The southern African kingdom of Eswatini is ramping up rights for married women, enforcing the charge of rape against offending husbands – a taboo in conservative Swati society.
The Daily Monitor reported that this week a a 34-year-old Nhlanhla Dlamini became the first man to be arrested and charged with rape for having sexual intercourse with his wife without her consent.
Relying on the 2018 Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act, which criminalizes non-consensual sex between a husband and wife, police nabbed Dlamini and charged him with rape.
He was on Tuesday granted R50,000 ($3,400/ 3,100 euro) bail by the high court in the capital Mbabane and is set to appear again in court over the next few weeks.
“It’s the first one (case) to be recorded and be heard in open court,” Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) spokeswoman Slindelo Nkosi said.
First-time offenders are likely to be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail, while repeat rapists can get up to 30 years.
The historic arrest sent shock waves across Africa’s last absolute monarchy, formerly known as Swaziland, which has a deep-seated patriarchal culture.
The country’s ruler King Mswati III has married 14 women since he was crowned in 1986 aged 18.
He also has more than 25 children and a reputation for lavish spending while 63 percent of his 1.3 million subjects live in poverty.- . –Source Daily Monitor