Christian poet harassed by porn WhatsApp groups run by a 'mentally challenged' rabbit farmer

A writer of Afrikaans Christian literature is fearing for her life after reportedly outing members of "pornographic" WhatsApp groups.

The Afrikaans daily Volksblad reported on Monday that Martie Wessels from Warrenton in the Northern Cape was sick with worry after being harassed for weeks by members of these groups, many of whom she outed on Facebook by publishing pictures of them.

READ: SA beats rest of continent in porn-watching

On Wednesday last week, Wessels posted pictures of more than 20 people on her Facebook page, saying: "I was added to another group called 'Porn Videos'. Everyone involved is surely possessed by some or other devil, because the pictures exposing your bodies indicate to me that you are sick in your brains."

Groups ran by 'mentally challenged' rabbit farmer

Wessels told News24 that the person behind the groups was a woman she described as "mentally challenged", who is a rabbit farmer and who lives in a caravan in the Pretoria area.

On Wessels' Facebook page, a composite picture of this woman, surrounded by several rabbits, can be seen.

News24 attempted to contact this person but was told that it was the wrong number.

READ: How watching porn can cause erectile dysfunction

Wessels said she was first added to a "pornographic" WhatsApp group three weeks ago. She reported the group and left it but was later added to similar groups.

To her distress, the latest iteration of these groups is called "Martie se porngroepie" (Martie's porn group), using the cover of her Christian poetry book as its profile image, she told News24.  

Wessels then started calling members of the groups from a different phone and duped them into revealing their identities.

"I told them I was from the municipality or pretended to be looking for someone else," Wessels told News24 on Tuesday.

READ: US child porn investigation leads to South Africa arrests

Wessels then started posting the people's pictures on her Facebook page in an attempt to "get them to stop or apologise".

Instead, she started receiving threats.

'One call and we will take you away'

"They sent me horrible messages. They told me they were going to come to my house and kill me…"

A man only known as "Bees" told Wessels he "only needed to make one call" and she would be "taken away".

Another anonymous caller would simply breathe excessively and cough.

Wessels said she was told by one person that the purpose of the groups was to "raise funds" for the rabbit farmer.

"But to raise funds in this way is ridiculous," she said.

Wessels told News24 that the rabbit farmer sent her a Facebook friend request a few years ago and asked her for clothes and money.

"I felt sorry for her because she is mentally challenged but I told her I could not help her, I am scraping by as it is."

According to Wessels, the woman kept harassing her "and I blocked her".

Pictures and videos of members themselves

Wessels told News24 the pornographic material posted in the WhatsApp groups were home-made photos and videos of the members themselves.  

"One member posted a picture and wrote: 'How do you like this picture of me?'"

Wessels said she didn't know any of the members personally.

Since Volksblad ran the story on Monday, Wessels has not received any more threats or been added to more WhatsApp groups.

Wessels made a statement at the Warrenton police station, which was confirmed by a Captain Moleko, who would not provide his first name to News24.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter