Just ’slight’ contact with another’s genital could mean rape and more in Guyana’s Sexual Offences Bill

… and jail for life

Penetration finds a broad and new definition under the new Sexual Offences Act.

According to the Act, penetration doesn’t just mean inserting the penis into the vagina or anus of another person. Penetration can also mean female to female genital contact, “however slight.”

This is how the Act defines penetration: any intrusion, however slight and for however short a time, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the vagina or anus of another person, and any contact, however slight and for however short a time, between the mouth of one person and the genitals or anus of another, including but not limited to sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse and female to female contact.

A person is guilty of the offence of rape if the accused engages in sexual penetration with another person without his/her consent. A person who commits the offence of rape is liable to conviction to imprisonment for life.

Sexual assault, which could land someone in jail for a maximum of ten years, involves just touching another person in a sexual way without the consent of the other person.

If someone is accused, one of his excuses cannot be that the person didn’t resist, or that the person was aroused, and might even have had had an orgasm during the process. In the case of a woman accused to raping a man, the Act essentially says she cannot claim that the man was enjoying it, and hence consented, because he ejaculated.

In the case of child sex offences, the Act specifies that a person commits the offence of rape of a child under 16yrs old if the accused engages in sexual penetration with the complainant or causes the complainant to engage in sexual penetration with a third party.
It is irrelevant, according to the Act, whether at the time of the penetration the accused believed that that complainant was over 16 or not.

‘Peeping’ could land you in jail

Someone accused and found guilty of secretly observing another person “doing a private act,” could face a fine of $500,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment.
This is according to the New Sexual Offences Act. It is called voyeurism.
The Act says, “A person commits the offence of voyeurism if for the purpose of sexual gratification” the accused observes another person (the complainant) doing a private act without “the express consent of complainant to being observed for sexual gratification.”
This means that, in ordinary talk, if you “peep” at a person having sex and you are caught, handed over to the Police and found guilty in court, then you face the penalty.

You could also be guilty if you are dragged before the court for peeping at someone using the toilet, or if the person is doing anything else in which their genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed.
Once you are accused and found guilty, then you face the penalty.

The law also applies if the accused installs equipment, or constructs or adapts a structure (tent, vehicle or vessel or other temporary structure) with intention of enabling another person to peep.
Further, a person commits the offence of voyeurism if she/he operates equipment with the intention of enabling another person to observe another person doing a private act without the complainant’s consent to operate the equipment.

A person is also guilty of voyeurism if the accused records another person doing a private act with the intention that accused or a third person will look at the image for the purpose of sexual gratification.
A person who commits an offence under this section is liable

(a) on summary conviction to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for two years;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for five years

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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