Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Rhodes Confessions page – is this how we want to represent Rhodes?

Since I’m been blamed for taking down the first Confessions page even though I didn’t, I’ll take credit where it’s due and highlight the beyond the pale posts on the new one. I’ll be updating every now and then.
[edit: I changed the headline from “Rhodes Confessions page has a rape problem” to the current headline as it seemed inflammatory.]

Well, to start with we have a rape post:

Rape post

UPDATE: after reporting the above confession to the page admins, it has been taken down.





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35 Responses

  1. Raised (rightly) to public awareness by activists like yourselves Mich, is the underlying, and dare I say modern, trend to glorify and trivialize rape. I was a subscriber to Tricia Henden’s “Rapebook” and her attempts to highlight the lack of control in Facebook’s policies. Tricia threw in the towel, for her own safety and the safety of her kids, after comments were posted threatening her in the most graphic and definitive way. What shocked me most was the graphic and explicit threats made to an activist who dared speak out against rape and “rape humour”. It highlighted to me a very serious underlying sentiment – one that exposes the dark underbelly of our society, which is that men (I know I’m generalizing) have become not only perverted, but violently perverted. Following trials like 12 yo Tia Sharp, where here own grandfather killed her, and then proceeded to pose her naked corpse in various pornographic poses, or April Jones, or Anene Booysen, or countless others, I am becoming more and more convinced of a degraded society. It shocks and saddens me. I feel like I’m raging against the machine – between teaching my sons respect for their mother, their foster sister (who came from an abusive home) and women in general, and the immeasurable disrespect shown by the media and society at large, I sometimes feel like we are waging a lost war…

    I also lay huge blame at the purveyors of pornography for our attitudes toward women!

    For me, education begins at home. Unless we restore our homes into safe-houses of respect, mutual understanding and Godly values, their can hardly be a change in attitude once we step outside our homes.

    Fathers need to stand up and be counted


  2. Oh, Michelle, as one of your ‘sheep’, I shake my head at the posturing of your detractors. If only we could harness their indignation and self-righteousness and use it more purposefully to fight rape itself. I may be much older than you, but know that your experience of this type of threatening male anger when faced with a challenging, tjatjarig woman is something that thinking, speaking women have faced for centuries. Intelligent women still seem to provoke deep-seated anger and vitriol in a certain group of men. What is different (and encouraging) today is the growing numbers of men who refuse to be represented by this kind of crud. A luta continua…continua…continua.


    • And we are very fortunate to have women like you that raise sons like that, who support strong, thinking women rather than trying to trample them or lead them. Thank you. 🙂


  3. IANAL

    Whenever something is posted in a public space where it is open to all to see there can be no expectation of privacy. Facebook very specifically allows for three options for groups – Open, Closed, Secret – each of which have their own traits.

    By choosing to post in an open group you are choosing to voice an opinion on a very public soap box where anybody could be recording what is happening. If the group was closed, or secret then a reasonable expectation of privacy could arise. Moreover the primary responsibility of journalists is to report accurately and fairly to the public what is in the public interest. Often the resources underlying an article and the sources need to be kept confidential in the public interest and even more often the public really just want a summary. When there is a matter that is fleetingly in the public space that is in the public interest it becomes an essential part of journalism to record and present a record in the public interest. So if a bunch of hoodlums are saying stupid things and deleting them it may well be a part of proper journalism to present the statements verbatim. The historians of tomorrow may be thankful


