Because We All Know Miniskirts Cause Involuntary Sex: Swaziland Bans “Provocative” Clothing

December 28, 2012  |  


*Disclaimer* Because we have advertisers who don’t like certain words, the word most commonly used for “involuntary sex” will be replaced with “involuntary sex.”  

Swaziland, a small country in southern Africa, landlocked in between Mozambique and South Africa, has a solution to the prevalence of sexual assault in the country. The South African Independent Online reports that two-thirds of teenage girls in Swaziland have been the victims of some type of sexual assault. This solution? The government is making the choice to wear “revealing clothing” in public punishable with up to six months in jail.

The law is actually nothing new but more of a reemergence of a colonial law that was originally enacted in 1889, which banned women from wearing any type of clothing that would “expose their bodies.” Whatever that means. Now, the law is being promoted by the Swaziland police department as a protective measure against women. Because according to Wendy Hleta, a police spokesperson, this type of clothing encourages involuntary sex:

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.”

The law is believed to be a response to a march women and young girls participated in last month, calling for protection against a recent string in incidences of involuntary sex. Eventually, the march was blocked by the police.

But according to The Daily Mail, the law, which applies to miniskirts, low-haning jeans, tank tops and crop tops, has its exceptions though. The “indiamu” costume that young women wear when they dance for King Mswati is permissible. The costume consists of a beaded belt to be worn on a topless woman. The dancer’s behind is also traditionally exposed as underwear is not worn. Authorities have said the “indiamu” costume is an exception.

There are so many layers of wrong here.

First, there’s the universal problem of blaming women for the sexual assault or involuntary sex that they find themselves the victim of. This is not just Swaziland. The idea of telling a woman she drank too much, or was dressed to scantily or allowed a man to do too much before she said no continue to be rationalizations, in many countries across the world, for the fact that too many women are suffering at the hands of rapists. Rarely, do we hear about campaigns that tell men, simply, do.not.rape.women. If she’s had too much to drink, don’t have sex with her. If she’s wearing a miniskirt or a tank top, it’s probably because it’s hot outside and not an invitation for you to have sex with her. Just because she was down for this does not mean she’s down for that. Those are the messages governments, law enforcement agencies, health teachers, regular teachers, parents and guardians need to be sending to their sons…and daughters because women can be rapists too.

A miniskirt and a tank top is really not the issue here.

Furthermore the law is insulting to men as well. Men are not thoughtless animals. The idea that a man can’t or won’t be able to prevent himself from having sex with you, whether you want to or not, just because you’re showing a little thigh, is insulting. Insulting to men at large and excusatory for rapists.

If we lived in an ideal world and I could rewind time, a month ago when those women and girls were marching, trying to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault, the police, instead of blocking them, would have arranged a time for them to sit down and talk about possible solutions to this problem. And since this fantasy world is ideal, the solutions they talked about would have completely eradicated sexual assaults. Other world nations would then look to Swaziland as a model of how eliminate involuntary sex in their countries as well. But unfortunately none of that happened; and instead, miniskirts were banned.

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  • Banning clothing?? in 2012/2013 i think most countries in the world wound not pass this law.. – I guess thats Swaziland 4u! 🙁

  • Guest360

    I’m of mixed feelings with this one. On one hand, they are blaming the victim. You can cover up every morsel of skin you have but that in no way protects you from being sexually assaulted. You are no more safe wearing jeans than you are wearing a skirt. HOWEVER, there are things women can do to not bring attention to themselves in a sexual way such as wearing appropriate clothing. I’m not saying wear a turtleneck but you don’t need to let all your goodies hang out either. Surely you know that outfit is going to attract a certain kind of attention and if you don’t want that attention, don’t wear it. All that said, the focus should be on the men who commit these crimes. Not the women who are subjected to it.

  • MissD

    *Disclaimer* Because we have advertisers who don’t like certain
    words, the word most commonly used for “involuntary sex” will be
    replaced with “involuntary sex.”

    What’s wrong with the actual term? Call it what it is. You got advertisers from Rick Santorums camp or something? lol

  • Treacle234

    This article is should be updated and further researched. According to Allafrica dot com “Swaziland has not officially banned the wearing of miniskirts, government spokesman Percy Simelane said on Thursday 27th December.” There is no law. However, the police were the one that released a statement/advisory targeting women, advising against the wearing of miniskirts and midriff-revealing tops and low-rise jeans, saying they were
    provoking rape.

  • jackieOsassin

    i….actually AGREE. i agree with the country in telling women to cover their darn behinds and not have their cracks giving unwarranted attacks to everyone in the vicinity, AND i agree with the article saying while their cracking down on the women’s wardrobes they should crack down equally hard on men and women who are perpetrators of abuse. what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, damn it.

    and for goodness sake, this has nothing to do with “blaming the victim”. they’re out here trying to keep these women safe from predators and sex offenders who may very well be lurking and prevalent in their respective areas where rape is most likely to happen the most. if they’re not already alerting people when sex offenders are in their neighborhoods, this is the second best thing they can do. a man can control their sexual impulses a PREDATOR cannot, hence why they’re “predators”. telling women to show modesty and cover up is borderline chauvinistic, but at least if they were to face an attack the rapist would have to fight a little harder to cut off jeans as opposed to lifting up a skirt and slicing a tube top.

    • Live_in_LDN

      ‘Rape mode’ isn’t suddenly activated in a man at the sight of a woman’s knees. There is no evidence that women who are covered up are raped less. In tribal Pakistan women are covered head to toe in burqas but there is a high rate of sexual attacks to women. There is no corrolation. The ‘cover up women’ rape provention meme does not work.

  • So when will they stop the parade of the virgins?

  • MLS2698

    Swaziland? What part of Swaziland, because I was just looking at a clip on YOUTUBE of a celebration they were having, and ALL of the women/girls had their tithays out, and were dancing in front of delegates. NO, seriously, type in Swaziland youtube. And King Mswati’s daughter is highly featured/favored in the video ( looks just like him). This is so backward just like the article stated. Tradition replaces safety, I guess.

    • chanela

      i went to youtube and looked up the video and ummmm look at the comment i found. LMAO!

      how ironic!

      “these people are better then fully clothed people…They have no sex crime in the society.”

      • MLS2698

        They just have LOTS of HIV/AIDS, though! But you know something funny? Their life, the King’s life, is just like ” Coming to America.” The kings oldest daughter earned a Masters degree while studying in Australia ( she had an aide there with her just like Simi), and she stayed under the radar, meaning, nobody really knew she was a princess, When she graduated in May, she had an entourage of people show up just like the movie ( minus the rose petals). And they are rich too ( citizens are poor), with money that has her father’s pic on it. Gotta admit, the girls were beautiful in the video.

  • Say What?

    Same old story blame the victim.