A local singer says he has been left traumatised after he recorded a man peeping underneath his bathroom stall.
The incident happened before 12:00 on Friday at the Mall of Africa in Midrand.
Dezra Ore, 20, who works at a retailer in the mall, asked News24 to use his stage name as he does not want “the creep” to know his real name.
Ore said he saw the man standing in the bathroom but paid little attention to him as he was in desperate need of a toilet. Once inside the cubicle, he added, he saw a lot of movement in front of his door.
“I was like, what is going on? So, I took out my phone and started recording.” He only realised what had happened after watching the clip.
“In that moment, I was instantly shocked. I couldn’t even use the toilet anymore.”
So I caught this Man tryna see my goods while I was using the toilet, waw at @MallOfAfricaSA ???? I had to wait 30 mins before I went out cause I was freaked out and still a bit shacky pic.twitter.com/FuzCeMCAND
— Dezra (@Dezra_Ore) February 7, 2020
Ore stayed in the cubicle for another 30 minutes, waiting for more people to enter the secluded bathroom, before he could finally muster the courage to leave.
By that time, the unknown peeper had left.
Ore said that as a gay man, he generally does not like using men’s only bathrooms as he often received unwanted attention, adding he much preferred using the facilities for disabled people.
But on Thursday evening, a man also followed him into a cubicle at a different shopping centre and closed the door behind them.
“I asked him what he was doing, and he tried to force himself on me, so I punched him,” Ore said.
When the man fell, he walked out.
“I have like a lot of anxiety. Everything just hit me on Friday evening. I was not OK.”
Mixed reactions to the video
Ore told News24 he had received mixed responses after posting the video online.
“A lot of people have experienced the same thing,” he said. “A lot of people were outraged by this because they felt like it could happen to them.”
Others have been insensitive, saying it was not a big deal because two men were involved.
“Rape among the gay community is swept under the rug because a lot of men are still closeted. It is a thing happening in our country,” Ore said.
He suggested the Mall of Africa should employ guards at the more secluded bathrooms.
“If secluded toilets were given more attention, people would feel more comfortable using them,” Ore said, adding he was considering asking the restaurants to use their facilities over the weekend when he was at work.
Mall of Africa told News24 in a statement on Friday it was aware of the video that was shared on Twitter.
“As a centre that prioritises visitors’ safety, we have attempted to contact the individual to allow us to investigate the matter further,” it said.
On Sunday morning, Ore said the mall had still not been in touch with him.