Dress code

Law student in Uganda barred from campus over ‘short’ knee-length skirt

(Facebook)

Joaninne Nanyange, a law student studying in Kampala, Uganda, was surprised when she found herself stopped by two women, one wearing a police uniform, while just outside the gate of the Law Development Centre where she attends classes. The women asked her to pull on her knee-length skirt “to see how far down it could go.” Nanyange’s skirt, the women then told her, “was not long enough for LDC standards.” If they were to allow her entry onto the campus, they said, she would “attract the boys and men that [she studies] with and bar them from concentrating.”

Outraged, Nanyange took to Facebook and detailed the incident in a post that has since gone viral.

“During induction week, the Deputy Director of the Centre, a woman, told us we shouldn’t wear clothes that distract ‘our brothers,'” wrote Nanyange. “[Thus] far, these rules have not been implemented. Now that they have, I am allowed to complain.”

Nanyange’s post drew attention to the status of women in Uganda, noting that an attempt by the country’s parliament to ban women from wearing miniskirts in 2014 had led to alleged incidents of ‘mob justice’ where men attacked and forcibly stripped women who wore the garment.

“How can we be angry with boda boda men attacking and undressing women for wearing short things when we have institutions that we hold to higher levels of understanding and responsibility fostering cultures that say women are only as appropriate as men say they are?” asked Nanyange.

“How can we, in good conscience, blame Minister Kibuule for saying women that dress indecently should be raped when we have an institution like LDC barring female students from class so the male ones can concentrate?” she continued, referring to comments made by Kibuule implying that victims of sexual assault who dressed suggestively should be prosecuted for inviting the crime.

“Our bodies have been so sexualized to points of madness and like all cases of marginalisation, the victim pays the price,” concluded Nanyange. “Patriarchy has been so grossly institutionalized we all feel the need to legislate and pass rules controlling women’s bodies, by among other things creating de facto dress codes for them … Please let us live. Allow us to prosper. This nonsense needs to end.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.

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