Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Letter of the Day | Right-wing lobbyists abet brutal rapists

Published:Friday | June 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Christian extremists have, once again, proven to Jamaicans that their interests lie solely with restricting the rights of the LGBT community, and not in protecting and guiding members of the society, as they often claim is their mandate.

The recent recommendations made by the United Nations and many other groups, such as medical services provider Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, and the People's National Party Women's Movement, to the joint select committee mandated to review the Sexual Offences Act were met with much criticism by the Church and other extremist groups, such as the Marcus Garvey Research Institute, that seem to believe that expanding the definition of rape in the legislation will unleash the gay agenda, and encourage 'sexual immorality' in the nation.

It is disappointing that the discourse around the expansion of the definition of rape, which needs to be focused on victim protection, is being manipulated as a chance for extremist groups to perpetuate harm, and enforce archaic beliefs. This is being done at the expense of victims who have had their experiences delegitimised, and have been denied justice because of the current definition of rape.

 

WHY STAND BEHIND IT?

 

The definition of rape, as it currently exists, limits rape to an act that can only be perpetrated by men against women, and only acknowledges a penis being forced into the vagina of a woman as amounting to rape. Why are we so afraid to call a spade a spade?

The buggery law has done nothing to protect our society. Why do we stand behind it even when our women and children, who statistics show are most affected by the provision, are being assaulted anally, only to have their experiences described as buggery, instead of rape, as it is described in countless jurisdictions globally, and which accurately describes the encounter?

This is not about the 'gay agenda'. This is about protection for victims of sexual abuse, many of whom gained the status of 'victim' from Christians themselves.

SHEREIKA MILLS

millsshereika@hotmail.com