Highlight: 20 February: Anne

I’ve been feeling depressed lately and I thought about having to notice the good things in life.

So, I made a resolution to sometimes mention highlights of my life as they happen.

Yesterday, the highlight was speaking to a Christian giant named Anne. Now, Anne is a widow with 3 sons: One at a private university, one in high school and one in primary school. They do very well. I know her youngest son, who is bright and well-behaved. Anne also runs a preschool and after-school-centre in her neighbourhood, and a Sunday school.

There is something I forgot to mention here, before you get a wrong impression: Anne’s regular income is hardly enough to pay university tuition for her eldest, much less tuition, room and board for him, a place to live for herself and the other two sons, food, etc. She lives in a place – Reahola- that used to be a mine hostel, but is now divided into 405 family units.

Her preschool is not a source of income. The children in her preschool mostly have high school mums who cannot pay her at all. She runs the preschool, the after-school centre, and the Sunday school as a labour of love. She trusts God for funds for her son’s university fee. This far, it came in every month. She was praying to God for money for a fence around her preschool/ after-school study centre. Yesterday, some American Christians phoned and said they will build not only a fence, but a whole playground! The Americans are coming in March.

When I hear about the Checkers “Woman of the year” competition again, I’ll nominate this remarkable woman….

Second biggest highlight:

Anne contacted us some time to give a Good News Club (a weekly Christian meeting for kids) in Reahola. We were there to teach it, and some little kids came to hug us. One little black girl told me: “Teacher, you’re beautiful!” It’s great to hear. As a single woman, people don’t often call me “beautiful.” But I think they are beautiful: All those little black kids who welcome us into their hearts and neighborhood to teach the club. And I wonder if they realize how priviledged they are to have the “beautiful” – not outside, but inside- Anne among them…..

SA’s “Sexual offences and Related Matters Amendment Act” (No 32, 2007): The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good
1. At least one ridiculously contradictory concept have now been removed from law books:

There used to be a law stating that having consensual homosexual intercourse with someone under 19 is a crime. Then, same-sex marriages became legal. Last year’s Child Act then specified that 18-year-olds can consent to be wed. It would thus have been legal for a man to marry an 18-year-old boy, but intercourse would have been illegal for the couple. (??!!) This not an opinion on same-sex marriage; or age of consent. This is about legal contradictions.

2. Whereas the previous point is trivial, this one is not: It is only fair that the definition of rape have been changed to include other forms of penetration. The definition also changed to the point where a crime against a boy (or man) can be seen as rape too. That was one of the main purposes of the new law, and they seemingly got that one right.

Bad
3. In a previous article, I contrasted laws on rape with provisions in last year’s Child Act. I observed that even consensual intercourse with a 12-year old is rape, yet contraceptives can be given to 12-year olds; with no explicit demand to the contraceptive-giver to make sure what the situation of the child is. They now changed that. By section 15, consensual intercourse with 12-year olds is not rape any more. This way, the contraceptive-giving heath worker is not being indifferent to a most-certainly-raped child any more. She/he is indifferent to a child who is perhaps being raped. [Sarcastic mode on] Ah……, progress! [Sarcastic mode off/]

4. According to sections 15 and 16, teens (under 16) who, with mutual consent, engage in open-mouthed kissing (or anything more explicit), would be guilty of a crime if there is an age difference of more than three years. This means that a 17-year old boy will break the law when kissing a 14-year old girl. We know, nobody is going to actually prosecute them for it. But ridiculous laws cause disrespect for authority. In fact, the “broken windows” theory say that you can significantly reduce serious crime simply by prosecuting each and every crime, even the small ones. By making laws that are next-to-impossible to prosecute, you thus encourage crime.

5. According to section 18, someone who do or say things to a 17-year old with the idea to “diminish or reduce any resistance … to perform a sexual act” is “guilty of the offence of sexual grooming of a child.” That seems much too broad.

Let’s take an example: Joe (19) meets Anne (17). They talk. The next time they meet, they kiss. Later things go further. One thing lead to another, and they have consensual intercourse. You could argue that Anne would not have consented the first day they met. Thus talking to her, kissing her, complimenting her, etc. “diminished Anne’s resistance.” By this definition, Joe is guilty of the offence of “sexual grooming of a child.”

Joe’s pal hear of Joe’s crime, and does things differently: Instead of trying to have a relationship, he goes to a girl and ask her for sex. Oops. By Section 18(2)(b)) , someone who “describes the commission of any act” to a 17-year old with the idea to “diminish or reduce any resistance … to perform a sexual act” is guilty of the same crime as Joe.

6. Joe committed another crime in his relationship: He let Anne see him naked when they did the deed! According to section 22, you may not show your naked body to a consensual 17-year old. So: It is legal to have consensual sex with 16- or 17-year olds, but only in the dark!

Ugly
7. Nowhere in this new law do I find that non-consensual sexual acts (those described with the terms “rape” and “sexual assault”) with a child is regarded in a more serious light than the same acts with an adult. Nothing I can see tells me the prescribed penalty will be any different.

It would seem that nothing in this new law differentiate between for instance

(a) the unwanted fondling of a 28-year-old woman and

(b) similar fondling of a 8-year-old girl.

At first, I even thought that the law do not say anything about under 12’s giving consent to acts they do not understand, but at least that is not true. Although chapter 3 (The “Sexual Offences against Children” chapter) do not mention it, the description under “this act” in chapter 1: “Definitions and objects” mention that children below 12 are not capable of giving consent.

