Mon | Feb 20, 2017

Peter Espeut | Ginnalship and redefining rape

Published:Friday | February 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM

A parliamentary committee has been tasked to come up with a 'perfect definition' of rape, and the lobbyists are lining up, sensing the high stakes.

Rape is sexual intercourse which, if mutually performed, would be legal, but which lacks the consent of one of the partners. At the moment, the definition of rape is limited to a man placing his penis into a woman's vagina without her consent, because, in law, only penis-vagina penetration is recognised as sexual intercourse.

The suggested approach 'to be fair to the boys' is to change the definition of sexual intercourse to include other activities, such as anal intercourse, penetration of the mouth, or penetration by non-sex organs and objects. Therefore, any of these activities performed without the consent of one of the parties would now be called rape, and would attract the same penalty as forced penis-vagina penetration.

Placing all these other activities under the category of 'sexual intercourse' puts them on equal footing with penis-vagina penetration, and normalises them. Changing the definition of rape to include forced anal sex will imply that consensual buggery should be legal, and is a samfie attempt to legalise buggery through the back door. That is why J-FLAG and the pro-gay public defender support the redefinition.

But what is the injury that the redefinition is supposed to redress? Currently, men who sexually impose themselves upon other men can be charged with 'grievous sexual assault', which carries a maximum penalty on summary conviction in the parish court of a prison term not exceeding three years, and on conviction in the circuit court, to imprisonment for life or other penalties in the discretion of the judge, but not less than a 15-year prison term.

Buggery itself carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The crime of rape (forced vaginal penetration), as currently defined, carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.

 

DISPARITY IN PENALTIES

 

Quite correctly, the commentators are pointing out the present disparity between the penalties for rape and grievous sexual assault tried in the

parish court, although, as you can see, the disparity is not great. Their call, they say, for the redefinition of sexual intercourse - and therefore rape - will equalise the penalties for the offences, and will be 'fair to the boys'.

But it is not hard to see the ginnalship. What it will really do is provide the grounds for an argument to equalise and legalise and normalise all forms of sexual intercourse, including buggery, as long as there is consent of all the parties, and that is why the LGBTQI activists and all the libertarians have taken to the airwaves and the print media to support it.

And it is no surprise that the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society and other Christian groups have quickly come out against this attempt to normalise what they consider to be abnormal, unnatural and bestial acts; and predictably, this has drawn the fire of anti-Christian elements in the media. We have our culture wars here in Jamaica, too!

If the goal is to equalise in law the punishment of forced anal sex and forced vaginal sex, the obvious and easiest approach is to equalise the penalties for rape (forced vaginal sex) and grievous sexual assault (which includes forced anal sex and many other things besides). This much simpler solution to the imbalance is much more elegant than going through a redefinition of sexual intercourse, which carries with it so many contentious implications.

But, of course, if the real intention is to provide a route to legalise buggery, rather than any sympathy for the plight of buggered boys, the lobbyists will simply continue to press for redefinition.

The news reports state that Minister Delroy Chuck has tasked the parliamentary committee to come up with a "perfect definition" of rape that will satisfy the "United Nations and also the public at large". One might ask, why is the United Nations pushing this gay agenda on us? And why is the Government seeking to satisfy the United Nations rather than the citizens of Jamaica?

I believe that Minister Chuck has given the parliamentary committee an impossible task, for I do not see how one can satisfy both those who wish to normalise LGBTQI sex, and the Church (and the wider Jamaican society), at the same time.

As the USA comes to its senses and seeks to overturn the legal 'victories' of their LGBTQI forces, it would be unwise for us to depart from the traditional values that have served us well for so long.

- Peter Espeut is a sociologist and Roman Catholic deacon. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.