, or Liyema Phantsi, nickname Liema.

The channel played its part in booting Yolanda, who was a fan favourite, off the show but the response to her exit has been treated differently to that of Bravo B by viewers of the show.

“The show is consistent on standing firm against GBV and that is a positive sign. At least they are not being biased in their decisions by taking a firm stand against any form or threats of sexual and gender-based violence on their platform,” said Dyantyi.

Such is the backing for Yolanda that her team’s decision to initiate a BackaBuddy campaign was instantly supported.  The purpose of the campaign was for donations following her disqualification.

“Booting off the woman contestant for saying she wants to ‘molest’ another contestant on the show (despite the gender of the victim) was a bold decision by the show’s executive team,” Dyantyi said.

Bravo B was rightfully denied any support from the viewers following his utterances.

Beyond this, viewers of the show also demanded for the channel to also remove Makhekhe – some even threatened to report BBM to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).

Yolanda’s BackaBuddy campaign was hijacked by impersonators and her team decided to share her banking details instead, while they create a GoFundMe account.

“It’s not Yolanda’s fault that people want to reward her for her bad behaviour, society should reflect harder on how best we can be diverting our resources towards meaningful initiatives and causes that aim to raise awareness and educate, and or alleviate violence in our communities,” said Dyantyi.

The activist said society as a whole still has a long way to go in understanding the implications of violence.

“Verbal and non-verbal; no matter how big or trivial our actions may seem… and how we should not be rewarding people who have explicitly displayed their lack of morals towards respecting bodily autonomy as a critical tenet of our human rights.”

ALSO READ: Social media users believe BBMzansi’s Tshepo ‘Makhekhe’ should have his cake and eat it

The myth

Dyantyi said the myth of heterosexual men not being victims of GBV is one that men themselves need to be accountable for.

She said they need to “learn to speak up more when they have been victimised and abused by women or in their intimate partner relationships”.

“They need to dispel the myth themselves and put in the activism. Women who are already marginalised by virtue of our gender have been organising against patriarchal violence for decades now.”

NOW READ: BBMzansi: Fans firmly behind Zee as first elimination round looms