I sincerely hope that this is a case of previous laws already stating this, and those laws still staying the same. However, this sounds unlikely to me: The ages for what used to be called “Statutory rape” changed. (It used to be 13 -15, now it is 12 – 15.) Thus, the age limit on whatever other laws (concerning sexual deeds with younger children) that still exist, cannot stay the same either. If the ages in them do not appear amended in this act, they are probably not part of this country’s law any more.

Conclusion
If that last point is correct, this law is, on balance, very badly written and overall a negative thing by my standards. Please, law-makers, tell me I am wrong about my point 7. I really, really hope I am wrong!

Even if other laws cover the issue in point 6, this “Sexual offences and Related Matters Amendment Act” is not off the hook. The “broken windows principle” mean ridiculous rules like “teen, you may not kiss teens 3 years younger than yourself” or “adult, you may have intercourse with an older teen, but do not seduce him/her and don’t let him/ her see you naked” may be indirectly bad for law and order.

 

 

Abortions to underage girls protects sex criminals, America studies found. What about SA?

This is “16 days of activism for no violence againt woman and children” , right?Right.

We want this nation’s (and all other nation’s) children to be safer, right?

Right.

Sadly, there is a part of SA’s new child act which works against child safety. Let us not start with my opinion, but with an article in a recent Huisgenoot and You:

The article starts with a scene of a 13-year-old girl, who is molested daily by her mother’s boyfriend. At least, the girl thinks, she now got birth control. At least she can’t get pregnant. Then the article goes on to describe that as one of the reasons why new laws hand out birth control even to 12-year-olds (and why even 11-year olds can get an abortion without parental consent).

The story was probably supposed to make me feel that the health worker who gave the birth control pills did a good thing. Instead, it made me angry: How dare anyone hand out birth control pills to a 13-year-old without even trying to finding out if she is molested? That is criminal negligence! You may assume that someone who asks for birth control is sexually active. To have sex with a girl younger than 16 is a crime. Studies in America show that 60%-80% of sexually active girls under 16 have an adult (predator) as a partner. (As far as I know, no similar studies have been conducted here, so I am using the American numbers.) A health worker who encounters an under-16 girl asking for birth control thus has good reason to suspect molestation. The law says that anyone who has reason to suspect molestation must report it.

Therefore, if some clinic reports that it prescribed birth control to 6 girls under 16 in a given week, they should also have documentation showing that they reported 6 cases of possible child molestation to social workers that week. And if an abortion clinic reports 3 girls under 16 appearing for abortions in a given week, they should have a paper trail showing that they reported 3 cases of possible child molestation to authorities that week. Does anybody really think that the clinics do that? (Are there any auditors out there who dislike the state provision of birth control and abortions to kids? Following this paper trail from S.A. clinics may be something you can do about it. With such evidence, clinics might be legally prosecuted for not complying.) Mark Crutcher, the chief of Life Dynamics, found out that in America, the abortion industry “services” provided to underage girls outnumber the “reports” of suspicion of assault on a child by 11-1 – at best. And even then, it was usually not reported by the abortion clinics, but by paediatricians.

Which brings me to the point at the beginning of this article: People who dish out birth control to underage girls, or perform abortions on them, and do not report it to the authorities, help child molesters hide their crime and continue the abuse. Helping child molesters is bad for children. I want to protect children from violence against them.

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There is something else that greatly protects woman and children, which hardly ever gets a mention: The nuclear family! Children who live with both biological parents are, on average, a lot safer than children who have a mother that often has a new sexual partner. The mothers themselves are also safer. Therefore, any promotion of pro-family values is the promotion of safety for woman and children. (You may say: “But you should not judge cohabiting women!” I am not judging them. But I don’t judge people who judge cohabiting mothers- mothers who make life more dangerous for their children- either.)

SA’s new Children’s act worries me

I sent this letter to several South African publications some months ago, for publishing on their letter page. Some published it, some did not. Here it is unchanged:

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New Children’s Act worrying 

Government is implementing a new Child act. One of the provisions in said law is that children, from the age of 12 can get contraceptives without their parent’s knowledge. It is already true that children from 11 can get abortions without parental consent.

According to our government, the new laws are “…. for promoting and monitoring the sound physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional and social development of children;” and to “promote the preservation and strengthening of families.” I don’t see it like that.

In the first place, this country has a law that states that sex with 12-year old girl or younger is rape – whether she gives permission or not. Sex with a girl between 13 and 15 years, you have her permission, is statutory rape.

It is also illegal for a woman to have sex with a boy in that age group. (As far as I know, the age limit for homosexual intercourse is even higher.)

With that, the principle is clearly that children of 12 and 13 cannot take emotional responsibility for their own sexual choices. The regulation that anyone who has reason to suspect an underage child is being molested has to report it, also contradicts this new law. These law makers claim to know that a sexually active child may be a child in need of care. (I’d say all sexually active 12 and 13 year olds need better care.) Yet, this law makes the mere giving out of contraceptives standard practice and the provision of care an afterthought. In fact, it makes it hard for parents to even know their kids need better care!

In the second place we have to remember that many teens get sexually active because they want to be loved. To get contraceptives and even abortions without your parents’ knowledge enlarges the gap between parent and child even further. A child who feel neglected and not understood would search for love somewhere else. And what kind of uhm…, love, do many of these youths find? You know the answer. This kind of government policy will only enlarge the problem of teenage promiscuity.

Tell me: What can we do to get government to change this provision?

 

Retha Faurie