swazilandSwaziland, a small, conservative country in Sub-Saharan Africa, has banned women from wearing miniskirts and crop tops in public, The Daily Mail reports. According to police officials, these clothing items “encourage rape.” Any woman caught wearing rape-provoking clothing could face jail time of six months.

The push for the clothing ban comes from a colonial criminal act that was instituted in the monarchy back in 1889. At the time, women were prohibited from wearing clothing that exposed their bodies.

Two-thirds of teenage girls in Swaziland have been victims of sexual assault, the South African Independent Online reports. According to police spokesperson Wendy Hleta, women are creating dangerous situations for themselves by sporting short threads:

“The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women. We do not encourage that women should be harmed, but at the same time people should note acceptable conduct of behavior,” Hleta said.

The ban also restricts women from wearing low-slung jeans and tank-tops. Sadly, this move by the government seems to aggrandize the issue of victim-blaming when it comes to sexual assault.

Do you think it’s fair to ban certain types of women’s clothing in Swaziland?

  • myblackfriendsays

    I love it when the government tells me what I can wear!

    ha ha, just kidding. I hate it.

  • http://mommaused2say.wordpress.com mommaused2say

    So what happens when the percentage of rapes doesn’t go down? How will they blame the female anatomy for an issue that has nothing to do with the length of their skirts and everything to do with control and the lack of respect? Just a thought.

  • Pseudonym

    Incidence of rape is comparable and probably even higher in more conservative communities, so I’m confident that banning miniskirts will not decrease rape occurrences.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    Because blaming the victim is always the easiest thing to do.

  • Keepitreal

    Another repulsive case of blaming the victim instead of the criminal. If this doesn’t work will women be forced to wear blankets with peep holes as to not lure poor innocent men into violating them. SMFH

  • EST. 1986

    A woman’s clothing doesn’t provoke rape. A man thinking he is entitled to a woman’s body is one of the reasons rape occurs.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I don’t understand this how do you “encourage” rape? Being a rapist is a mindset that individual has. If a guy is determine to rape a woman he is going to do it whether she has on a mini shirt, mom jeans, short shorts, overalls or scrubs. Rape isn’t an action that is a response for “visually” sexual enticement. This government maybe SHOULD look at the culture of men in their country if the occurrence of rapes is that high. And the 6 months imprisonment if a woman breaks this law is ridiculous.

  • VoiceOfReason

    Obviously the men aren’t ready to see women half naked. What’s the big deal? It’s a move towards THEIR (the womans) safety. Now, if the government there was to also work on the men that obviously have no respect for women at the same time, then a move towards un-banning the provocative attire could be made. I understand free speech and everything, but do you want to live safely and untouched or would you rather put your life on the line just to wear some short skirts and a crop top?

  • omfg

    isht be leavin’ me breathless sometimes.

  • Yb

    So a woman who wears a skirt gets six months in jail. So the victim is punished. I just don’t understand why people who want to prevent rape don’t go after RAPISTS and invest so much time demonising rapists and creating new measures to incarcerate them.

    What are they doing to end rape culture and teach people not to rape instead of saying “here’s how you don’t get raped” ? How are they teaching men to respect women (and other men) as human beings, not objects that can be used and disposed of with ease?

    Ugh. Shit, like this makes me mad.

  • Rakel

    Smdh. This is just ridiculous. All over the world women are blamed for rapists actions. If they think this will protect women maybe they should invest in free self defense classes. As well as encourage (with laws, or classes, etc) men to respect women and their bodies.

  • Sasha

    This makes me want to throw up. A rapist is a rapist is a rapist and will rape if and when he wants regardless of what the woman is wearing. Whether a woman is wearing a nun’s habit or glad in a halter top with a matching g string, the fault of rape doesn’t lie with her but with the rapist. Where do these people with such f*cked up thinking reside?! Swaziland apparently….

  • http://afropolitaine.wordpress.com afropolitaine

    Also one of the few countries in Africa that has an absolute monarchy and the king has 13 wives. The wives are chosen in the, much known around the world, reed dance where young women parade and dance bare chested and in min skirts and get tested for virginity. Yes that country.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    wow, this is so poorly thought out it would be funny if not so sad.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    two thirds of girls have been victims? yeah, must be them pesky shirts.

  • Ek

    I don’t agree with this law because I think that perpetrators are to blame for rape and not the victim. I myself have been a victim of sexual assault and I was not wearing something provocative when it happened.

