Lesbian, Seventh Day Adventist and beliefs

More and more Jamaicans are expressing themselves about issues affecting them and it’s refreshing to hear some. This particular post is birthed from an exchange I had with a Seventh Day Adventist who is also a lesbian. I tried to invite her to a series of GLBT events slated for the Emancipation weekend where she responded that Saturdays are out as she respects her faith and keeps the Sabbath. The conversation went on to the role of the church and what it ought to be concerned about which is winning souls fopr Christ despite orientation or the profile of the individual.

Read more on What is the church really about? on my other blog gay Jamaica Watch.

Over the past months Jamaica has been having a dialogue overall about morality and Christianity and the various doctrines that obtain from the many denominations that co-exist here. My lesbian friend pointed out that the church is too busy dipping it’s hands into state affairs it seems and I concurred referring to the much debated Sexual Offences Bill and the Abortion issue now in the public domain.

Read more on Theocracy issues and How Christians deal with law

Her personal path is that of handing over to God what she feels is an unchangeable course in her life that of being a lesbian, she says she prays to God for whatever should happen however I questioned her as to why she would do that, it’s as if she concurs that her lesbianism is a sin thus making her unfit and unclean for the church and evangelism. I pointed out that many who are in the business of evangelism may never see the gates as that much coveted position alone in my view doesn’t guarantee salvation in the end as the bible puts it. She recovered herself and went on to state that she believes God never made a mistake in creating her as she is and she feels her calling is to serve but the institutional structure of churches in general choke and exact bigoted positions to persons who seem different than the “holy” individual.

Frankly the church has no business in judging people if it does it is no different from the sinner folk it is to reach or to infuse love and peace in the lives of men.

Walk good.

H

Women’s groups react to Senate passing Sexual Offences Bill

THE landmark Sexual Offences Bill, which reforms and amalgamates various laws relating to rape, incest and other sexual offences, was finally passed by the Senate last Friday.

WEBSTER… [the Bill] has been a long time coming

The Bill will repeal the Incest (Punishment) Act, as well as several provisions of the Offences Against the Person Act. It also provides for the establishment of a Sex Offenders Registry, which will maintain a register of sex offenders.

It was passed in the House of Representatives on March 31, tabled in the Senate in April and the debate started in May. However, over a lengthy process in the Senate, 28 amendments were made before the Bill was passed.

These amendments cover a number of crucial provisions, including: violation of persons suffering from mental disorders; procuring violations by threats, fraud or administering drugs; abduction of children to have sexual intercourse; unlawful detention to have sexual intercourse; living on earnings from prostitution; and protecting the anonymity of complainants and witnesses.

VASSELL… when women’s rights are advanced, it provides a wake-up call to men
The Bill also provides a statutory definition of rape, as well as provisions relating to marital rape, specifying the circumstances in which such rape may be committed.

It was piloted through the Senate by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, who is also the leader of Government business.

Lightbourne noted that the Bill was examined rigorously by the Senate and that the members had, in large part, made useful comments on the provisions.

HERON… there are still a few provisions that could have been less restrictive
Senator Navel Clarke who spoke on behalf of the Opposition members, welcomed its passage. He described the Bill as being “in the interest of the people”, and expressed the hope that the Senate will continue in that direction.
- JIS

Gender experts weigh in

EXECUTIVE Director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA), Faith Webster, said the Bill would go a far way in protecting the women in society who are often times victimised.

“It has been a long time in coming, but we have reached there; and I think now in Jamaica we are even ahead of some of our other Caribbean counterparts. They have been watching closely too and commending us to know that we have reached this stage now, and now we are looking forward to the drafting now, and the finalisation of this Bill, so that it can be implemented,” she said.

She said she was especially pleased with the fact that consultations had taken place on all levels before the bill was passed and that parliamentarians were able to work with other stakeholders to ensure that it was okay.

“I was heartened to see the level of discussions, and the dialogue also that took place even at the parliamentary levels. That showed that there was keen interest in what was happening,” she said.

