12 December 2012

Swaziland: Human Rights Groups Take On 'Times'

Photo: James Hall/IRIN
A majority of children in Swaziland are raised by single mothers or grandmothers, according to women's groups.

A number of human rights groups in Swaziland have joined forces to petition against Qalakaliboli Dlamini, the Times Sunday columnist who wrote that battered women only had themselves to blame when they were attacked.

Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations, Coordinating Assembly for Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO), Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland National Association of Teachers, Swaziland Positive Living and the Swaziland Agricultural Producers Union (SAPU) are among the groups and individuals supporting a petition against Dlamini.

Dlamini, a regular columnist for the Times Sunday, wrote this week (9 December 2012) that 'most' women who were victims of violence brought it upon themselves. He also said women were to blame for turning men violent.

He wrote, 'In fact, when a woman is battered, she may have caused more internal damage to the male who will have caused her external harm. Let us be honest with each other, women are the biggest abusers in the world.'

He said women were 'culprits' not 'victims'. He said, 'Women have carved themselves as the victims of this world and they are demanding even more than they deserve.'

He added, 'Women find comfort in portraying themselves as victims.'

The petition directed at the editor of the Times of Swaziland, which is circulating on the Internet, states, 'The article incites hatred, and breaches human rights, journalistic ethics and good taste. Calling the brave women who flee from abusive husbands "bitches" is simply unacceptable.

'The article also justifies the murder of 32 women by David Simelane, saying he had a "resentment towards women" because he served a prison term for a rape he says he never committed. The author states, "There are many cases we can quote as proof that most abuse against women is usually aggravated by women themselves." Unsubstantiated, incendiary language like this is deeply offensive and cannot be tolerated.'

Cebile Henwood-Manzini, Director of SWAGAA, notes in the petition, 'Some men express fear, disgust and hatred of women, often in the way of undermining their human rights.'

'The writer of this article in the Times is obviously a good example and must be stopped', the petition states.

It goes on, 'The Times' publisher and his editorial team must apologize for this gross lapse in judgment in publishing such hateful views and take positive measures to make sure such a mistake does not happen again.'

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