The Ugandan government has proposed a bill that will allow women to be arrested for wearing skirts above their knees in public. This proposed law, which directly targets women, isn’t entirely new to the Ugandan people. Uganda’s third President, Idi Amin 1971-1979 (who you may remember as depicted in the film The Last King of Scotland), also banned short skirts in a decree during his time in office. Currently wearing short skirts is not illegal, but culturally it is deemed improper if a woman exposes her knees or shoulders. However, many Ugandans are opposed to the idea of this new law, which has now spawned the Twitter hashtag #SaveMinisSkirt.
In addition to banning skirts above the knee, the bill would also ban many films and TV shows considered unsuitable, and personal Internet usage would be closely monitored by government officials.
Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister, Simon Lokodo, supports this new bill stating, “It’s outlawing any indecent dressing including miniskirts.” He adds, “Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.” Lokodo believes that women who are victims of sexual violence and assault were inviting these acts because of their dress. “We know people who are indecently dressed: they do it provocatively and sometimes they are attacked. An onlooker is moved to attack her and we want to avoid those areas. He is a criminal but he was also provoked and enticed.”
The likes of Beyoncé and Madonna will be banned from television under this new bill.
As for censoring the television, Lokodo remarks, “We are saying that anything that exposes private parts of the human body is pornography and anything obscene will be outlawed. Television should not broadcast a sexy person. Certain intimate parts of the body cannot be opened except for a spouse in a private place.”
Blaming the victim rather than the attacker is hardly a new issue, but it is still extremely troubling and demands attention. Women should not be punished for sexual assaults because they are considered to be dressed “provocatively.” In addition, changing the way women dress isn’t going to solve sexual violence in the slightest. Instead, all this bill does is limit women’s rights, officially establishing them as less than men.
Source: The Guardian