Features — 06 September 2013 — by Audrey Matura-Shepherd

I am concerned at how the Revised Gender Policy has gotten so much attention and how it especially seeks to promote a lifestyle that is so contrary to the collective value of a nation, yet it is to represent the interest of people who have not even been consulted. Even more amazing is that we now are making a decision that will impact the future of our children, yet they as the most vulnerable group, the group who will live with the consequences of this policy in its present form, have not even been consulted, much less considered.

Who is special?

It is still incredible, the audacity that the authors and supporters of the National Gender policy have to speak about special groups and, sadly, not even mention children as a special category with special urgent needs. Yes, the policy has gone on a limb to create special groups and special commitments, and while I must say some mentioned are meritorious of that classification, there are others that baffle me, and still more alarming are the ones not included.

Let me be specific. In the area of health we all see the multitude of Belizeans that must resort to begging and fund-raising to be able to have basic health needs met. High on the list of those at risk are our premature births, our diabetics, our cancer patients and our hypertensive, yet the policy did not see it fit to consider them a special group. This is despite there having been 13 deaths of “preemie” babies at the KHMH.

This is what the health section of the policy states: “Special most-at-risk populations (MARPS) are being provided health care services on demand.” But who are these “special most-at-risk” people? Well, the answer is found at page 18 where it states:

Commitments: Government will :-Services are also to be targeted at special groups such as men who have sex with men, male and female sex workers, victims of gender based violence, people with disabilities and people with mental illness.”

Women discriminated again!

Who in their wildest imagination would see “men having sex with men” as a special group, but not mentioned as special groups are the sexually abused children, or the diabetics, or even women having sex with women. How interesting that a policy coming out of the National Women’s Commission would discriminate so blatantly against women? Ironically, the rationale for the policy to include the homosexual agenda is to end all forms of discrimination… hmmm.

However, there is a sense that the policy has as its focus in some areas the interest of only the men who are gay, not the women, as if it’s the male faction of the LGBT has been pushing their own interest. It may be that because it is a biological male who is at the forefront of the movement, priority is being given to the “men having sex with men.” Thus again it would seem that, sadly, the women are still being marginalized by the men and to insult them it is now happening under the banner of the National Women’s Commission, which was initially established and mandated to “to effectively advocate for the well-being of women, in order to achieve more equitable human development,” according to the foreword in the 2002 Gender Policy. But by the 2013 policy the intent clearly had changed and the focus was no longer man and woman issues, but gender issues as the new foreword states that the National Women’s Commission: “was established in 1982 as government’s national advisory body on gender related issues.” So which foreword is telling the truth?

To be clear here, when the policy speaks about “gender,” they are now referring to two different things. For too long the term “gender” in the minds of the average Belizean referred only to the biological difference between male and female, so when we ask what is your gender, people thought I am either man or woman. But under the policy it is no longer clear-cut male or female because “the socially constructed roles” of male can now be said to vary totally for a person’s sex. So your sex may be female, but your gender male, because socially you do not wish to be seen as a female, but rather a male. It is this very definition and concept that remains at the heart of the controversy in the gender policy.

Clearly, if in the definition section it is clearly stated that when the policy refers to gender it means the same as the biology of the person and it means that your gender aligns with your physical sexual characteristics, then much of the fight would end. But the reality of the situation is that if you can get away with changing the definition of terms, then you can get away with what you are pushing…and this is not only for this issue.

Can boys be raped?

I discuss the policy to show how sad it is in our country that our policy-makers are aiming at promoting a secular lifestyle of men having sex with men, and so much focus is being placed on that while the genuine interests of our children are totally neglected and not priority. If the same vigour would only be used by policymakers to address the inequities and inequalities in our laws so as to protect our children, we would feel more assured about the kind of leadership we have in our halls of power. Instead of terms of gender equity and gender-equality, we would be hearing child-equality and child-equity, but children cannot vote and cannot form NGO’s and governments, so adults should be speaking for them.

I am now even more adamant to advocate for our children, because just this week I was confronted with a very distressing situation which in law does not have a solution and will bring no justice to the interest of a child. I was called in to deal with a situation wherein a 13-year-old boy was seduced and made to engage in sexual intercourse with a 45-year-old woman who was his nanny at the time.

According to the child’s account to me, for several nights the lady kept having sexual intercourse with him and it reached the point where she wanted him to move out and go live with her because she wanted to continue and thus take charge of him as a lover. This was all unknown to the mom until she recognized that the nanny was giving special attention to this child. When the mother intervened, that is when she discovered that the woman had taken advantage of her child.

