Swaziland – Just ask Bill

My voice says no to gender based violence

Sam Moskaw, Lutheran Development Services Swaziland, Dec 2010

Just Ask Bill  – Answers a 16 days of Activism in Swaziland GBV campaign project

There is a rumour around Swaziland that if you want to end Gender Based Violence you need to ‘Just ask Bill.’  Guess what, when we asked we found out that there are two Bills, one is the name for any man who is strong enough to tell other men not to be violent in any way to women and girls, and the second is the short name for the Sexual Offences Bill.

‘Just ask Bill’ is the theme of five rural school plays in Lubombo where plays focused on how strong males can speak to other males and how good men can stand up to  men that use violence with women.  It also talked about how the Sexual Offences Bill will increase protection of GBV victims.

The five plays were professionally supported by the Swaziland Theatre Company, OSISA and LDS.  All the schools are performing at the Matata Shopping Centre at 10 am this Friday, 10December and a short film will be produced for broadcasting in the new year.

So what happens when you ‘Just ask Bill’, the man.

He says:

  • ·       Gender based violence is no longer acceptable and my loud voice joins schools, churches and government to make men and boys stop their violent  actions;
  • ·       My woman loves me because I solve all my frustrations with words not violence.
  • ·       Everyone knows that I use words not fists to discipline my family;
  • ·       I live by the bible’s principles of honoring females with love and safety; and
  • ·       I know that girls, sisters and daughters are not sexual opportunities.

And what happens if you ‘Just ask Bill’, the Sexual Offences Bill? When it becomes an ACT it will enable:

  • ·       More successful dealing with, in a non-discriminatory manner, sexual offences and domestic violence. It will also provide adequate protection to complainants, such as special measures for the treatment of witnesses in court.
  • ·       Abroader definition of rape that covers not only unlawful sexual intercourse with another but also unlawful sexual acts committed under certain circumstances, including any coercive manner, under false pretence or by fraudulent means, under duress, fear of violence or psychological oppression.
  • ·       Stopping the defence against a rape charge of previous or existing marital or other relationship with the complainant.
  • ·       Setting out penalties proposed for rape under Section 2 (8) as all mandatory minimum sentences, ranging from 15 years to death sentences, depending on the age of the victim and the presence of other “aggravating factors”.

So there are answers to gender based violence, – Just ask Bill

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