  4. More of that “little think”, as requested.

    I understand why you may be confused yourself. It does get a bit complicated, especially with statements like: “Personally I could not care less whether you black my name out or not”, followed by “But, the point still stands. Remove this post / black out the names in the comments, or I will contact those users and see how they feel about their image and names being used without their permission.”
    You seem to be crusading for the rights of people who have no reason to want their posts removed, as they all expressed disgust at the post. Your post however, and here please note my exact words, was at the very least distasteful. You are the only person with something to lose from the inclusion of names, and yet you say you don’t care if your name is published, yet for the good of mankind you are fighting tooth and nail for the protection of others who have no cause for concern. If you did ask them how they felt about their names being published, I see no reason for them to be concerned at all. Your crusade here seems to be in bad faith.
    My posting of the Facebook terms was simply for ease of reference, and not meant to imply incompetence on your part at all. I am sorry if I gave offense. You are clearly, as you say, more capable than most of the population.
    Yes, the terms are for Facebook’s protection. However, users agree that their status updates are publicly accessible before they are allowed to use Facebook. Sure, nobody can sue Facebook for a user’s posts, but the agreement between Facebook and the user means that they agree that anything not intellectual copyright material is public domain. It is fairly explicit on this point. Anybody can access, copy, and associate that material with you. Whether your agreement is with Facebook or with a third party, if you agree that your posts are freely accessible by the public, then that is that. Anything else is like writing a column for a newspaper and then saying that only specific people can read it. It is published. I know Wikipedia is not the last word in legal issues, but take a moment to read this
    As you suggested, I Googled “cease and desist”. All I got was that it is an order to stop an activity or face legal action, either issued by a court or a lawyer. However, all such orders must be reviewed and can very easily be challenged. Primarily, it seems, they are just a form of legal bullying used to silence individuals out of fear of legal action. So no, I’m not sure I see where this is going. Are you suggesting that you will go so far as to issue a cease and desist order on behalf of the individuals who expressed disgust at the post, demanding that Michelle stop agreeing with them?
    I did not decide the comment was about rape – if you re-read my comment, I said it was debatable that it was endorsing rape, but that I found it distasteful.
    The quote you offer is intriguing, and I would like to read it in context. Pasting the “direct quote” into Google offers not results – could you provide a link to the full document, or at least the name of the great intellectual who wrote it? I would like to take several moments to think about it.
    Many Thanks.


  5. Words cannot describe how disturbed I feel at the idea that ‘in fact this is a commonly used ice-breaker as a pickup line ‘ I sincerely hope that this is scrambling for defense and not an actual reflection of male attitudes out there. I can truthfully say I have not ever heard one of my single, male friends referencing something so horrendous when showing romantic or sexual interest in a woman.


  6. Eish…. I wish sometimes people will know when to stop talking…. Knox, do the right thing, apologize and retire quietly, hoping against all odds that this will go away. There is nothing you can do or say to justify your actions so just apologize. Seriously, are you really hoping to cajole us into thinking your “joke” was not about rape? C’mon dude, people with IQ’s above 20 read these posts. And then you go and exasperate the issue with the “pick-up line” comment! Are you kidding me? Even if it was a common pick-up line (personally I think you need to change the places you frequent), why would it be OK if it was in the form of a pick-up line?

    We are suffering from the disease of trivializing issues that are in essence very serious matter and we all need to be educated as to the gravity of issues such as gender-bias, sexual abuse etc. And if activists like Michelle are “superficial, essentialist and reactionary” (wow, did you look that up?), wouldn’t the adult thing to do be to see what we can learn and perhaps modify our own behaviours?

    Dude, you screwed up. Now man-up, admit your mistake, apologize for you insensitivity and hopefully learn from this! The hole being dug is not on Michelle’s side of the fence…


    • Nice try Eugene but I have absolutely nothing to apologise for.

      Firstly, I stand by every word I have said and will continue to say. It is such a pity that Michelle has so many sheep following her, and I can rest knowing that it will all blow up in their faces eventually. I could care less what happens to the post or the blog, I merely came here to warn her that there are legal implications to her post, just as she warned the confession page as to legal matters regarding theirs.

      However because her mind is totally closed off to anything outside of her little bubble, she was the one who chose to act the way she has. Generally people dont act that way unless they have something to hide, trying a bit too hard?

      And just because you and the rest of this “group” have a limited vocabulary, does not mean the rest of us do.

      And in that note, I am done. There is no use arguing with feebleminded people such as yourselves. Heaven forbid I lower my intelligence down to yours, hell I’d rather kill myself with a plastic spoon than be as retarded as yourselves. I wish her well in all her endeavors as futile as they will be. Good luck being an online-activist, its been so entertaining reading your replies trying to state facts on things upon which you clearly know nothing.

      I look forward to seeing the article that ends your career! Ciao.


      • I feel thoroughly lynched by your profound and deep rhetoric Knox. Allow me to retire into my corner and lick my wounds. You sir, are an astute orator, the likes of which I haven’t seen since Marc Anthony swayed the Roman crowds. I salute you sir…

        Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.
        Niccolo Machiavelli


      • Don’t mind him, Eugene. He’s just a silly student in a flap because he was caught out saying something silly on a public Facebook page.


