Sex is a touchy subject – one minute of pleasure could lead to a lifetime of regret. Aside from the usual worries, pregnancy and the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted disease there is also the very real issue of consent. It is essential that a woman gives her unequivocal and unambiguous consent before any form of intercourse.
A video of a woman having sex in a room with several men in the vicinity went viral recently. In the video the woman’s hands and feet are bound and she smokes what appeared to be cocaine, while having sex with one or more of the men in the room. Throughout the video she seems to request the sexual encounter and also appears a willing participant, but this is a dangerous situation for all the men involved. Whether she had the presence of mind to consent to sexual intercourse initially, and whether she had the presence of mind to continue having consensual sex after smoking the substance is debatable. Despite her words, the men who had sex with her opened themselves up to the possibility that she would come down from the effects of the substance she smoked and claim that she had been raped.
Similar scenarios are not uncommon in Saint Lucia, or abroad. Many young men saturate women with alcohol in an attempt to finesse consent. If you give a woman alcohol or any other drug with the intention of stupefying her and she is in fact stupefied, she cannot give consent. People who obtain sex in this way risk suffering the same fate as those who hold women down and have sex by force. Sex without consent is rape.
It is possible for a husband to rape a wife as well. Do not for a second think that because you are married you no longer need to obtain consent. The House of Lords in the United Kingdom ruled on the matter as recently as 1991 in the case of R v R.
There are instances in which consent though obtained may be rendered ineffective. Under section 123 (2) of the Criminal Code of Saint Lucia consent though obtained is of no effect in the following circumstances:
1. where consent is obtained by force, whether to the person with whom intercourse is being had or someone else
2. where threats are used to obtain consent
3. where the person desiring sex has impersonated
4. where a person in authority uses said authority to obtain consent
5. where there is a misrepresentation about the nature of the act (for example where someone claims to be able to remove demons through intercourse)
6. where consent is obtained through the administration of drugs, with the intent to stupefy or overpower the woman
7. where intimidation of any kind is used.
The penalty for rape in St. Lucia is life in prison. The issue of age of consent is another matter altogether. It is common knowledge that the age of consent in St. Lucia is sixteen (16) for any person. No matter how old he/she looks be sure to ask for an I.D. card because sex with a person below the age of consent may result in prosecution.
It is a shameful reality that in some instances parents encourage their children to have sex with older persons, but what are the risks these persons take when having sex with minors?
There are two levels to the offense of having sex with a person under the age of 16. The first is in the circumstance where the young person is under twelve (12) years old; the penalty for sex with a person under 12 is life in prison. Once the age of the young person is proven, and it is also proven that penetration did in fact occurr, the offense is made out. It is not a defense to say that one believed that the child was older.
The second level is where sex is had with a person who is between 12 years old and fourteen 14 years old. The penalty for this offense is 15 years in prison. It is a defense for a person who is less than 21 years old to state that the sex was consensual, he reasonably believed that she was over the age of 16 and that he/she has not been charged with such an offense previously.
In Switzerland, a man was convicted of rape for removing his condom without the woman’s consent during intercourse. The practice is called stealthing and seems to be an expansion of the rules of consent in that country. The charge was later reduced from rape and the Defendant was placed on a 12 month suspended sentence for his conduct.
Some other sexual offenses and their penalties are as follows:
1) Indecent assault – which can carry a penalty of between three (3) and fifteen (15) years in prison depending on the age of the victim.
2) Indecent Act – which is defined as exposing one’s genitals to a minor and carried a penalty of up to ten (10) years in prison.
3) Gross indecency – which is defined as an act other than sexual intercourse by a person involving the use of one’s genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire but does not include acts done by consenting adults in a private place. Gross indecency carries a sentence of up to ten (10) years in prison
4) Buggery – which is defined as sexual intercourse per anus by a male with another male person and carries a maximum penalty of life in prison in a case where the act was perpetrated without consent and ten (10) years with consent.
5) Bestiality – sexual intercourse per anus or per vaginum by a male or female person with an animal and carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and the court has an additional power to commit the offender to a psychiatric ward. Any person who causes another person to commit bestiality is liable on conviction to a sentence of up to 25 years.
All this to show that there are very real penalties for committing sex crimes, even when some in our midst appear conveniently ignorant of the law. You do the crime, you serve the time!