South Africa’s Dros restaurant chain has come under fire on social media this week after it confirmed a seven-year-old girl was raped in a bathroom in a Gauteng outlet.
The incident, which took place on Saturday at the Silverton, Pretoria branch, first came to light on Facebook. The Citizen reported that the child was “snatched” from the female toilets and brought into the male toilets, where he raped her.
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On Tuesday, News24 reported that a case of rape was opened by Pretoria police. The suspect has also been arrested.
However, conversation on social media rapidly escalated on Wednesday, after Dros issued an official statement to media, confirming the incident.
“Dros Head Office hereby confirms that an incident (involving a minor child) took place at one of its franchise outlets, namely Dros Watermeyer, situated in Silverton, Pretoria,” the statement began.
Dros said it had “been in contact with the parents of the child to convey our sympathy and offered our assistance.”
The statement concludes with Dros’ tagline: “cause you can’t get too much of a good thing”.
Users on Twitter didn’t take kindly to the restaurant’s “sanitised language”.
This is a shocking statement from Dros about the girl that was raped at Dros in Silverton. It lacks empathy and uses sanitised language about “an incident involving a minor child” almost as if she had agency.
Zero compassion & examination of whether the place is child friendly. pic.twitter.com/prme7C5LW5
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) September 26, 2018
“This is a shocking statement from Dros about the girl that was raped at Dros in Silverton. It lacks empathy and uses sanitised language about “an incident involving a minor child” almost as if she had agency. Zero compassion & examination of whether the place is child friendly,” tweeted Eusebius McKaiser.
Twitter questions parents, Dros and seeks mob justice
Some believed that the parents were at fault for letting the little girl out of their sight.
#Dros if u think the parent,child minder or Dros are at fault you are part of the problem….we have a epidemic….a huge amount of predators….one should be able to take your child out for the day and feel safe….hope that bastard gets special treatment inside
— Craig caldwell (@craigcomedian) September 27, 2018
We live in a society that will question anything and everything else besides the rapist. It’s always what was she wearing? Where was she?Why did she go there?Now where were the parents?! #Dros pic.twitter.com/GECC3AVn9K
— African Khaleesi (@jacky_mmaphuti) September 27, 2018
But some felt this argument removed the blame from the rapist himself.
The fact that there’s discussions of why the 6yr old’s parents let her go 2 the toilet alone or where were they shows that we are 4eva gonna excuse these trashy rapists’ behaviour #Dros
— One Life. Live It. (@dTumza) September 27, 2018
The rapist’s unreleased identity then became one of the more discussed elements of the story.
Why there are No pictures on sight of the #Dros rapist
— Sibongakonke (@u_Sbonga) September 27, 2018
What causes child rape
Child left unattended
Parents neglecting children
Child dressing unappropriately
Questions of what was she doing, where alone are irrelevant and not the root cause of rape, the rapist is. #Dros
— Sir. Mudau
(@Sir_Mudau) September 27, 2018
Media outlets however have resisted publishing the names of those involved. The name of the suspect — who will reportedly appear in Pretoria Magistrates Court on 2 October — has yet to be officially revealed by authorities.
Twitter though wanted answers, with some believing that the media was “protecting rapists”.
#Dros Welcome to S.A where the perpetrator is being protected more than the Victim.
I am sorry baby girl.
— Ndu Moholeng Popo (@Ndu_moholeng) September 27, 2018
I’m so disappointed in how the media is handling the #Dros case. They are not mentioning #NicholasNinow ‘s name ANYWHERE. But if a black man was accused we would know where he stays, where he hangs out, his occupation, etc. Smh
— Lebogang (@Lebo_iv) September 27, 2018
I am yet to know the name of the #Dros rapist. Why is his name so “expensive” and why are we protecting rapists?
I’ll listen on the radio,
— Brother Seed (@SeedAforika) September 27, 2018
South Africans should band together to stop the scourge of rape, some reiterated, while others offered their thoughts to the girl and her parents.
Let’s try to protect our kids by all means from these monsters. Especially in public place.
— chizsince12 (@chizsince12) September 27, 2018
As a mother I cannot even begin to understand how the parents of the little girl must feel. Her life is shattered and her innocence is gone, the family will never ever be the same. This person must rot in jail #NotinmynameSA #DROS
— Kim Robinson (@Kimbelshanks) September 27, 2018
#Dros and #DrosSilverton continues to trend across South Africa at the time of writing.
Feature image: Dros