    Nevertheless, as an African woman, I think that there are sometimes double standards when it comes to human rights issues in Africa as compared to other parts of the world. In several parts of the middle east, women have to wear burkhas and must put on veils at all times. I have travelled to one of those countries and even I had to be covered up if I did not want any repercussions. I wonder why the media is silent on those issues as opposed to something like this. Both situations are unacceptable in the 21st century.

  • AM


    Patriachy is a beast. So appalled.

  • Marcus

    OH my God those men need to just be a man and jerk off. Just hide in the bathroom and beat your “Richard”. I have save so many women and people in general from rape, murder and pain. All at the tiny expense of some vaseline and tissue paper (or a used sock if avaliable).

  • Allie

    “Slutty clothes” lead to rape? Really and all this time I thought it was men’s sense of entitlement to a woman’s body.

  • Skye (box)

    How about if we start teaching at a young age keep hands to yourself and you are not allowed to touch another person’s body without their permission. Also, shame the rapists and some harsh punishment like cutting off private parts or sewing shut yes harsh but fair for all the rapists and pedophiles.

  • Loquacious

    It’s not right, but I understand.

  • African Mami

    Please elaborate what it is you understand from this nonsense, thanks!

  • EL

    The only person responsible for rape is the rapist. As women, us being wrapped up from head to toe would not stop a rapist from attack us.What needs to be done is jail for the rapists not the women, society finds it easier to blame the victim rather than actually put the work in to catch the predator.

  • African Mami

    They should not only be jailed, but their penis cut off! It is used as a weapon of mass destruction.

  • D.T.

    This is ridiculous.

  • Pearlsclutched

    WOW, “they do it too” is being used here, really?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    maybe we need to ship some guns to the women over there?

  • Anthony

    Afropolitaine, you hit the nail inn the head, Swaziland needs to ditch their king and get a representtative government. The treatment of women is just one example of privilege and exploitation hiding behind tradition.

  • Ek

    You’re getting me wrong. I never said that ‘they do it too so it’s ok’. I’m saying that it is wrong for any State to regulate how women dress and it should never happen. But I’m also saying that it’s sad that when things like this happen in Africa ‘it’s sensational news’ but the same things have been going on in other countries for years and everyone accepts it as ‘business as usual’. The rights of women all over the world are inviolable.


    The men who run this country have outdated thinking and it will probably stay that way. This is the typical women aren’t equal because, their women. Also, women aren’t smarter than man and have no power over men. But, they have power over men when they wear clothes showing their calf muscles.. well I would love to send some lifers in prison over there and make them oil their shirtless chest. Now, lets see if a fine will occur for being too sexy in the pectoral area. I just hope all of these women and young women learn martial arts (which was created in ancient Afrika) and break their phallus’s off.

  • mikey kun

    Thank you I hate when I hear that, keep your hands and “other things” to yourself

  • Allie

    I know that’s right.

  • Allie

    Yea, I think we’re all waiting for this one.

  • Marcus

    It’s also because it’s a third world nation so while many of the citizens as mired in poverty, the ruling class have nothing to fear because their position in the world would remain the same. This is one of the reasons why women’s rights for equality in America and other first world nations make sense to us and people who live in them. Not because we’re taught to value women as equal. But if women were to go back to being savagely treated as badly in the US now, then women could potentially mobilize to cause serious damage to the US’s strength. Suppose many women collectively gave themselves abortions or mutilated the genitalia to prevent themselves from having children. That would mean great reductions to possible soldiers, workers, and men to protect nation and its position of power. Also because the US is so civilized it requires a large number of workers to do less straining and menial jobs. And historically such jobs were given to women (nurses, teachers, maids, ect…). Historically women were more willing to accept lower pay compared to their male counterparts. I’m just saying of course countries like Swaziland are going to punish women for acts committed by their male citizens. Because what can the women do? And more importantly what would the country lose as well? It’s not like they’re afraid of going back to the Stone Ages because they’re probably already living it

  • http://www.congocapanilo.com Congocapanilo

    Exactly, 4+ generations ago their ancestors roamed nude. Did the men rape the women because of that back then? They still roam mostly nude during some of their tribal/traditional festivities. The problem isn’t nudity it’s the perception of nudity and women – perversion, hedonism and misogyny.

  • http://www.congocapanilo.com Congocapanilo

    The problem is that the people making the laws engage in the problem and cover their faults with these so-called conservative laws.

    The same bull happens in the U.S., most recently, surrounding the issue of guns. Guns aren’t the problem. They don’t want to address the real issue, because those in power profit from from the existence of these issues.

