Tell Swaziland to Stop Blaming Women for Rape

Target: The Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland

Goal: Prevent Swaziland law from banning mini-skirts, low-rise jeans, and midriff-bearing tops, thus punishing women for rape instead of men.

For too long, people have pointed at the high-heeled skirt-wearing woman on the sidewalk and sneered, thinking “She’s asking for it.” Instead of demonizing the rapist, who commits a serious crime by physically and emotionally violating another human being, many are distracted by the idea that a skirt is an “invitation” for a man to rape a woman. A woman’s attire is never, under any circumstance, an invitation for rape, and for too long women have been the victims not only of rape itself, but of a system that refuses to place the blame on the perpetrators of the offense: men. The nation of Swaziland has recently fallen into this fallacy and enacted a new law aimed at reducing rape by punishing women even further.

The new law would make it illegal for women to wear miniskirts, low-rise jeans, and midriff-bearing tops because apparently, such attire makes it easy for men to commit rape. Instead of increasing punishment for men for who rape, many of whom are never punished for their despicable crimes, it is women who will now face up to six months in jail simply for wearing a skirt. A police spokeswoman, Wendy Hleta, was quoted recently about her support for the law saying that “the act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women…” In addition, she also claimed that men who have the tendency of “undressing women with their eyes” are tempted to rape because the clothing makes a woman’s body so accessible.

This is not acceptable. Society must stop punishing and blaming women for rape. Women should have the same rights to choose their attire as men, and they should never be accused of inviting rape by the way they dress. Not only is it a gross double-standard, but it also hinders raped women from coming forward and admitting they have been violated. They are wrongly made to feel responsible for the crime committed against them.

Society must begin to increase punishment for the perpetrators of the crime and raise awareness about the atrocity of rape, not criminalize the victims. Ask the government of Swaziland to revoke this heinous law. Tell them that women are not responsible for rape, and should stop being punished and blamed for it.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland,

Please revoke the law recently enacted that will ban women from wearing miniskirts and low-rise jeans in attempt to reduce the frequency of rape. This law reinforces the idea that women are responsible for rape and therefore action should be taken against them in order to prevent it. This is flawed. A woman’s attire is never an invitation for rape. Rape is a crime and the perpetrator of the crime alone should be punished for it.

Not only is it a despicable double-standard to punish and blame women for rape, but it also makes raped women feel that it was their fault for being raped. This mentality is the reason so many raped women decide to stay silent about their crime, as they fear that society will blame them for the incident. Sadly, society does blame them, and this can be shown by the many misguided efforts on behalf of the government to restrict women’s attire and behavior rather than punishing the guilty party for rape. Please revoke this horrible law and strive to increase punishment for men who commit rape, not women who suffer from it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bulletin of the Oppression of Women

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  • alper arslan
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