Stronger sex law necessary
The brutal rape of five females, including an eight-year-old child in St James is still fresh in our minds. So, our do-little-too-late, knee-jerk-reacting legislators now see it fit to once again pull the wool over our eyes with their claim to strengthen the sexual offenders law. This law - from what I have read so far - seems to deal only with sexual matters after the fact.
Strengthened sexual legislation should have provisions for the privacy and support for rape victims at medical facilities and at police stations. Violation of these procedures should be a criminal offence and should include termination of job.
As it is today, the offence of rape is underreported, because rape victims are at times fearful of social stigma and unbearable shame.
There are also times when the accused person's word is taken over the victim's. The victim is then demoralised and stigmatised by the court system, even though the trial is held in camera.
Any strengthened sexual offence law should have provisions with "teeth". It should also be well-established government policy to have public announcements and telephone hotlines where victims of rape are encouraged to report the matter. It should also be the law that the victims can seek compensation from the perpetrator(s).
Until special interest groups such as the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition and other groups apply pressure for true and meaningful reform, our do-little-too-late legislators will continue to give lip service and knee-jerk reactions to the plight of victims of rape in this country.
Authnel S Reid