Swaziland has banned women from wearing miniskirts, low-rise jeans, and tank tops, saying these items of clothing provoke rape.
The law was enforced despite a march by women and young girls last month calling for protection against a spate of rapes in the impoverished kingdom. According to local media report, the march was blocked by police.
Those who break the law will face a six-month jail term under the ban, which invokes a colonial criminal act dating back to 1889.
Police spokeswoman, Wendy Hleta:
The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women.
Hleta also said women wearing revealing clothing were responsible for assaults or rapes committed against them.
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.
The ban does not apply to traditional costumes (seen above) worn by young women during ceremonies like the annual Reed Dance. During these events, the ruling King Mswati III chooses a wife (he has 13 already). The ceremony involves young bare-breasted virgins – dressed in beaded traditional skirts only covering the front – dancing for the king. Underwear is not allowed.