However, the local church lobby, through the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) and the Associated Gospel Assembles (AGA), has been quick to advise lawmakers to reject the proposal. The fanatics are at it again even in the midst of accused shoddy pastors being named as suspects in inappropriate sexual assault of children of all things yet very little stridency in that department, homosexuality or related matters gets full attention non the less. Also see: Clerical abuse ugliness revealed as antigay religious voices barely respond
The science of it all cannot be discounted but as per usual that is left out even with Wayne West talking about biology and such, anyone remembers this case?: Labourer suffer near two years in prison on false accusation of buggery and other cases where it is suspect as to the efficacy of doctors' reports that are submitted into evidence when no physical examination was conducted on the accused in the first place and one's doom can be so easily sealed over a couple glasses of Wray & Nephew on the rocks.
Mark Connolly, from the UN Country Team, on Wednesday, read out the recommendation to a parliamentary committee that has resumed its review of Jamaica's sex laws.
Sexual intercourse under the Sexual Offences Act is "penetration of the vagina of one person by the penis of another person".
But Connolly said that if the definition is "too narrow, the legal recognition of sexual violence against men and boys would not fall under it in an equally protective way as against women and girls.
"If sexual intercourse does not consider the possibility of other penetrative practices that may be used for inflicting grave sexual violence to any person, it does not recognise the same nature of any sexual penetration and diminishes particular humiliating or painful traumatic experiences that victims may go through."
Wayne West, head of the JCHS, said that the proposal disregards the 'biology of sex' and promotes the 'gay agenda'. "The UN is working an ideological framework that is seeking to remove consideration of the reality of biology in order to advance its political agenda. You don't have to redefine sex from its biological moorings in order to punish people who offend other individuals."
Like West, the AGA's first vice-president, the Reverend Peter Garth, insists that the redefinition to include anal sex is a route to legalise same-sex marriage in Jamaica. He said that an "honest" medical doctor would admit that that form of penetration is unhealthy.
"I believe anal penetration is wrong in 2017 and anal penetration will still be wrong in the year 3000," he said.
Rape Is Rape!
Under Jamaican law, only a woman can be raped - an offence that carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment, unlike buggery, which carries up to seven years' imprisonment.
"There is need for this broader protection of rights of men and women and it ought to be gender neutral. Rape is rape. Right now, a male child who is buggered, no one under our law committed the act of rape against him," argued Harrison Henry.
Janet Farr, president of the Nurses' Association of Jamaica, said that redefining sex is accepting the reality. "The definition that we had before was rather archaic. The definition might be speaking to a certain ideology, but this is what the reality is."
SHOULDN'T BE A CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE
Noting the importance of equality before the law, rights group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and the gay lobby JFLAG have dismissed critics of the proposal.
"Protecting men and women from rape should not be controversial. The same groups opposing this common-sense reform are also arguing to maintain archaic marital rape exceptions that allow married men to rape their wives," said Rodje Malcolm, JFJ's advocacy manager
According to JFLAG's Glenroy Murray, it is "unfortunate" that Christian critics are taking a position that gives greater significance to some sexual violence over others.
Delroy Chuck, justice minister and committee chairman, has said that the review will run for up to six months, after which a report on the recommendations will be done.
also see: PNP Opposition unimpressed with 'painful and troubled' passage of Sexual Offences Bill 2009
Rape in the US was originally defined as "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will". However, the Justice Department upgraded the definition to mean the "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim".
The new definition now makes it possible for men and women to be the victims as well as the perpetrators of rape, and is expected to solve inconsistencies in data regarding the number of rape victims in that country.
But while the move is being lauded in that jurisdiction by law enforcement and government officials, some believe that a changing of the definition for rape is not necessary in Jamaica at this time. This is especially so given the fact that persons, whether males or females, can now be charged for the carnal knowledge of another without their consent under the Sexual Offences Act of 2009.