What to do? Sadly, in our law there is absolutely no section of the law that addresses the rape of a male, much less a male minor. When Section 46 of our Criminal Code talks about rape, it refers to the old common law position of a male raping a female. At Section 71 it states: “Rape is the carnal knowledge of a female of any age without her consent.” The traditional view of rape is a male, the perpetrator penetrating the female against her will, thus placing a minor boy child to penetrate a female against his will but with her willingness does not yet constitute a crime in our country and is rather deemed as a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. This is not only morally wrong and against public morality, it is outright nasty, vile, evil and criminal. Ironically, the Special Envoy for women and children, Mrs. Simplis-Barrow, was quick to provide a statement on homophobia and the special group of men having sex with men, so now I hope pedophilia more vigorously causes her to act beyond the usual statement and move her to use her power and connections for the true interests of children.

It is rather unfortunate that this sexual abuse is not one of the priority areas of our new gender policy or any NGO or religious group, as none has publicly taken on this legal anomaly. It is as if the well-being of our male child is not important, yet the sexual activity of our grown men is critical as they have sex with each other (men having sex with men) that it is given special status in a gender policy that was once the focus of how to ensure women enjoyed the equal opportunity of men…. Again it is the interest of the men that has “stolen the show.”

Sexual abuse is not priority

For my readers’ information, the only place where the sexual assault of a boy child is factored in is Section 53 of the Criminal Code, which deals with “unnatural crime,” of which sodomy is one such act. Thus the only time a male child gets any legal attention under our sexual offences is when he is “buggered” or “sodomized” or penetrated anally by a male. That section is the very section of our law being challenged by UNIBAM, claiming discrimination, yet the section speaks not only to the “special” group of men having sex with men, but also when men anally penetrate a female. What many may not realize is that said law is not aimed at homosexual men only: it covers “every person” who engages in “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” There may be so many possible interpretations of what constitutes “carnal intercourse,” and what is “against the order of nature,” but we know for sure that for it to be illegal it must be done with another person or with an animal.

Sadly, it would seem that there is no law whereby we can address the “rape” of this teenage boy who was sexually abused by a 45-year-old babysitter. For this child there is no sense of justice. For this child he realized that adults can get away with so much and his voice is not even heard. His explanation of the situation and the control exerted by this woman over him is clear indication that she abused her position of authority and robbed a child of his innocence and dignity and respect. But those fighting for sexual preference rights would never advocate for the true change we need.

I have said to men at the forefront of the “sex- revolution” that while I am not concerned with who is sleeping with whom, I believe the focus has been only to promote the selfish interests and agenda of a few. What I would have wanted to see is a genuine, comprehensive review of the sexual offence law, to provide more protection to the truly VULNERABLE groups – children, children and children. The concern is not with the reality of the sexual abuse experienced by our children. Sadly, no it is not! We have become desensitized by the reports of yet another little girl sexually abused and now pregnant, or a little boy sodomized, that it has become just an everyday occurrence.

In Belize we need to move very fast to be sure to address any form and all forms of abuse against our children, be it fully sexual intercourse or just sexual by nature. As the law stands if the boy child or the girl child is not penetrated sexually there is no real offence. So instances where the child is simply forced to perform oral sex, these are not properly dealt with. I could go on and explain every nuance of the law, but suffice to say it does NOT adequately address the reality of all the sexual perversions occurring to our children.

Pedophiles the new normal?

I say we need to act fast too because if we think the homosexual agenda is too much to deal it, we better brace ourselves for the pedophilia agenda, which is now following in the same footsteps of the homosexual movement. I found an article at http://patdollard.com/2013/07/it-begins-pedophiles-call-for-same-rights-as-homosexuals/ reporting a movement afoot in Canada already which states, “Using the same tactics used by ‘gay’ rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.” However, what is alarming is that for homosexuality to receive the acceptance it has today, in 1973 when all the world was consumed with other issues a powerful medical group infiltrated by homosexuals itself, and named the American Psychiatric Association, using medicine “declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders” and classified it as the new normal.

The article states, “A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA. B4U-Act calls pedophiles ‘minor-attracted people.’” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”

A new term introduced in the gender policy is “sexual orientation,” and that, read along with the word “gender,” is the key to the new door of the new norm being opened in Belize. As seen from the above article the linchpin of the pedophile’s argument is the phrase “sexual-orientation,” which is the new right being claimed by the homosexual movement. I hope readers take time out to read this article in its entirety.

I will end with just one more portion of what was reported: “Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, ‘Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality.’”

He went on to say, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent.”

That woman who took advantage of that boy is a pedophile, but our laws are so weak when it comes to sexual abuse against our children, especially our boys, that, as I have written, she will get away with something that should have otherwise been a crime!

God bless our Children! And give wisdom to our adults!

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