      • I have nothing to hide. As I’ve said from the beginning – do your worst. Please? It would be ever so exciting. I humbly await to see what you could possibly do that would force me to take this post down. It would be a wonderful experiment for me. Also, I’d hate to state the obvious, but surely as someone who has demanded that I take this post down, you are the person with something to hide? (And in case you have again forgotten, this is what you said: “Remove this post / black out the names in the comments, or I will contact those users and see how they feel about their image and names being used without their permission.” Trying a bit too hard there, Knox?)

        None of the commenters here are my “sheep”. They are adults with minds and opinions of their own, and also know how to be sensitive and cordial. Perhaps you can learn something from them. Also, are you sure you have the qualifications to criticise anyone’s vocabulary, considering how much you have struggled with the definition of a threat?

        I have yet to see you post an accurate fact here, Knox. First it was the nature of public posts on Facebook, then the definition of “threat”, and now your rather pitiful attempt at an ad hominem attack on myself and my readers. You really are an aggravated chap, aren’t you? I suggest you rather focus your energies on stopping yourself from saying silly things in public; it seems that will really improve your quality of life.

        Good luck!

        The Banshee


  7. “you shouldnta done that” = south park reference. Lighten up a little. If i was making a threat, you would KNOW it was a threat, trust me.

    And regarding the taking this further issue, NOW it is about me due to your complete ignorance and lack of respect. Dont expect others to show respect for you if you are not willing to do the same.

    On that note, I see you casually tiptoed around the metaphor situation. Move on with your life please and stop pissing on peoples doorsteps. Not everyone is quite as chilled as myself and its going to get you into way bigger messes than with someone such as myself who wont be shut up. Practice what you preach Michelle.


    • Oh, don’t worry. I find you extremely amusing. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what you can come up with. Practice what I preach? Do you mean, “As jy dom is moet jy kak”? Because I think that one applies to you perfectly, having posted a stupid comment on a public Facebook page.

      I find it hilarious that you think I am trying to shut you up when you are commenting on my blog that I moderate. Don’t you think that if I wanted to silence you I would’ve stopped approving your comments? Hahaha!

      While you are genuinely putting a smile on my face, alas! I must away and get back to work.


      The Banshee


  8. ‘But, the point still stands. Remove this post / black out the names in the comments, or I will contact those users and see how they feel about their image and names being used without their permission. And trust me I will take this MUCH further than a simple “you shouldn’ta done that”.’ – sounds like a threat to me…


  9. Oh, dearest Michelle.

    You seem to have totally missed the plot. But then again, for someone as superficial, essentialist and reactionary as yourself (quoted by ***** *******) I am not surprised. So allow me to reiterate everything more simply that you are not confused.

    1. I offered no threat. Threats are pointless endeavours with zero results. What I did do, is tell you that I will not back down until this issue is resolved. Google the definition of threat and try again.

    2. I state several times that I have no interest in whether my name is removed or blacked out. I do not refrain from speaking my mind, in fact this is a commonly used ice-breaker as a pickup line and whilst some such as yourself may immediately jump to rape, my comment can be used in a variety of contexts, however since you probably do not venture out beyond the reach of your PC, you may not know this. The OTHER individuals, that are probably completely unaware that their image is being used without their knowledge, very well might mind.

    3. Regarding the first line in point two, I have seen your tweets, which have stated “Someone who supported a pro-rape post on a public Facebook page is threatening that I remove their name or else.” and “commentor demanding his name is redacted from his rape apologist comment.” are utter and complete lies. First and foremost, my comment has no mention or relation to rape. You were the one who decided that. I may not be an expert on the matter but I am pretty sure someone won’t ask permission. Secondly, and more to the point, you have downright lied to people by stating that I made such threats in order for you to “herd the sheep”. Pretty sure making things up is not quite kosher. Or is that the type of journalist you are planning to be? Yes that will turn out great in the end.

    All you are doing is digging a deeper and deeper hole, and the blame is on no-one but yourself. I merely, and very calmly, told you to cover the names of those involved, to cover yourself, as it is in your best interests. It could have all been solved very quickly. However, as most things you are involved with seem to turn out, you have blown it out of proportion and distorted facts and quotes, resulting in a mess which will do far less damage to anyone other than yourself.

    And just before you get all huffed and puffed again, that is NOT a threat. It is simply pure hard fact, and now you will be left to deal with the consequences of your actions. You seem to think that you are unique, that you’re special and that now you can do anything without repercussion. This is a very distorted perception and I hope you snap out of it before you make a mess of things.


    • As I said – do your worst. I am covered both legally and ethically, since those comments were made on a public platform.