The Act was a spin-off to the Incest Punishment Act and the Offences Against the Person Act, which addressed sex crimes; however, the current Act still recognises rape as a crime that can only be committed by a man against a woman. A man commits this offence when he has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent, or recklessly not caring whether or not she consents. All other sexual acts carried out against an individual without their consent is considered a grievous sexual assault; therefore an individual, whether male or female, commits this offence when they penetrate the vagina or the anus of a victim with a body part other than the penis or with an object manipulated by the offender.
Head of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) superintendent Gladys Brown at the time, believes the Sexual Offences Act is very clear-cut and provides grounds on which a woman can also be charged for sexually assaulting a man without his consent, thereby eliminating concerns that the law is gender-biased. As such, she does not believe Jamaica should be concerned about changing the definition of rape as it now stands.
"If you are a woman and you go home tonight and you and your girlfriend tie up a man and you get a bottle and you insert it into his anus, you are going to go to prison for a good while because you are going to be charged for grievous sexual assault," she said.
"What the law tries to do, is not to minimise or maximise the offence but to separate them and where you could draw the line and make your judgement is when you look at the penalty, because there must be a separation in terms of the degree of the offence," she said.
While not discounting the trauma experienced by a woman who is sexually molested, she pointed out that a woman who has been raped usually has to consider other repercussions such as getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as HIV/AIDS.
"When a man insert his penis inside of you, a whole range of things can happen to you to include you going crazy, going mad and feeling traumatised for the rest of your life," she said.
Under the Sexual Offences Act of 2009, a person who commits the act of rape is liable on conviction in a Circuit Court to imprisonment for life, or a time determined by the court not being less than 15 years. However, a person who commits the offence of grievous sexual assault is liable upon conviction in a Resident's Magistrates Court to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or upon conviction in a Circuit Court to imprisonment for life, or such other term as the court considers appropriate not being less than 15 years.
Executive Director for the Bureau of Women's Affairs, Faith Webster, believes that while the change in the definition of rape might be necessary for the US at this time, this is not necessarily the case for Jamaica.
"I suppose they are moving to the current situation, after seeing what exists on the ground; and you have to always continuously review and revise your laws in keeping with the current and contemporary situation," she said.
She believes the Sexually Offences Act of 2009, as it now stands, adequately deals with every aspect of the sexual assault of another without their consent.
In 2006, then Minister of Justice and Attorney General Senator AJ Nicholson had put forward a number of amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act, emphasising that there was an urgent need to reform the legislation. Provisions were also being made at the time to change the definition of rape so that women could be charged for committing the offence.
Nicholson argued that the gender-neutral concept of the Bill had been revised on the basis that men and young boys were also exposed to sexual violation and given this reality, they too should be afforded protection from sexual offences.
"I recall that there was a very lengthy discussion at the Joint-Select Committee at Parliament by various stakeholders throughout the island on the issue and the consensus was that they also wanted to keep the traditional definition; that is the penetration of the vagina with the penis," said Webster.
But Webster believes that even though men can get justice for being sexually attacked by a woman under the Sexual Offences Act, males still shy away from reporting cases where they have suffered grievous sexual assault because they have been raised to be macho. The act of a woman forcing a man to have sex in some sections of the society is seen as a good thing rather than something to complain about.
"In our cultural situation and the way we have been socialised in our country, that is always a factor and that could be one of the reasons too why rape of boys and men could be even higher than we really see, because persons are just not going to want to report that kind of an issue. It is even difficult for women to come forward and report a rape, moreover when you look at the situation with men, " she said.
Let's see what obtains in the next six months eh.
Peace & tolerance
some related matters:
Member of Parliament Lloyd B Smith on Of Buggery & Rationality 2014
Parliamentary Committee struggles to define sexual intercourse 2009
JFLAG Tries to Clarify its Agenda 2014
Oh to change hearts and minds
J-FLAG now advocating for decriminalisation of same-sex acts (the change came to late for me)
Opposition leader (JLP) reiterates his call for a referendum on Buggery .............