Saturday, July 18, 2009
The passage followed rigorous debate in the Upper House for more than three weeks.
During this morning’s sitting, Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne morning drew the ire of Opposition Senators after she accused former justice ministers K.D. Knight and A.J. Nicholson of failing to provide effective leadership of the justice portfolio.
Senator Lightbourne was hard put to explain why prepared modifications on the Sexual Offences Bill were not submitted to the Senate in a timely manner.
Senator Lightbourne launched a verbal attack on the former Justice Ministers who served during the People’s National Party administration over the 18 year period.
However opposition Senator KD Knight would not allow the Justice Minister’s comments to pass.
Despite Senator Lightbourne’s resistance to Senator Knight’s intervention, he was given the green light by the President of the Senate, Oswald Harding to respond.
Senator Lightbourne later apologized for her ministry’s tardiness.
The proposed statute now gives a definition of rape, as none existed in the Offences Against the Person Act, which covered sexual offences.
The Bill also makes provision for a range of new types of sexual offences, which are not covered under the new definition of rape and makes marital rape a criminal offence.
The amendments deal with, among other things, sexual violations of persons suffering from mental disorders and allowing convicted sex offenders to apply to the court to terminate his or her registration.
Another change seeks to protect victims of sexual offences, and witnesses, from having their names and addresses disclosed in the media.
The Bill, which was passed in the House of Representatives on March 31, seeks to amalgamate various laws relating to incest and other sexual offences.
It also includes provision for a Sex Offenders Registry and a Sex Offenders Register to monitor offenders.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The amendments deal with, among other things: sexual violations of persons suffering from mental disorders; allowing convicted sex offenders to apply to the court to terminate his/her registration; as well as to protect victims of sexual offences, and witnesses, from having their names and addresses disclosed in the media.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, advised members that the amendments incorporated proposals resonating outside the Senate.
The Bill, passed in the House of Representatives on March 31, seeks to amalgamate various laws relating to incest and other sexual offences, and includes provision for a Sex Offenders Registry and a Sex Offenders Register to monitor offenders, please see below the recent Scottish Amendments/Passage to their bill(s). It is with great interest that I note the speed at which hansards and other notes relating to the Scotts' debate is readily available to the public while here in Jamaica it's sometimes a three week wait for hard copies and very little online references for perusal. Anyway let's compare notes, shall we? to see what we can learn from the Scotts, I am also trying to track the Guyanese debate as well. see posts on sexual offences bill so far
Please also see the UK's 2003 Sexual Offences Bill
Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 11)
A Bill to make new provision about sexual offences, and for connected purposes.
Current status of Bill: The Bill passed Stage 3 on 10 June 2009.
Current version of Bill: Bill (as passed) (549KB pdf posted 11.06.2009)
Stage 1 After Stage 1
Stage 2 After Stage 2
This Executive Bill was introduced by Kenny MacAskill MSP on 17 June 2008.
Bill (as introduced) (898KB pdf posted 18.06.2008)
Explanatory Notes (718KB pdf posted 18.06.2008)
Policy Memorandum (466KB pdf posted 18.06.2008)
Delegated Powers Memorandum (54KB pdf posted 19.06.2008)
SPICe briefings on Bill (as introduced)
SB 08-48 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill (258 KB pdf posted 17.10.08)
SB 08-57 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill: Children (122 KB pdf posted 23.10.08)
The lead committee for Stage 1 was the Justice Committee. The deadline for consideration of Stage 1 was extended to 13 February 2009 (the previous deadline was 23 January 2009).
Lead committee: Justice Committee's Stage 1 consideration
Lead committee Stage 1 report
The Bill was also considered by the following committees:
Equal Opportunities Committee on 30 September 2008.
Finance Committee on 24 June 2008.
Subordinate Legislation Committee on 9 September 2008, 7 October 2008, 28 October 2008 and 4 November 2008.
Chamber proceedings at Stage 1 (12 February 2009): Official Report and Minutes
The Bill passed Stage 1 on 12 February 2009.
After Stage 1
The Subordinate Legislation Committee considered the Scottish Government’s response to that Committee’s stage 1 report.
Subordinate Legislation Committee meeting, 3 March 2009
The Bill was referred to the Justice Committee at Stage 2.