  • http://gravatar.com/ssmith199210 Hmmm…

    Damn right every victim has a profile. The majority just so happen to be female, ya know…with vaginas.

  • hmmmmm

    yeah. because it helps so much here.

  • http://www.twitter.com/congocapanilo Congocapanilo

    Swaziland isn’t mired in poverty. It’s quite a progressive small nation.

    Many people think that living close to or in a traditional, natural cultural, rural environment equates to living in urban slums or shanty towns. It’s not the same thing.

    Google images of Swaziland and you won’t see images of people living in slums. You will see images of Swazi dressed in their cultural costume, but that doesn’t make them impoverished.

  • dw

    atleast the African nation got it right. They do not promote sluts n whores like America do.

  • dw

    How can men respect women bodies when women don’t have respect for their own bodies by what they where in public. Have u all seen what these hoodrats be wearing in the hood lately.

  • Anthony

    This whole situation of blaming rape on theclothes of girls is not new. In 2000, I had a study fellowhship that allowed me to travel over several states or provinces in South Africa. I remember seeing one the King Swaziland’s queens being driven through Pretoria in the longest Mercedes I have ever seen. A few weeks later, I read in a local newspaper that Swaziland was banning mini skirts in school to combat rape. Just last year or 2011, there was a huge controversy about the king of Swaziland buying a verey expensive new personal jet despite the country being in terrible financial shape.

    Of course, I’m sure you all know about the annual ceremony where all of the young women dance before the king topless in little grass skirts that expose their rears, so he can pick a new wife.

    Men in Swaziland are copying their king, who treats the country in general, and young women in particular as property he can sample at will. Swaziland needs to dump their antiquated government that the British propped up during the colonial era. In Southern Africa, traditional leaders were given enhanced power durng the colonial period as a way of reinforcing ethinic difference (tribalism) and keeping blacks from focusing on economic and political development. In Swaziland, ethnic issues don’t really exist, since almost everyone is Swazi, but the king benefits from nationalism the notion of tradition.

  • Anthony

    That makes no sense at all. If you see a man you don’t respect, are going to assault him? I work around young women everyday, and when it is warm, boobs and butts are almost literally in my face constantly, it feels crazy to have to say that it never occurs to me to grab someone’s body or assault someone.

    Seriously, if you are past the toddler stage, and you don’t have the concept of keep your hands to yourself down, the problem is you, not “Moesha’s” thong or halter top!

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    only a punk would place responsibility for his behavior on another. a man controls his emotions and his behavior.

    if a woman ‘does not respect herself’ does not make her subject to rape. if you do not like what she is wearing turn away from her.

    these are not men, these are animals.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    but they do promote rapists…

  • EL


  • dee

    When peop finally accept that rape is not a “sexual” act and that it is a violent act of one person trying to take the power of another in order to empower themselves nothing will change. Rape is a tool used to opress it’s victim, so it doesn’t matter what you wear or do, it is never the victim’s fault they have been assaulted. The thing I find so interesting is that men’s attire or actions are not mentioned. So what are they saying men cannot be rape victims? What about children? Are they going to put limits on the way diapers are worn by babies? How about elderly women what is it about them that makes men want to assault them? It’s not about the victim! Some countries are so backwards with the way they think.

  • JN

    According to more updated reports, Swaziland officials state that Swiziland media outlets got their information wrong, and that there is no ban on rape-provoking clothing. http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2012/12/28/swaziland-denies-miniskirt-ban

  • http://templefamiliar.wordpress.com tymetravelife

    Voice–many of those attacked are not adult women but children.
    This action is a move to ease the guilt of the government & position grown men as blameless for their violence & abuse of girls & women.

  • http://templefamiliar.wordpress.com tymetravelife

    someone above mentioned a country where burkas are enforced (being covered from head to toe). The incidence of rape in those countries are as high as that of non-burka wearing countries. So there is hard proof that women/girls clothing is definitely not instigating rapists.

  • Adhley

    You understand? Then how do you account for the abundance of rape and sexual assault in the Middle East? Most of those women are covered from head to toe, yet they still are being raped and assaulted on the daily… and then being blamed for it and shamed. What exactly do you understand about this situation?

  • Echi

    Isn’t this the same country that has a traditional ceremony in which thousands of young women/girls dance topless in front of the king? (Google Swaziland Reed Dance). Makes mini skirts and tube tops almost look Victorian

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    understanding and agreeing aren’t the same thing. I get what they are saying and why they are saying it — that’s how I know they are wrong. Their position is under-girded by false assumptions that are pretty commonly held.

  • Anthony

    Yes, it’s the same country.

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