Woman's body has been hounded since days of public toilet graffiti

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
In the modern age vindictive ex-lovers use the power of smartphones to shame the women who loved them on social media, extending a long-standing practice of attacking women's bodies. /123RF
In the modern age vindictive ex-lovers use the power of smartphones to shame the women who loved them on social media, extending a long-standing practice of attacking women's bodies. /123RF

We cannot deny that social media has evolved into a frightening stadium for trolls to drag just about anyone and everyone.

And it gets down right gory when even those who were once trusted and held in confidence by their lovers, use the platform to settle scores and betray the privacy and confidentiality of their romance.

It has been a horror to witness just how far people go.

There has hardly been a time when society was not inclined to publishing scandal, or disregarding privacy of lovers.

Even in the most unsophisticated and coy communities. In fact, I have been thinking about my own experiences with the leaking of intimate details, communication and nudes between lovers. It dates back to even pre-teens in a small rural town in KwaZulu-Natal.

Of course back then there were no cellphones, but such juicy details always found their way to an audience.

If you were a likeable smart kid like me, then you probably would have been your uncle's trusted ally.

My relationship with my uncles was tight enough for me to be promoted to messenger very early in life. I was entrusted with carrying letters between them and their girlfriends.

Back then, communication between lovers was beautifully crafted, and the language would convey a month's worth of feeling.

They would use lyrics from romantic ballads and enclose photographs. The ladies would go as far as picking the rare photos where they were standing bare-breasted, donned in a traditional attire as a tease.

During those days, when someone had a bone to pick with the ladies, those letters would mysteriously find their way to her strict parents, or school principal, or even her other lover.

Then there were the toilet walls and doors from school toilets to random public toilets in town. There would be a good few minutes that one had to invest in carefully inspecting the graffiti on the door before even starting to relieve themselves. And there was always a chance that your name was next.

Gruesome details were revealed about people we know in scribbles of less than twenty words. Pretty much like Twitter. Then there would be the cringeworthy artwork that left us constipated.

As for the nudes and sex tapes, those were leaked in real time.

One could not really call a cameraman to come through on Saturday afternoon and capture compromising photos, then go to a retailer to develop them.

But, toxic masculinity always found a way around this tech challenge. Those who wanted to prove their sexual prowess to their buddies almost always had beds that faced a window or some vent on the wall.

I remember numerous incidents where girls had been invited over to a boy's room to sample a few Luther Vandross over Oros and Eet-sum-mor biscuits. Only the lass would not know that her new beau had invited his whole gang to peep through and watch the seduction.

This has made me realise that there has always been a pattern with the victimisation and infringement of privacy of this sort. Almost all the time, when there is a leak or publicity of intimate and sexual detail, it is the female that is being shamed.

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