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EZULWINI – Traditional celebrations and events such as Umhlanga are perceived as risky places which perpetuate violence against children in the country.

Also, the revealing nature of the traditional regalia for girls has the potential of contributing to them being abused at the event, in a similar way that those wearing mini-skirts may be suggested as the key driver of sexual violence by those seeking to justify such abuse.

This is according to the National Study on the Drivers of Violence Against Children in Swaziland, which was disseminated to stakeholders at the Happy Valley Hotel yesterday. “Take for instance the Reed Dance which is at most attended by girls aged 13 years and above, an immoral man who will attend this event will view a girl wearing this attire as naked and as someone who is advertising her body yet it is not the case,” one parent is quoted saying in the report.

The respondents who participated in the research also cited traditional wedding ceremonies, where they mentioned that in such events nobody was assigned as a gatekeeper, which led to children coming and going as they pleased while some did not even sleep in their designated rooms.

“As long as they hear dancing and cheering outside, elders often assume that children are safe. Only upon return or when the child falls sick do parents realise that something happened to him or her during that traditional wedding,” said one of the opinion leaders of the research.

Under the topic ‘Risky places and Events’, the report highlighted that the key feature of risky places was defined by a large crowd of individuals into which children had the potential of disappearing and eventually be at risk of being abused.


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