Amendments to sexual offences bill still open-ended

2015-02-11 20:15

The article lowering the age of sexual consent to 12, has reference. (women24,The-case-for-lowering-the-age-of-consent-to-12).

While the aim of the amendments to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 is to decriminalise consensual sexual behaviour like kissing between children aged 12 and 16 years old and does not amount to legalising teenage sex, it’s still open ended. The amendments should have been given more thought and clear directives should have been clearly elucidated.

Proponents of the modifications argue that the amendments are consistent with the constitution and if we want children to make sound decisions around sexuality, it cannot be done by criminalising it. The main objective of the amendments is to protect consensual children from blackmail, exploitation, humiliation, violation by adults and other harms.

Whatever the reasons for making these amendments, I still find it incredulous, erroneous and a cause for great concern. When there is ambiguous and open ended legislation, it can lead to all kinds of social decadence and problems.

Our country already has serious issues with chronic teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, Aids and other social ills, therefore it is irresponsible to legalise activities that will further exacerbate it.

The onus is now on parents, educational institutions and religious leaders to see that the amendments are not interpreted as “do as you please”.

We all have a greater responsibility to teach our children to make wise, moral choices about sexual purity, respect thereof and to reserve sexual intimacy for after marriage.

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