She said while there were reservations on some aspect of the bill, it was able to capture most of the essential issues that Jamaican’s had to grapple with.

“I can’t say that any piece of legislation is ever fool-proof or perfect and the laws to me are not static. This is why we have a mandate as a country at large to constantly review and to assess, and to analyse and to see what’s happening in the law, what’s happening in the courts with the piece of legislation, to ensure that if it is not working as it should, what it is that we need to amend,” she said.

Former president of Woman Inc and attorney-at-law Dundeen Ferguson, said she was especially pleased with the fact that the Bill dealt with the issue of marital rape, which has been a major concern for persons who worked in gender-related fields.

“In terms of our working with women and the increases in sexual assault against young girls and women who are being abused by their husbands, I think the legislation would work very well,” she said.

“We are very happy that it’s now coming into law. When you talk about almost 15 years of advocating for amendments to the Incest Punishment Act and amendments to various sections of the Offences against the Persons Act, looking at the central issues regarding women and sexual offences, we are very happy that it has passed,” she said of the bill.

Director of the “men’s desk” at the BWA, Dave Williams, said he too was in support of the Bill.

“Anything that protects the rights of women, we feel that it is a victory for men as well, because we believe in gender equality, and so if it protects one, then it will protect all. Anything that empowers women, we are happy for that and we welcome that,” he said.

Meanwhile, women’s activist and chairperson of the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), Linnette Vassell believes the legislation was gender neutral. Furthermore, she noted that, “When women’s rights are advanced, it provides a wake-up call to men on a whole to allow them to know about what is permissible within the law.

“It is a family law and healthy families mean healthier communities and nations on a whole,” she said.

Other reactions

“FINALLY! There are still a few provisions that could have been less restrictive/more liberal but perhaps on a next round when can expect (more) enlightenment. Big up to the Bureau, the women’s NGOs, the concerned ministries and individuals who really pushed this through from start to finish.
Now for implementation and monitoring – and training of course – so the work will continue.”

- Taitu Heron, manager, Social Development & Gender Unit, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ)

“Aaaaat laaaast! We have come a long way. Congrats are in order for all who truly hold on to the dream, that one day we will reach the mountain top.”
- Lana Finikin, SISTREN Theatre Collective

“Remember that several amendments were made to the Bill by the Senate which now need to be studied carefully. These amendments also mean that the Bill goes back to the House for approval before it is law, therefore the celebrations may be a little too soon.”
- Nancy Anderson, IJCHR

Insensitive parents & Displaced MSMs

Many Jamaican adolescent gay men are the victims of displacement and or ostracism by family members and others when they are found to be gay. A most recent case that came to my attention is that of a 23 year old male who frequents his family home and stops in to supervise his other siblings. According to him in a recent conversation his mother demanded he leave the home as she told him she found out about his lifestyle after years of rumours and suspicions of his orientation. She told him that she doesn’t intend to share even utensils with him thus he cannot stay in the home. Suprisingly his father is much more understanding in this case as usually fathers are much more angered by their son’s homosexual lifestyle. The difficulty with stories like this one is that many of the displaced males are usually in their teens and who find themselves in difficult situations to eek out an existence for themselves, they are taken advantage of by other gay men who prey on their weakened positions and often use them for sexual favours.

It is an admission that many in the GLBT community don’t really want to discuss directly and sad to say there are very little social intervention strategies that can capture these young men and women who fall through the cracks. Lesbians tend to fear off better as there support systems are usually emotionally connected and they tend to be nurturing thus outcomes yield more positive results. Another reason also could be that lesbianism is tolerated much more than male homosexuality so the girls can “survive”.

Other accounts speak of parents checking emails of teens while they may have left the computer, browsing text messages of cell phones without the victims knowledge, scrutinizing phone calls and listening in on conversations. There was an incident several years ago where a father allegedly handed his gay son to students at his school to be beaten but was rescued by compassionate ancillary staff who took several blows to shield him and called for police intervention.

