Features — 13 September 2013 — by Audrey Matura-Shepherd

So the piece I wrote last week elicited lots of verbal response, reaction and reflection, and many were so grateful that the truth about our legal status when it comes to the protection of our children from abuse is being exposed. Of course, it was not shocking to anyone that the detractors whose agenda was exposed, were animalistic and spewing venom, especially on Facebook, but that in not one bit bothers me, because the truth will someday set them free. What was alarming is their lack of defense for our children. I said then and I will say it again, because our children are not voters and are not given the voice they deserve, in this country the lewd and immoral ways of adults will always seek ways to trample our children rather than protect them. Any right-minded person would have thought that 100% of Belize would have condemned the sexual assault of a boy age 13 by a 45-year-old woman, in the role of a nanny, but there were those who took offence to her being called a pedophile despite the “professionals” such as the psychiatrists declaring that sexual contact between an adult and person age 13 and below is still pedophilia… hmmm, I wonder why some would even want to split hairs over this point, if not to defend their perverted lifestyles and intent.

But no matter the voice of the minority detractors, one thing I love about the whole situation is that I am free to write and I am free to explain the law with authority and no one can stop me! Yuppeee! Freedom of speech is wonderful.

Assault of an indecent nature

I want to explain further about sexual abuse as I have had the task of working with victims not only as an attorney, but also as counselor and friend for the past eight years, and can share some realities on the ground in Belize so that those who live in their own little world or ivory tower may be aware of what an infestation of sexual perversion we have and would understand why the homosexual agenda is just one such layer seeking to claim a right where there is none.

So last week I told you all about the 13-year-old boy seduced by the nanny, and for that there is just no law to deal with it as a sexual offence of some serious nature. If the law authorities want to do something about it, the most powerful section in the Criminal Code, Chapter 101, that can be used is “indecent assault”. Section 45 of the Criminal Code states:

“Every person who commits an unlawful assault of any of the following kinds, namely-…(f) indecent assault on any person, whether male or female;… shall be guilty of an aggravated assault and, on conviction thereof, be liable to imprisonment for two years:

Provided that in respect of an indecent assault upon a female or an aggravated assault upon any male child or any female, a person convicted under this section shall be liable to imprisonment for three years instead of two years.”

An indecent assault by our law is deemed a sexual offence but the punishment is so lenient, especially considering that lots of the perverted and animalistic acts of a sexual nature that can only be covered by this section are so gross that the punishment does not even fit the gravity of the situation. A woman sexually assaulted with an inanimate object rather than penetrated with a penis can only seek legal recourse under the crime of indecent assault.

But what is an assault? Section 67 – (1) A person makes an assault and battery upon another person if, without the other person’s consent, and with the intention of causing harm, pain, fear or annoyance to the other person, or of exciting him to anger, he forcibly touches the other person, or causes any person, animal or matter, to forcibly touch him.

Consent and more

Apply this to the case of the 13-year-old boy having sex with the 45- year-old nanny, and anyone with common sense can see the challenge any prosecutor will face trying to get this situation to fit into this law. Although the law speaks of indecent assault of both a male and female, it unfortunately is biased in relation to the reality of males being indecently assaulted. Section 12 (b) of the Criminal Code states: “In the case of an indecent assault upon a female consent shall be void if the person giving it is under fourteen years of age without prejudice to any other grounds set out in this section.”

In this case the nanny can claim that the boy consented, and sadly this section does not apply, so it becomes even more difficult for him to prove the indecent assault than it is for a female. Now one would expect that these are the types of inequalities between males and females that the Revised Gender Policy would address, but instead it is concerned with special groups of “men having sex with men”. The genuine issues affecting our most vulnerable group – children, defined by our law as persons below 18 years of age, are not deemed “special” in nature.

The saving paragraph which is more neutral and all-encompassing that would have to be used is Section 12(d) A consent shall be void if it be obtained by the undue exercise of any official, parental or other authority, and any such authority which is exercised otherwise than in good faith for the purposes for which it is allowed by law shall be deemed to be unduly exercised.”

So on the issue of age of consent the law does not outright state what is the age of sexual consent, but it is inferred that for girls it is 16 years of age based on the way the law in relation to sexual offences is written. For example, Section 47 speaks of “Carnal knowledge of child, girl under sixteen years and female idiot…”

The bias again is against the minor male child, for whom there is no such age limit. The only offence that seeks to cover sexual acts with minor males and males on a whole is the law relating to Section 53, dealing with sodomy on a whole, thus including the sodomy of a boy child. Not even the incest law recognizes a female relative seducing and sexually knowing a male child. (I will write more about this another time.)