17 March 2009 (Consideration of amendments, Day 1)
1st Groupings of Amendments for Stage 2 (91KB pdf posted 13.03.2009)
1st Marshalled List of Amendments for Stage 2 (113KB pdf posted 16.03.2009)
24 March 2009 (Consideration of amendments, Day 2)
2nd Groupings of Amendments for Stage 2 (74KB pdf posted 20.03.2009)
2nd Marshalled List of Amendments for Stage 2 (144KB pdf posted 20.03.2009)
31 March 2009 (Consideration of amendments, Day 3)
3rd Groupings of Amendments for Stage 2 (109KB pdf posted 30.03.2009)
3rd Marshalled List of Amendments for Stage 2 (129KB pdf posted 27.03.2009)
The Bill passed Stage 2 on 31 March 2009.
Bill (as amended at Stage 2) (443KB pdf posted 31.03.2009)
Supplementary Delegated Powers Memorandum (18KB pdf posted 18.05.2009)
Revised Explanatory Notes (158KB pdf posted 04.06.2009)
The deadline for Stage 2 was 1 May 2009.
After Stage 2
The Subordinate Legislation Committee considered the delegated powers provisions in this Bill after Stage 2.
Subordinate Legislation Committee meeting, 2 June 2009
SPICe briefing on Bill (Parliamentary Consideration prior to Stage 3):
SB 09-39 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (233 KB pdf)
Subordinate Legislation Committee 31st Report 2009: Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill as amended at Stage 2
The Stage 3 meeting was held on 10 June 2009.
Groupings of Amendments for Stage 3 (128KB pdf posted 08.06.2009)
Marshalled List of amendments for Stage 3 (73KB pdf posted 08.06.2009)
Chamber proceedings at Stage 3 (10 June 2009): Official Report and Minutes
The Bill passed Stage 3 on 10 June 2009.
Bill (as passed) (549KB pdf posted 11.06.2009)
COPFS Progress on the Recommendations of the Review of Sexual Offfences
"Section 4(1)(c) and (d) reads as follows:
Section 4(1) - a person (hereinafter called "the Offender") commits the offence or grievous sexual assault upon another (hereinafter called the "victim") where in the circumstances specified in subsection (3) the offender -
(c) penetrates the anus of the victim with his penis;
(d) causes another person to penetrate the anus of the victim with the penis of that other person;
Mr. President, we already have the common aw and also sections 76 and 77 of the offences against the person act which provides the penalties for buggery and the attempt to commit buggery.
Buggery is anal sex between two males, a male to a female and a male to a female with an animal. In other words it covers unnatural offences. Buggery is a crime whether or not one consents. On the other hand, grievous sexual assault would be an act done without consent. If we implement paragraphs (c) and (d) which in effect is buggery without consent I am of the view that some good lawyer can one day use it as the basis for an argument that the existing anti-buggery law ought to be replaced concerning consenting adults in private. Such a result would not be in keeping with the common good. I would therefore urge this house to take the view that paragraphs (c) and (d) should be deleted entirely.
3) Other Sexual activity between males
Paragraphs (g) and (h) of the same section 4(I) that defines grievous sexual assault require scrutiny. Paragraphs (g) reads:
(g) places his mouth or her mouth onto the vagina , penis or anus of the victim ; or
Paragraphs (h) reads:
(h) causes another person to place his or her mouth onto the vagina, penis or anus of the victim.
Mr. President these sections speak to what is now commonly termed as oral sex. At present such acts are committed with the use of mouth on the penis or the anus and they are between two male persons, it is captured by section 79 of the offences against the person act under the offence of gross indecency. That offence also does not require consent. Similarly, by including such acts under grievous sexual assault we would also be setting up the basis for the argument that since consent is an issue we should do away with the gross indecency provision which does not require consent? Again we must tread carefully. I recommend that the references to the penis and anus in paragraphs (g) and (h) be deleted.
Now let me hasten to say that I am not insensitive to any cases where maybe a man may be "raped" by another man. I know that the maximum penalty for buggery is only (10) ten years whilst maximum penalty that would be imposed for rape or grievous sexual assault is imprisonment for life. I am however pointing to the possible dangers of going down the road of including anal sexual activity or other sexual acts between males in this bill. As a concession, the proposed section 4(I) (c), (d), (g) and (h) could remain with a provision that nothing in the new law should be construed to reverse the common law or repeal sections 76, 77 & 79 of the offences against the person act that address buggery and gross indecency. However, I am not sure if such a proviso could remain indefinitely in light of what I understand are recent utterances by the privy council that legislation must be in keeping with new human rights thinking which may find buggery provisions repugnant. The legal luminaries can help me with that. We cannot assume either that a Caribbean Court of justice will necessarily take a position in keeping with the values of our people since judges are supposed to think independently and some judges may be of a liberal mind set. An individual judge may take a position that is not shared by the majority."
She continued with Gender neutrality rape and Marital rape.
