Daily Maverick

Jennifer Ferguson slams Sunday Times for ‘unethical’ reporting on rape docket

Singer Jennifer Ferguson says she will approach the Press Ombudsman over a Sunday Times report which contained graphic details of her alleged rape at the hands of South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan. The newspaper obtained the details from a confidential affidavit submitted by Ferguson to police as part of her case against Jordaan.

New sex case against Danny, announced the lead story on the front page of the Sunday Times on 20 May 2018.

Woman author says Safa boss Jordaan sexually assaulted her three times,” the report said.

The article revealed that a second woman had opened a case of sexual harassment against Jordaan, following the laying of singer, Jennifer Ferguson’s rape charge against the soccer administrator.

In addition to giving details about the second woman’s allegations against Jordaan, the article reported: “The latest case emerged as Ferguson’s affidavit to police, revealed here for the first time, gives a graphic account of the alleged rape.”

It then proceeded to report explicit details of Ferguson’s alleged rape – information gleaned from the affidavit Ferguson gave to the police, and which she chose not to make public. Daily Maverick will not repeat those details here.

Ferguson says that when she was sent a picture of the front page by a friend, she was appalled.

It was a shock first of all to read a verbatim account of the actual rape – the details of which I have not exposed in public at all,” Ferguson told Daily Maverick.

I have alluded to it, but I haven’t gone public with the actual details. There it was: front page, bold print.”

Ferguson was equally concerned regarding the exposure of the sexual harassment case laid by the second woman against Jordaan.

That woman has chosen to remain anonymous – but the Sunday Times report included a number of significant clues as to her identity, without naming her. It listed her age, occupation, and the circumstances under which she met Jordaan.

Sufficient details were divulged to be deeply compromising for her and her sense of safety,” says Ferguson. “Though we do not have contact with each other, I can imagine it must have been extremely traumatic for her.”

With the aid of Lawyers for Human Rights, Ferguson is now approaching the Press Ombudsman to lay a complaint against the Sunday Times.

She accuses the newspaper of a “massive ethical breach” in choosing to publish details of a rape docket while the case is still under investigation.

Women who come forward “trying to find dignified ways of finding justice”, she says, are being subjected to “gob-smacking misogyny”.

Depending on the outcome of the Press Ombudsman, Ferguson says the matter may be taken further.

When contacted for comment by Daily Maverick, a representative from the Sunday Times, Susan Smutssaid that the paper would prefer to wait to respond to the Press Ombudman complaint.

Ferguson’s criticism is likely to add fuel to the current debate over the South African media’s handling of stories of sexual abuse. DM

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