Rape of a wife by her husband is legal in Swaziland under newly-documented Indigenous Swazi Law and Custom. A man can also legally rape his lover.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported on Wednesday (3 August 2016) that the document states, ‘A husband cannot rape his wife.’
The newspaper reported that the 317-page document called The Indigenous Law and Custom of the Kingdom of Swaziland (2013) had been presented to the King.
The newspaper reported the document was compiled by Professor Frances Pieter Whelpton, a Professor of Law at the University of South Africa.
The Times reported, ‘Under Chapter 7, which addresses offences (emacala) in Swaziland, rape is said to be committed only if the woman forced is not the man’s wife or lover.
When defining rape in Swaziland, it says in the past, penetration was not an essential element. ‘Throwing a female to the ground and grabbing hold of her in an unsuccessful move to ravish her amounts to rape. However, every act of intercourse is supposed to be accompanied by a struggle because the woman is not supposed to submit to the man,’
In 2015, a report from A US organisation ABCNewspoint stated that Swaziland had the fourth highest rate of rape in the world. It said there were 77.5 registered cases of rape among 100,000 people.
In July 2015, it was reported to the Swazi Parliament that there had been 124 cases of rape in Swaziland in the previous three months. This was an increase of 11.7 percent when compared to the same period from April to June 2014 when 111 cases were reported. The figures revealed 51.6 percent of the 124 rape cases were committed against children aged 17 years and below.
Rape and sexual abuse of children is common in Swaziland. In 2008, Unicef reported that one in three girls in Swaziland were sexually abused, usually by a family member and often by their own fathers - 75 percent of the perpetrators of sexual violence were known to the victim.
Many men in Swaziland believed was all right to rape children if their own wives were not giving them enough sex. In 2009, men who were interviewed during the making of the State of the Swaziland Population report said they ‘“salivate” over children wearing skimpy dress codes because they are sexually starved in their homes.’
IN SWAZILAND, CHILD RAPE NOT UNUSUAL