Monday, July 13, 2009
March 15, 2009
Heather Little-White, Ph.D.
'Men sleeping with men' is an established homosexual activity. Sex between men has been recorded in almost every human society and at every stage in history, accepted in certain cultures and repressed and denied in others. However, the real dilemma is for female partners in a supposedly heterosexual relationship to discover that their partners are also having sex with men. These men who sleep with men and women are bisexual, a sexual orientation which many women cannot tolerate.
Sophiewas engaged and just a week before her wedding, She began packing to move to her new home. Sophie found pictures of her fiancé in a compromising position with a male friend of the couple. She found it hard to believe and when she confronted her fiancé, he broke down in tears and admitted that he enjoyed bisexual relationships for most of his adult life. The wedding was cancelled and Sophie has since lived a celibate life as she works through her pain in therapy.
Men who have sex with men find a certain kind of fascination with this lifestyle. Bernieadmits that he became involved in having sex with men because his business associates who were involved with powerful people got him in places and positions that he never thought would have been possible. He has plans of marrying one day to improve his social standing and the woman he dates now also share those plans, unknowing of his other sexual orientation, sex with men.
The secret world of men who lead a double sexual life is known as the Down Low in the United States. What is the Down Low? Men who have sexual relationships with other men while in a sexual relationship with women. They are said to be on the Down Low or DL for short. Often, these men do not consider themselves gay or bisexual and their female partners are unaware that they are having sex with other men.
Men on the 'down low' believe that women are for relationships and men are for sex only. They get the balance of having a woman for the benefits of a relationship with the caring and 'mushy' stuff, and the raunchy sex with men. Living the double life is very easy to do, according to one DL man. "As long as you are not suspected of having sex with another man, you are safe with your woman and society. If you dress effeminate, you place yourself at risk of being beaten because of the homophobic society in which we live," he added.
The Down Low world includes a surprising array of men in academia and business to homosexual thugs, often unemployed. The Down Low has taken centre stage in discussions on the increase in HIV/AIDS, especially among black women. Data show that the main mode of transmission is through heterosexual sex, moving from the former popular mode of transmission - drug use.
The practice of straight men secretly having sex with other men is common among African American men, but it is seen across all ethnic groups. Experts have attributed the high rates of HIV to down-low practices where men have sex with other men then go home to their wives or girlfriends and infect them with HIV, never having told them that they have unprotected sex with other men.
How many HIV-positive black men consider themselves heterosexual? According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is difficult to quantify this population, but the tendency is for a good portion of men who have had sex with men to consider themselves heterosexual or straight. Black men do not like to be termed 'gay' or 'bisexual', as it makes them think of white guys wearing pink. They also feel that the terms rob them of their masculinity. In order for the AIDS prevention messages to be effective, health workers now use the term 'men who have sex with men' (MSM) to make men feel more accepting of the messages for safer sex and HIV testing.
Old boys' clubs
Men continue to lead a double life in secrecy and it is a place where they find acceptance in a highly homophobic society. Historically, it has been found that men who sleep with men find fraternity with members of the 'old boys clubs', sporting bodies, fellow deacons, work colleagues and friends, many of whom are known to their female lover and accepted as a 'good friend/colleague'.
Writing in the Invisible Life, author Lynn Harris posits that several cases of MSM were best men in the wedding of a male friend and wife. Several of the men in this 'secret' world, hang out together, drink, get drunk and end up at a secret apartment. "The next morning their underwear is on the floor and they just get up and put it back on as if nothing happened," Harris adds. What is dangerous about men having sex with men is that no condom is used. Some men admit that getting the condom forces them to think about the DL behaviour and may hinder their performance and achieving orgasm.
Precautions for women
Women, who fall in love, should take more pains so as not to end up with men who sleep with other men. Therapist Brenda Wade writing in Essence magazine suggests the following:
Do some groundwork during dating before engaging in sex. Dating gives a woman time to determine if her date is sane, available and compatible with her.
What if your date reveals that he has had sex with men or has an attraction to female? You may feel that you have to move on, but the real issue is whether you can have a committed, monogamous relationship and to determine what is needed to take it to another level.
Explore the reasons your date started the 'down low' and it may be possible to help him overcome it and women can go on to establishing healthy relationships with HIV tests. Some say that the only thing difficult as not knowing is knowing.