Boys as sex offenders

The sad reality is that there is no specific age of consent when it comes to consent by a male in sexual activity and thus it is a disparity that needs to be addressed. However, when it comes to the age of criminal liability – that is when a male is deemed to be responsible for a criminal act, the only place we can turn to is the old common law position which remains our Belize position. That law basically says that a male cannot be held criminally responsible for the rape of a female, or a sexual offence until age fourteen. Of course there are other case laws that dispute this and argue it should be age 12. I will research this point further to see if this has changed, and if so how, because I am relying on my memory in an area I have long not done further research on.

However, if this is so do note that these days by age 12 and 13 boys are virile enough and understand the nature of the act. This is an area that needs addressing for many reasons and as I write I hope readers realize that men having sex with men cannot be deemed a “special group” under the Revised Gender Policy, over the needs of minor boys who are now being preyed upon by pedophiles, especially men now paying little boys to “have sex” with them. Let me point out the loophole in the law.

If a male sodomizes a boy below 14 years that could be sodomy by Section 53 and such male is prosecuted. But if he instead forces or entices the boy child to sodomize him instead, there is no offence, according to our law, since the boy is not of age of criminal responsibility until 14 years of age. In addition, unlike the law dealing with procurement of females, there is no such provision for boys, and the reality on the ground in Belize is that our boy children have become the target of the pedophiles who also are homosexuals because of their preference for little boys.

I will write soon about the underground ring of men that targets boys, especially those of low economic means, and as bait give them money or gifts. During my time as a prosecutor, of a total of 6 boys molested by the same man, only one little boy trapped in that situation stood strong and with his dad’s support saw the case through the entire process in the Supreme Court and got a conviction. The other little boys who helped to lure him, when questioned admitted that said predator had done the same to all of them and at least one admitted he knew that the man would do the same to this newcomer to the group.

Abuse breeds abuse

I am glad I will be back dealing with the issues of sexual offences and abuse now as this has been an area of concern for me for some time. While there are the detractors and those not willing to discuss the real abuses and sexual perversions in our society, because they are either part of it or as liberals see it as the new norm, I refuse to shy away from it and let Belizeans know that our Gender Policy, which is supposed to be addressing equality between males and females, is turning a blind eye to the plight of our most vulnerable group – our minors, and is more comfortable promoting “men having sex with men,” who clearly are not minors, yet classified in the policy as a special group. I publicly call for that category to be removed and replaced with children of all forms of abuse. I want children to get their own special category because I know abuse breeds abuse.

Many do not realize how many of the sexual predators were themselves sexually abused and so become abusers themselves and/or lose their filter of recognizing sexual abuse. Now I go back to my situation of the 13-year-old boy I am seeking help for in relation to his nanny’s sexually abusing him, because I want to use this one case to show the cycle of abuse. So I have been working with the mom, who is currently estranged from the boy’s father, and had to discuss her son’s indecent assault, which she seems to take lightly. I could not comprehend how she could not deal with this issue with the gravity I saw it to be. So I just had to question her and ask her point blank if she was a victim of sexual abuse. Then she confessed that her mom brought different men in and out of her home and that the men of the three main relationships she had all sexually abused her, and her mom knew but her mom acted as though it was no big deal because her mom was an alcoholic and having the men around was important to her. So when I discussed her son’s situation she said, “Well, he is a man now… it is all part of growing up.” This nanny and many of her “friends” similarly are in and out of her house…I do not wish to go into the details of this case but suffice to say that the mother has some serious issues with sexual propriety and I now appreciate where it stems from and why she exposes her children to these dangers.

No one is immune

Equally, I met an ex-pastor who has faced charges of sodomy and when he opened up and recounted his childhood of sexual abuse by his uncle who actually penetrated him and his aunt who fondled him, I was amazed at the demons he carried around. From age 7 he was molested by relatives with whom he was left to live with, and in return the cycle continued as he admitted wanting to re-enact such acts with other boys. No one is immune as victims and potential predators, but help is needed for them both. Thus I call on NGO’s, churches, government departments and the society at large to help address this silent plaque eating away at our children’s bodies, minds and souls!

It does not matter who you are, your rank and profile in society, your profession or economic status, a child victimized sexually has a heavy burden to carry, especially in a society where for too long we hush these things, leave the child pent up emotionally trying to cope with the trauma and then giving appearances that all is well because of the stigma associated with being a victim of child abuse. In some communities in Belize the parents quickly marry the girl off to her very own rapist so as not to damage the “family name”. Victims’ own family look down on them and cower them into silence… now that is true stigma and that is really a special group that needs government’s commitment to change the laws to make the crimes easier to prosecute and services available to help the victims heal, but there is no such commitment in our Revised Gender Policy… because it is not a priority!

Let the pedophiles and sexual perverts attack my writings, let those who seek their selfish agenda above the interest of children attack all they want, let them troll the internet and use their usual profanity. I expect the verbal abuse: what else can you expect from someone hurting? Despite it all … I will remain a voice calling out to ensure that our children be given the special status and protection they need from the predators, including some of those very people attacking “Right to the Point” and its author!

God bless our children and turn the hearts of the detractors… for they too are hurt!

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