Jamaica Observer article 19/02/04: Father encourages students to maul ‘gay’ son
“According to students and teachers at the school, the boy’s father apparently found pictures of nude men in the boy’s school bag.
Infuriated, he turned up at the school yesterday with the pictures and encouraged the mob to turn on his son. As students began to maul his son, the man is reported to have driven away.”

I don’t know where to begin as to how to address this issue, why cant we just be tolerant and try to understand the issue of homosexuality before cursing it?

H

The reasons and realities behind the ex-gay movement

By Ramsey Dehani
source: Pink News
The ex-gay movement, which professes to ‘cure’ homosexuality, is in the news yet again following the disappearance of American student Bryce Faulkner, who is thought to have been sent to one of the controversial centres by his parents after they discovered he was gay.

Ex-gay ministries were founded in the mid-1970s in a reactionary move against the advance of the gay rights movement in America. Rather than focusing on any biblical exegenesis or psycho-biological studies, the movement focused on popularised stereotypes of gays and lesbians, concentrating their actions on such things as ‘gender-specific’ role playing and ways of thinking.

The ideals of what the movement preaches, a move from homosexuality through to heterosexuality, are said to be ineffective and “potentially harmful” by American psychologist groups such as the American Psychological Association, which claims that such direct intolerance and lack of acceptance can cause mental health problems.

PinkNews.co.uk spoke to Dr Adrian Coyle, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Surrey and co-author of ‘The Social Psychology of Sexuality’, about how these negative connotations affect the person involved.

With regards to reparative therapy, Dr Coyle said that there is “no evidence it works” and that the “research evidence just isn’t there”.

“As a psychologist and a scientist, I want to know about the evidence they have,” he said.

“I don’t think its wise to engage with the desire to change, the reinforcement of pre-existing negative ideas of one’s sexuality presents a huge risk.

When asked further about ex-gay treatments he said that the only positive outcome would be that “conceivably, once, say, a religious Christian who is forced to go or chooses to go [to a centre], engages with it and tries their best only to find it doesn’t work . . . it could be a catalyst for some critical thinking and a realisation that maybe they are not ‘wrong’”.

He went on to stress: “The risk is so huge for feelings of complete isolation of social context and the implications for a person’s life and wellbeing.”

He added that this could potentially lead to suicide.

Ex-gay groups tend to say that members who come to them want to change, and lose their “unwanted same-sex attraction”, but when reading accounts from these people, many of whom come from small towns or cities throughout America where there is harsh intolerance towards gays, one can see reasons why they think that this is their only option.

The groups themselves often cite personal trauma as reasons for undertaking the therapy, with the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) claiming: “Early [during childhood or adolescence] sexual experiences with an older, same-sex person are commonly reported by our homosexual clients.”

Peterson Toscano is the co-founder of beyondexgay.com, an online community for people who have gone through the ex-gay process and found it unsuccessful.

He submitted himself to reparative therapy, and spent 17 years of his life attempting to address his same-sex attraction, before finally coming out as openly gay in 1999. He told PinkNews.co.uk about his experience at ex-gay residential programme ‘Love in Action’ (LIA), as well as the three exorcisms he went through.

Describing a reparative therapy session, he said: “In LIA a typical day meant group sessions where we talked about our issues and get teachings about why we are gay based on the template they provide. Often parents get blamed and participants need to match their personal histories with the template the programme leaders provide thus creating a new mythology about themselves.

“We had to spend a great deal of time writing about our former sexual experiences,” he continued, “and then filtering them through a lens that deemed such activity as sinful, dysfunctional and addictive.

“We also had to stand up in front of family and friends and share one of the most shameful sexual experiences we had, much like people do at AA when they talk about hitting rock bottom. This is a devastating and shaming event for both the participants and the parents”.

Toscano talked about how they were given training in “proper” gender roles and personal presentation, and “how to dress, walk, act like proper men and women”. Examples included men going to football “clinics” and women receiving baking lessons.

However, it seems that LIA itself does not even believe gays can be changed.

