Activist Jennifer Ferguson has taken to social media to share an incident in which she was allegedly raped by a prominent sports administrator 24 years ago at a Port Elizabeth hotel.
Ferguson, a singer and songwriter who now lives in Sweden, says she was invited to sing at a dinner hosted by leading South African sports bodies and representative officials, an event she says was only attended by a few women.
As she was leaving after her performance, the “entertaining” and “pleasant” man started a conversation with her and allegedly invited her to join him for a drink at the bar, an invitation she accepted.
She says she told him she had to go to her suite to change from her performance dress, but the man allegedly offered to wait for her in the suite.
“I felt a little uneasy as he entered my suite, but beckoned him into the lounge and asked him to wait there while I changed.”
She went into her bedroom, closed the door and started changing when a few minutes later, the door opened and the man allegedly entered the room.
“Without a word, he grabbed me and forced me on to the bed from behind. He overpowered me and painfully raped me. It must have been over in about 20 seconds, although it felt like a lifetime. He left immediately without saying a word,” she alleged.
“I was in a state of complete shock and pain. Bewildered. Not sure what to do. I washed and left the hotel and began to walk.
“I reached the beach and sat there a very long time trying to process what had happened. The thought of going to the police felt intolerable.”
Things got worse for her the following day when she had to face her alleged rapist in the breakfast area of the hotel.
“He disappeared as soon as I arrived. I would see him at many political gatherings thereafter, in the corridors of the parliament, in our caucus. He would never meet me in the eye. Slide away as fast as possible,” she added.
Ferguson said she struggled to speak out for 24 years because she somehow blamed herself for the rape.
“Survivors of abuse do not need to feel shame.
“I am not speaking out to get revenge on [name withheld] or a million South African men like him. I am doing this so we can all begin to heal,” she said.
Ferguson’s post comes after millions of women took to social media recently to speak out against rape using the hashtag #MeToo. Women worldwide spoke out on social media, naming and shaming their alleged perpetrators, calling for justice.
Read her full blog post here.
The official, whose identity is known by The Citizen, had not responded to the allegations after numerous calls and messages to him by the time of publishing.