Margaret van Wyk should be able to take legal action for cyberbullying after alleged pictures of her genitals were shared online and produced an onslaught of both humorous and very uncomfortable memes.
Van Wyk reportedly posted a picture of her genitals intended for her husband on a hockey mothers’ school WhatsApp group in North West, where she lives.
Damn, who are you supposed to trust if you can't even trust your 'Hokkie Ouers' anymore? Snitches. #MargaretVanWyk
— Maps Maponyane (@MapsMaponyane) August 24, 2016
Thanks to #MargaretvanWyk we are all reminded to double check before we hit that send button. Sjoe.
— Duan Wanty (@duwanty) August 25, 2016
It then reached social media when one of the people on the group shared it.
It went viral quickly under the hashtag #MargaretVanWyk.
East Coast Radio spoke to a media expert from Shepstone & Wylie, Verlie Oozthuizen, who said that the person or people who reposted her accidentally sent message could face liability under the law, as they had “definitely infringed her dignity … and her privacy”.
He advised that, in her shoes, he would approach the police and lay a charge of crimen injuria “against the person who made the initial posting”. However, it would not necessarily stop there alone, as the thousands of people who subsequently reshared it could also face charges, though “down the chain it becomes less and less strong”.
He added that it might unfortunately then also drag out the matter and keep Van Wyk in the media spotlight for longer than she might like.
The law makes it clear that if you republish any statement or image that is slanderous, libellous or otherwise unconstitutional, you can still be held accountable for that, even though the publication of the content is second-hand.
However, added, Oosthuizen, the strongest claim would have to be against “the initial people that posted the picture”.