Anal Sex Argument As UN Suggests Jamaica Expand Definition of Sexual Intercourse

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday February 3, 2017 – There has been strong, mixed reaction to a United Nations (UN) recommendation that Jamaica redefine sexual intercourse, as the country updates its laws to crack down on rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Under Jamaica’s existing Sexual Offences Act, sexual intercourse is defined as “penetration of the vagina of one person by the penis of another person”.

The international body has proposed that other forms of penetration be considered, including oral and anal sex, to acknowledge sexual violence against men and boys and include protection for them, as well as girls and women.

But some religious bodies have lashed out, charging that the UN had a hidden agenda, while local rights groups insist that protecting men and women from rape should not be controversial.

The proposed recommendations were outlined on Wednesday by UNDP Senior Human Rights Adviser in Jamaica, Birgit Gerstenberg, who addressed a joint parliamentary committee mandated to oversee the review of four sexual relations and violence bills, including the Sexual Offences Act.

“If sexual intercourse does not consider the possibility of other penetrative practices that may be used to inflict grave sexual violence to any person, it does not recognize the same nature of any sexual penetration, and diminishes particularly humiliating or painful traumatic experience that victims may undergo,” Gerstenberg said.

The proposal has won the support of Jamaica’s Public Defender Arlene Harrison-Henry.

“There is need for this broader protection of rights of men and women and it ought to be gender neutral. Rape is rape. Right now, a male child who is buggered, no one under our law committed the act of rape against him,” the Jamaica Gleaner quoted her as saying.

The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) is also backing the suggestion, with Policy and Advocacy Manager Glenroy Murray telling the Jamaica Observer that “it is unfortunate that we have allowed our laws to treat rape of some persons as more severe than rape of others”.

“Having a definition of rape that is accurate and reflective of the ways in which people are raped is essential to guaranteeing equality before the law,” he said.

However, the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, (JCHS) and the Associated Gospel Assemblies (AGA) say the UN’s call promotes the gay agenda.

“You don’t have to redefine sex from its biological moorings in order to punish people who offend other individuals,” said Wayne West, head of the JCHS.

His counterpart, Peter Garth argued that legitimizing anal sex was a route to legalize same-sex marriage in Jamaica.

“I believe anal penetration is wrong in 2017 and anal penetration will still be wrong in the year 3000,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner.

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