[QODLink]
Africa

Swazi police ban 'rape-provoking' miniskirts

Women in Swaziland risk arrest by wearing "revealing clothes" that violate moral standards, police spokesperson says.
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2012 16:57
Law does not apply to costumes worn by women during ceremonies where King Mswati III may choose a wife [AFP]

Women in Swaziland risk arrest if they wear miniskirts or tops which expose part of their stomach as they will be violating moral standards, a police spokesperson has said.

"I have read from the social networks that men and even other women have a tendency of 'undressing people with their eyes'"

- Wendy Hleta, police spokesperson

"The act of a rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women," Wendy Hleta was quoted as saying.

Offenders face a six-month jail term under the ban, which invokes a colonial criminal act dating back to 1889.

The ban also applies to low-rise jeans.

"They will be arrested," she said.

Hleta said women wearing revealing clothing were responsible for assaults or rapes committed against them.

"I have read from the social networks that men and even other women have a tendency of 'undressing people with their eyes'. That becomes easier when the clothes are hugging or are more revealing," Hleta said.

Traditional costumes

However, the ban does not apply to traditional costumes worn by young women during ceremonies like the annual Reed Dance, where the ruling King Mswati III chooses a wife.

The monarch already has 13 wives.

During the ceremony, beaded traditional skirts worn by young bare-breasted virgins cover only the front, leave the back exposed. Underwear is not allowed.

The law was enforced after a march by women and young girls last month calling for protection against a spate of rapes in the impoverished kingdom, almost entirely surrounded by South Africa.

According to a media report, the march was blocked by police.

308

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.