Allow Swaziland’s Women Freedom of Dress

Target: Commissioner of Royal Swaziland Police I.M. Magagula

Goal: Do not enforce outdated law to prevent women from wearing mini-skirts

Recently, police in Swaziland, Africa have announced that they will be enforcing a law from the 1800s which prohibits “immoral” dress. This law will prohibit women from wearing mini-skirts in public. The intent behind enforcing the law is to prevent rape in Swaziland. However, this is a misogynistic action which prohibits women from choosing how they will dress. If women choose to wear revealing clothing, they may face any punishment from a fine to a prison sentence.

Wendy Hleta, a spokesperson for the police, released a statement blaming revealing clothing for rapes. She claimed mini-skirts are “half-cloths” that are easy to remove. She said “We do not encourage that women should be harmed, but at the same time people should note acceptable conduct of behavior.” While it is good that the police are trying to stop rapes, blaming women for their dress and behavior is not an effective way of stopping a violent action often committed by men. This blaming law is misogynistic and misguided.

The law has existed since 1889. An exception exists for traditional costumes, but women may not have the freedom to wear revealing clothing for everyday dress. The law is intended to stop the spread of HIV in the country, but taking away women’s freedom of dress will not affect the virus. The focus should be to stop rapes instead of stopping freedom. Women’s clothing does not have an effect on men’s actions, but the police of Swaziland refuse to recognize this. Demand that this outdated law not be enforced.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Magagula,

Recently, the Swaziland police announced they will be enforcing a law from the 1800s which prohibits “immoral” clothing. This law will be used to prohibit women from wearing mini-skirts in public. The law is intended to prevent rapes. However, it blames the dress and behavior of women for a violent action often committed by men.

I ask you not to enforce this outdated law. While rape is a serious problem, the effective way to stop it is to discourage and punish rapists for this horrific act. Instead of doing this, you are taking away the freedom of women to dress as they choose. Women who already live in fear of rape do not deserve to have another freedom taken from them with the threat of a harsh punishment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Free Grunge Textures via Flickr

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  • alper arslan
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