The issue of bisexuality is often shunned because of shame and the fear of being ostracised by the public. However, with the increases in HIV transmission, the group of men who sleep with both men and women can no longer be ignored in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Some of the sensational sound bites emanating from the pristine upper chamber include visions of:
Scrotums on silver platter delivered to conniving wives
Wicked women who tell lies about rape
The spectre of the need to differentiate between real vaginas and surgical ones
The sound knowledge base of a non-biased woman who knows that having a sexually transmitted infection is not a death sentence
The idea that, without a change in the current definition of rape, men can be raped in some circumstances such as when a female uses "date rape drugs" to overpower a hapless and unsuspecting guy in the bar
The laying of criminal charges against bisexual men or those "on the down low".
All of these muddled discussion points demonstrate a serious and severe lack of understanding of human sexuality and the historical sexual atrocities that are designed and executed to keep women and girls in their place in patriarchal systems.
Sexual Offences Bill
These systems are still rigidly cemented in individual psyches, in the religious institutions and in the fundamental social, economic and political structures of the nation state.
Perhaps, before they continue to debate such an important piece of legislation as the Sexual Offences Bill, the members of both esteemed chambers of Parliament should take a refresher course in human sexuality before they speak to complex issues which should not be defined in terms of any indivi-dual's sexual experience or belief systems.
Edmond Campbell, Gleaner staff reporter, enlightened the readers of the June 28 edition of the attempts by some of the honourable Senators to block loopholes in the proposed sex laws which are now before them.
It is these attempts that have shown the Jamaican public moments of hilarity in the Senate. We observe men bent over in laughter slapping their chests and thumping their desks at some of the most titillating of comments.
These responses are rather disheartening to those who have worked so hard over the years to ensure that our decision makers take seriously the issue of sexual violence against women and children in the Jamaican society.
These are not laughing matters, nor should they become hysterical sound bites in the Upper House.
One of the most controversial and unclear notions put forward by one of the female senators is the concept of the real versus the surgical vagina. Of course, the gender of the senator should be important to such a 'red flag' idea. In some quarters it might be argued that it would have been inappropriate for one of the male 'landed gentry' to even imagine the difference between a real vagina and a fake or surgical one.
God-given special body parts
Indeed, only those who have the real ones can describe the feel, the contours and the authenticity of their God-given special body parts.
It is this issue that jumped out at me because it calls into question the human reality of transgendered individuals, hermaphrodites and others who have no control over how the Creator designed them.
Perhaps members of the medical fraternity who understand the notion of sexual identities and who would have the data base to enlighten us about the demand for operation to change the genitalia in the Jamaica society should lend their voices on these issues.
These professionals should be able to join this debate in order to ensure that sane, sober and informed interventions will lay the base for the justice inherent in the Sexual Offences Bill if and when it sees the light of day.
Against such intervention by the medical specialists, the question of false genitalia could be discussed in a more gender-neutral framework.
For instance, the fact that it has been reported in popular media that entertainer Cher's daughter is now transitioning from female to male, the spectre of surgical penises committing sexual crimes is a real possibility. The society would, therefore, be challenged to examine all our body parts in order to establish their authenticity.
Engaging in hysteria
Obviously, we are not serious about the issue of the distortion of human sexuality that has forced the Jamaican society to enforce a Sexual Offences Bill at this time in our history.
Rather than engaging in hysteria we should stand back and remind ourselves what healthy human sexuality is all about.
To this end, we might find some enlightenment in the discussion on 'Sexuality and Development' carried in the April 2006 policy briefing issued by the Institute of Development Studies.
The following point was highlighted in this document.
"While it is a fact that sexuality and gender is a defining characteristic of every human being in every culture, we are predisposed to ignore important aspects of human sexuality or alternatively to discuss sexuality in relationship to population, family planning, disease and violence."
It is this limited view of human sexuality that prompted the World Health Organisation to present the following working definition to guide its work in all regions of the globe.
Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.
Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships.
Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.
This local struggle to define the parameters of the Sexual Offences Bill must be framed in the context of the criminal deviation from healthy sexual relationships between consenting adults of whatever sexual identity and within the established formats of human relationships.
We, the women of Jamaica, look forward to a Sexual Offenders Registry, the understanding of marital and other forms of rape as forced sex against our will, and appropriate punishment to deter the predators who think they own bodies besides their own.
Reject 'vagina registry'
We do not want to be lured into complacency or side-tracked by the possibility of registries of surgical penises, men on the down low, conniving wives and women liars.
Most definitely we reject any 'vagina registry' to identify real and false versions of the female genitalia.
The trouble with such a registry would not only be related to the costs of identifying real vaginas but the stress that would be placed on the prime minister in consultation with the leader of the Opposition to recommend to the governor general an appropriate, qualified citizen to become Jamaica's first Vagina Registrar.
Glenda P. Simms is a consultant on gender issues
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it