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Raise age of consent to 18 – Anesia Baptiste

Raise age of consent to 18 – Anesia Baptiste

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One candidate in the upcoming general elections is pushing for the age of consent for girls to be raised to 18 years.

Anesia Baptiste, the leader of the Democratic Republican Party (DRP), says that there is an alarmingly high rate of gender-based violence towards girls under the age of 15 and she believes that this is because of the low age of consent in this country.{{more}}

Baptiste, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, referred to a recent draft report, which indicated that the girls were most likely to be abused by an intimate older partner.

“So … most of the victims were 15 years and younger…then it means that a lot of 15-year-olds are involved with older men and they are being abused.”

Baptiste, who will be contesting the West St George seat for her party in the upcoming general elections, says there are contradictions in our laws.

“The very same law that we just passed in April of this year, the Domestic Violence Act of 2015, states plainly that people have a duty to report abuse of a child, report domestic violence against a child … [which] includes sexual abuse.”

However, although a 15-year-old girl is a child, she can give consent.

“You see the contradiction?” Baptiste quipped.

“Fifteen years is a child, because the age of the majority act shows us that you are an adult when you are 18, but our laws in different places show that you can give consent at 15. So, how is a child giving consent at 15 years old, who is still a child because she is not 18…how do you report that, because the law you have an obligation to report ill-treatment – she is a child, but she is also of age?”

The politician said under a DRP government they would attempt to regularize the laws by raising the age of consent to 17 or 18. The Marriage Act would also have to be adjusted, since it states that a 15-year-old girl can get married with the consent of her parents.

“The point is if, we change it and raise it, we hope it would affect the value system of the people and not only changing it, making sure we enforce the law, so that instead of people sort of sliding over the occurrences, we actually prosecute people, so that they understand this is no joke matter…

“What kind of young adults would we be preparing if most of the 15-year-olds are being beaten up because they are in relationships, because they are allowed to have sex without impunity on the man? They are children, but if they have sex at that young age, they can get pregnant, they can get STDs and they cannot deal with those things. So, what kinds of adults would we have after one term in office, if we don’t address that?”

Baptiste said if some of the men are imprisoned for breaking the law, it would hopefully work as a deterrent. (CM)

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