Police in Swaziland are now enforcing an 1889 law against “immoral” dressing and will arrest any woman who incites a complaint by wearing a miniskirt, low-rise jeans, or crop tops in public.
Police spokesperson Wendy Hlelta helpfully explained that police are just trying to help these women from getting themselves raped. To quote Hleta:
“We do not encourage that women should be harmed, but at the same time people should note acceptable conduct of behavior. The act of the rapist is made easy because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women. 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.”
Because the cops will rely on complaints for their arrests, anyone can police a woman’s style of dress, landing her in jail.
Women have also been advised on how to bend over and pick up items they have dropped without getting themselves raped, too:
For females it is polite that when you have dropped something, squat with your upper body still upright and pick up the item rather than bending half your body head first to pick up the item.
You got that? It’s not polite to make men want to rape you!
Not surprisingly, women hold the legal status of minors in Swaziland, according to the news site the Independent Online.
One notable exception against “immoral” dressing is when women dance bare-breasted and bottomless, wearing only a G-string, in front of the king. Swaziland’s unmarried women perform a “indlamu” dance for King Mwati, who chooses a woman from amongst the dancers to join his 13 wives.
The hypocrisy here is clear: women have to cover up in the street or else risk arrest, except when it suits the man who runs the country.
Supports of enforcing the law claim that it will discourage sexual assault. This is rape culture, Swaziland-style: policing women’s clothes instead of putting the onus on men not to sexually assault.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.