Toscano described how John Smid, the director of LIA, announced in a welcoming speech to them that the goal of heterosexuality was “unrealistic” and added that many would struggle with their desires for the rest of their lives.

Even Exodus International, the ex-gay group that is one of the largest of its kind and also the place where Bryce Faulkner is said to be being ‘treated’, now teaches this very message: “Change in orientation is not possible.”

Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, spoke at the Love Won Out conference in 2007 and said: “Heterosexuality shouldn’t be your number one goal . . . the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness.”

Mr Chambers continued: “I think we in the church often get that wrong. We think, ‘okay, the best thing for this person who’s involved with homosexuality or involved with lesbianism is that they come out of that lifestyle and go into heterosexuality’”.

He added that this was “setting people up for a terrible fall”.

So the president of the group itself is saying that the heterosexuality that he is attempting to push on gay and lesbian people is unattainable.

Bryce Faulkner has been criticised from a number of quarters for not choosing to leave therapy.

However, Toscano warned of the difficulties of trying to leave ex-gay ministries.

“Cut off from the world – friends, TV, news, etc -the teachings of the programme fills the head. You get trapped in a world within a world,” he continued, “an alternate universe that warns of all sorts of dangers outside, that to leave, one is also leaving God’s will for your life.”

“Looking at it from the outside this may seem silly,” he went on, “but inside that world that is filled with shame and fear, it becomes harder and harder to think clearly for one’s self.”

“Also, to know that once you leave you may be destitute . . . without the support from your parents . . . it makes it all the harder to get out,” he said.

“Some kids do resist their parents and make it, but there are also far too many homeless LGBT people out there.”

With the case of Bryce Faulkner still ongoing, and people such as his boyfriend Travis Swanson saying that he was “allegedly brow beaten, manipulated and economically bullied into ‘agreeing’ to an intervention to ‘cure’ his homosexuality”, one can see that the movement continues.

Despite the assertion from its leaders that it doesn’t work, ex-gay therapy continues and more and more people like Bryce Faulkner are sent there every day.

The movement in the US, and indeed, the UK, is going stronger, something which undeniably calls for more research into such false ‘cures’, which even the centres’ leaders say does not work.

NARTH and Exodus did not return calls for comment.

The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir by Staceyann Chin

Order Book HERE

WIKIPEDIA Says:
Staceyann Chin is a 35-year-old spoken word poet born in Jamaica and living in New York City. Chin is a full-time artist. Openly lesbian, she has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998. In addition to performing in and co-writing the Tony-nominated Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, Chin has appeared in Off-Broadway one-woman shows and at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. She has also held poetry workshops worldwide. Chin credits her accomplishments to her hard-working grandmother’s and the pain of her mother’s absence.
Her work has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Pittsburgh Daily, as well as being featured on “60 Minutes.” Her poems can be found in her first chapbook, Wildcat Woman, the one she now carries on her back, Stories Surrounding My Coming, and numerous the anthologies, including Skyscrapers, Taxis and Tampons, Poetry Slam, Role Call, Cultural Studies: Critical Methodologies. Staceyann’s voice can be heard on CD compilations out of Bar 13- Union Square, Pow Wow productions and many more. She is a host on Logo’s After Ellen internet show “She Said What?” and a co-host of BET J‘s My Two Cents.
Chin’s “activist driven”work has garnered praise in various publications. Of her one-woman show Border/Clash, The New York Times wrote that Chin “is sassy, rageful and sometimes softly self-mocking.” The Advocate wrote, “With poems that combine hilarious one-liners (“I told her I liked the way she made that pink push-up bra look intellectual”) with a refusal to conform (“I want to be the dyke that fucks men”), Chin is out to confront more than just the straight world.” And in the book, Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam, author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz referred to Chin as “definitely the prize to win” among the three New York City Poetry Slam venues during the years she competed, adding:

To watch Chin perform is to watch the very essence of poetry manifested: her performances are imperfect, volatile and beautiful. Chin’s poetry is passionate and well-written, sure; but it’s her ability to communicate that passion in performance that is unparalled. She becomes the poetry.

