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Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 in Miscellany, Politics | 0 comments

Taking victim-blaming to a whole new level

In case you haven’t heard of it, Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, and a neighbour and trading partner of ours (being bordered by South Africa on the north, south and west). Swaziland is also deserving of more attention than it gets from the international human rights community, because even though places like Zimbabwe justifiably attract headlines for election-rigging and so forth, Swaziland is filled with desperately poor folk, with a life-expectancy of less than 32. Thanks, in large part, to a roughly 26% HIV infection rate.

None of this seems to concern King Mswati much, judging by the fact that he’s still using the domestic economy (such as it is) as his personal checking account. And instead of taking stronger steps to protect women from the rapes that cause some of this HIV infection, the Swazi authorities have instead chosen to blame the women for being raped – because of the clothes they wear, or how they bend down to pick stuff up. Police spokesperson Wendy Hleta said

the use of the 19th century law would be applied to anyone wearing revealing and indecent clothes. Women wearing revealing clothes were responsible for assaults or rapes committed against them.

“We do not encourage that women should be harmed, but at the same time people should note acceptable conduct of behaviour. 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”.

I wish I could report that this comes from some satirical newspaper with poor taste. But no, it’s not “acceptable conduct”, apparently, for women to wear whatever the hell they please. Sometimes, one simply despairs when considering the idiocy this species is capable of.