      1. In your last comment, you wrote: “Remove this post / black out the names in the comments, or I will contact those users and see how they feel about their image and names being used without their permission. And trust me I will take this MUCH further than a simple “you shouldn’ta done that”.” In summary: Remove this post or else. I followed your recommendation to Google the definition of threat, which is “A statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not”. In summary: Remove this post or else. So I believe my point stands – you issued a threat in your previous comments.

      2. It is quite clear that you want your own name redacted but are using the other commenters on the thread as a shield. Otherwise, why would you care? You won’t convince me that you are simply being altruistic about this matter. What you refer to as a “commonly used ice-breaker” is nothing less than a disturbing suggestion of violence. But considering how quickly you escalated this matter to the level of a threat, I don’t find it at all surprising that you think it a pick-up line to ask someone to sniff a cloth of chloroform. It is also irrelevant how the other commenters feel, since they commented on a public space, just as you did. I don’t believe any of them will take issue with their comments being here, since you are the only person in that thread to have made a rape apologist comment. And that’s exactly what it was.

      3. Point three is really a re-hash of one, so I have nothing substantial to add. I will simply remind you that people can read your comments, and the writing is on the wall, so to speak.

      Again, I have covered myself, since these comments were made on a public platform. Legally and ethically I haven’t committed any wrongs. But I’m sure it will be a lot of fun watching you try to find a way to punish me, so please do proceed.


      The Banshee


  10. I have had a little think obout this episode, and there are two points I would like to make:

    1 – Whether the actual comment made by Knox is endorsing the rape post may be debatable, although I am no expert, that is for others more qualified than I am to decide. I will happily admit, however, that it was in poor taste to quote the punch line of a rape joke in response to a callous admission to multiple rapes.

    2 – To now request that the post be removed from your blog is just juvenile and ignorant of what it means to post on a public forum.
    See the Facebook Terms under
    Sharing your Content and Information
    When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).”
    In addition, Facebook’s Data Use Policy [] clearly states:
    “Always think before you post. Just like anything else you post on the web or send in an email, information you share on Facebook can be copied or re-shared by anyone who can see it.”
    These are terms that anyone posting on Facebook has agreed to in order to be allowed to post on Facebook.
    Once a post has been made in the public realm, the content of the post is beyond the control of the poster – and it affects everybody who reads it. It may have a positive effect, a large effect, a small effect, or a very negative effect, however simply removing the post does not erase the effect. If the post was made in ignorance, then a public apology and explanation that the poster had no intention to cause harm may go some small way to ameliorating the harm done by the post – but there is no way of rewinding the post so the harm never happened. Once somebody is shot, removing the bullet does not mean the wound goes away, likewise once a statement is publically made, simply deleting the statement from the space it was made in does not mean that any offence it caused or any psychological harm it did no longer exists. In effect, hiding the evidence of an act does not mean the act was not committed – and petulantly demanding that any replication of that post outside of the original forum be removed is just naive.

    PS. I am not a legal professional, so this is just my plebeian understanding of how this stuff works – I do stand to be corrected.


    • Thanks for this comment. It’s very thoughtful and I’m glad you took the time to look up the Facebook use policy; I hadn’t even thought of doing that. I hope Knox takes cognizance of the fact that this is what he signed up for when he joined Facebook, and he must take responsibility for posting what he did in a public space.


    • Hmm, to quote your “had a little think about this”, perhaps you need to take some more of that “little think” and think longer before you miss the point. You know, AGAIN.

      1 – I understand, due to Michelles falsified statements regarding me demanding she remove my name, why you may be confused. My comment, was not a “rape joke” as you say. It was a joke yes, but the implication of rape was one made by Michelle, she chose to see it that way. Michelle, in no way am I stating that your experience was not appalling, no one is deserving of that. But at the same time, you cannot blame and trivialise every and anything anyone says down to your past.

      2. Thank you for copying and pasting Facebook T&C’s. I can never quite seem to remember them all. But unlike most of the population, I do actually read through things like that, especially when they invlove a large part of one’s life. I will, however, take this moment to point out to you that the disclaimer which you have kindly placed here, is to protect FACEBOOK from liability. Which means that I or anyone else cannot hold FACEBOOK responsible for a situation like the current. I have no quarrel with facebook. Perhaps a quick Google search of “Cease and Desist” should make things more clear as to where this is heading. No need to copy and paste your results, by all means I am familiar with it.