Big up sista!

Guyana – Sexual Offences Bill Developments

Letter to the Editor from the only source it seems that is following the Bill’s run.

Proposed Sexual Offences Bill most advanced in the Caribbean
Dear Editor,
If the Sexual Offences Bill 2009 laid in Parliament last week is passed in its current form, Guyanese will benefit from the most enlightened legislation in the Caribbean.
Currently before a Parliamentary Select Committee, the Bill addresses all of the obstacles which have made court proceedings almost as traumatic an experience for women and girls as the original crime.
Apart from more certain justice, the law also provides for extensive awareness and training mechanisms to prevent the incidence of crimes of sexual violence.
An important innovation of the Bill is shifting the burden of proof away from the victim onto the accused by a new definition of rape.
At present sexual offence trials, especially rape cases, focus on whether or not the victim consented to the sexual activity.

The spotlight, therefore, is on the victim rather than the accused.
The new Bill requires that the first thing to be established is the presence of coercive circumstances. Only when an exhaustive list of such circumstances has been ruled out, does the question arise of consent taking place.
The court must ask whether violence was used or the victim had cause to fear violence (art.7(2)(a); was violence threatened against others (7(2)(b); ‘the complainant was, and the accused was not, unlawfully detained at the time’ (7(2)(c); was the victim overpowered by drugs (7)(2)(d); was the presence of other people used to intimidate (7)(2)(e); was the complainant asleep (7)(2)(f); was she unable to refuse by virtue of physical or mental disability (7)(2)(g,h); abuse of a position of authority which the complainant could not resist. Should any of these circumstances be present, it can be conclusively presumed that the complainant did not consent to sexual activity.

These features of the Bill have assumed greater significance in recent years because availability of DNA testing has foreclosed on many accused denying that sexual activity took place.
The issue of whether it took place with consent then becomes the centre of attention. The proposed legislation ensures the focus remains on the accused.
Although the threat or use of violence renders women largely powerless over their own physical and sexual integrity, the concept of consent presumes a woman can control the situation if she really tries hard enough.
This myth then encourages exploration by the court of women’s attitudes: was she impulsive, provocative or passive, why didn’t she scream, did she fight, has she consented before? Introducing the element of coercion into the assessment starts to right this balance.

Many features of sexual offences investigations and trials will become more sensitive in future: giving evidence from behind a screen, or by video-link will be available for children (below the age of 18 years); confrontations in police-stations are abolished, as are references to previous sexual history of the victim.
Abolition of Preliminary Inquiries finally takes the Guyanese judiciary from the oral into the print era.
This long-overdue step ought to eliminate a major cause of attrition in rape cases, namely, the interminable delays allowed in the Magistrates’ Court which, along with the casual humiliation by uncaring lawyers, contributed to the abandonment of countless cases.
Measures to address grooming of young girls by male predators are a welcome addition to the law, providing the police with an instrument to counter the growing number of solicitations, abductions and seduction of young girls.

Despite these proposed sweeping changes to procedures in police-stations and courts, victims of sexual offences still have to contend with ingrained and widespread public prejudices.
Public surveys from other societies show that 1 in 3 persons believe a woman is partly or wholly to blame for rape if she flirted with the man and 1 in 4 if she wore revealing clothing or had been drinking.
These figures translate into one-third and one-quarter of jurors sharing these prejudices.
The only weakness of the Bill lies in the multiplicity of official mechanisms charged with promoting sensitivity training, awareness, data-collection and community support.
Too many official agencies charged with vague mandates and dependent on uncertain funding is a recipe for duplication and vacillation.