      I would repost my comment multiple times if that would prove anything. Besides it being a complete joke, you decided the comment was about rape. And yet even if it was, take this into consideration. Directly quoted from someone whose intellect you could only wish to have – “Rape metaphors exist for a reason (because they accurately explain, by analogy, a circumstance that shares the characteristics of actual rape, i.e. Oppression, grotesque and unequal power relations, etc.) The implications of the argument mean that we would also not be allowed to say something like “I’m shattered” because we are not glass, therefore we are trivialising glass. In no way does that statement trivialise glass if used in an appropriate context.”

      Take a moment to think about that.


      • Knox, you can rage as much as you like, but I’m not deleting the post or the screen grab. If you are so convinced that it has nothing to do with rape – and that this is quite obvious to everyone else – then why does the post vex you so?

        And by the way, if you are considering a “cease and desist” order, then the issue is very much about you and not the other commenters, since you can’t make that call on their behalf. But go ahead and try – it would be interesting to see you flounder. I believe you’ll find that the law is on my side.


  11. FWIW, my view on de-identifying the users (via your blog) who commented on a public post: you have no ethical obligation to do so. They made a public comment and that public comment was captured. The fact it’s since been deleted is immaterial. If you were re-publishing this in a mainstream newspaper, I’d be more interested in discussing the ethics of online communities vis journalistic ‘intrusion’.


  12. Correction to my original post, I now realise Tatenda was speaking out of context, not her name specifically being there. But, the point still stands. Remove this post / black out the names in the comments, or I will contact those users and see how they feel about their image and names being used without their permission. And trust me I will take this MUCH further than a simple “you shouldn’ta done that”.


    • I don’t believe any of the other commenters on that post have anything to worry about regarding what they said. You, on the other hand, appear to have endorsed a rape post. That can’t be good for your reputation – which is why you shouldn’t publicly endorse rape on a public platform. You don’t have a leg to stand on legally or ethically, since you made the comment in a public space. And if you hadn’t realised yet, the internet isn’t a “permission-based economy”, to quote Gus Silber.

      I’m not afraid of your petty threats, and I will not delete or remove this post as a result of your bullying.


  13. I think when you take screen shots hide the id’s of the comments because its not cool to feel that screen shots can be taken with my name on it.


    • Tatenda, your comments were made in a public space accessible to anyone that accesses that page. As such, I feel it unnecessary to hide the identities of the commenters. This is why people must be very careful about what they comment in public spaces.


      • Actually, Michelle, seeing as you threw your toys out the cot over the post and it was removed, the post is no longer on the said public space. In fact, it is now you that has reposted the image, which means than any harm to persons who commented resulting from this image are now yours alone to bare. So yes, you are required to black-out names as you did not obtain permission from anyone whose name is present in the screenshot to reproduce it.

        Personally I could not care less whether you black my name out or not. But TatendaRobyn has requested that you remove hers, and remove it you will.

        If you think its a joke, go and look at every 9gag or other such website post. All names are blacked out and they remove posts that are not unless it is clearly a pseudonym.


      • I don’t tend to respond well to threats. Do your worst.


      • And are you seriously using 9gag as a standard of ethics to support your argument? That’s laughable.


  14. I see people have differing opinions on this matter. I just want to say that I think the confessions pages should be shut down because I am seeing more negative representations of universities around the country than there are of positive representations. And the concept of the page is all just “double, bubble, boil and trouble”… Through my time at Rhodes I am proud of the education that Rhodes has given me and the lessons I learned. But I feel embarrassed whenever I come across the confessions page purely because of the majority of the content I have seen. I just want to hide and avoid the page. And I don’t think the admins of the pages are aware of this and the consequences. We have reunions, “get togethers” and braai’s to reminisce the good, the bad and ugly of campus life. Not confession pages :/


    • Hi Davey,

      I tend to agree. Both of the Rhodes confessions pages and the UCT page are incredibly embarrassing and sexist. Also, in terms of the Rhodes pages, they squarely fall into the “bringing the University into disrepute” category. If the university wanted to it could get rid of them on those grounds.

      I’m hoping to pages are neglected when everyone goes on holiday.


  15. The post you have there is from a “fake” Rhodes Confessions page. The original has about 6000K likes now. But I do agree with you, these people have created a monster! Its a shame that the University is having its name associated with this mess!


    • Oh shoot! My bad! I just realised that they’ve taken the original one down & you’re right that’s the new one. SMH! I swear, Social networks need to do something about governing & moderating such filth & more so, making sure people don’t garner social network popularity by being associated with an entity they do not own!