A more sustainable approach might have seen attention focused on ensuring greater integration of existing services for victims of sexual crimes, leading up to the creation Sexual Assault Referral Centres in which victims can have all their needs addressed in one place and in an integrated manner.
The Bill stands as testimony to the fact that sustained effort can pay dividends.
In this respect the GHRA wishes to recognize the 160 organizations and community groups who supported the ‘Stamp It Out’ campaign, helping to create an environment from which such a Bill could emerge.
In particular we acknowledge Rights Of Children (ROC) activities outside of Parliament on International Day to Stop Violence Against Women in 2006 in which the slogan “Stamp It Out” was coined when women were invited to stamp painted footprints on large zinc sheets.
Executive Committee
Guyana Human Rights Association

Guyana – Sexual Offences Bill GHRA lauds

`An important innovation of the Bill is shifting the burden of proof away from the victim onto the accused by a new definition of rape’
The Executive Committee of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has lauded the tabling of the Sexual Offences Bill 2009, and said that if the bill is passed in its current form, “Guyanese will benefit from the most enlightened legislation in the Caribbean. “
The bill was tabled last week Thursday and was sent to a Special Select Committee of Parliament for deliberations.

According to a release from the GHRA, “the bill addresses all of the obstacles which have made court proceedings almost as traumatic an experience for women and girls as the original crime. Apart from more certain justice, the law also provides for extensive awareness and training mechanisms to prevent the incidence of crimes of sexual violence.”

The GHRA identified an important innovation of the Bill as the shifting of the “burden of proof away from the victim onto the accused by a new definition of rape.” The body noted that “at present sexual offence trials, especially, rape cases, focus on whether or not the victim consented to the sexual activity.” According to the GHRA, this means that the spotlight is on the victim rather than the accused.
The new piece of legislation requires that the first thing to be established is the presence of coercive circumstances. “Only when an exhaustive list of such circumstances has been ruled out, does the question arise of consent taking place.”

The body has acknowledged that the “abolition of Preliminary Inquiries finally takes the Guyanese judiciary from the oral into the print era. This long-overdue step ought to eliminate a major cause of attrition in rape cases, namely, the interminable delays allowed in the Magistrates’ Court which, the casual humiliation by uncaring lawyers, contributed to the abandonment of countless cases.”

Additionally, “measures to address grooming of young girls by male predators” were acknowledged as “a welcome addition to the law”, as it provides “the police with an instrument to counter the growing number of solicitations, abductions and seduction of young girls.”

Meanwhile, according to the GHRA “the only weakness of the Bill lies in the multiplicity of official mechanisms charged with promoting sensitivity training, awareness, data-collection and community support. Too many official agencies charged with vague mandates and dependent on uncertain funding is a recipe for duplication and vacillation”, the GHRA stated.

He said that “a more sustainable approach might have seen attention focused on ensuring greater integration of existing services for victims of sexual crimes, leading up to the creation [of] Sexual Assault Referral Centres in which victims can have all their needs addressed in one place and in an integrated manner.”

The GHRA added that the bill is testimony that sustained efforts can pay dividends. “In this respect the GHRA wishes to recognize the 160 organizations and community groups who supported the `Stamp It Out’ campaign.”

It acknowledged in particular the Rights Of Children activities outside of Parliament on International Day to Stop Violence Against Women in 2006 when the slogan was coined after women were invited to stamp painted footprints on zinc sheets.

Sexual Offences Amendments Passed 16/07/09

The senate passed the Bill to amend the Sexual Offences Act with 28 amendments.

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.

Sexual Offences Bill – Comparison & Readings

The last two senate sessions have been moved up on the agenda so no new developments yet, The debate should have continued last Friday (July 10), but was deferred to allow members time to study proposed amendments to the Bill, which arrived late for that sitting.
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)
Related Links
Understanding bills
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)

Contents:
Introduction
Stage 1 After Stage 1
Stage 2 After Stage 2
Stage 3
Introduction
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)

Stage 1
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

Stage 2
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)
Minute
Official Report
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)
Minute
Official Report
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)
Minute
Official Report
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
Stage 3
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

Sexual Offences Bill Debate – Senator Hyacinth Bennett’s Summary Remarks 26.06.09 Part 4

2) Anal Sexual Activity

“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.

The END