Response to Article in the Amandala Newspaper of October 20, 2013 written by Colin BH Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
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Friday, 25 October 2013 00:00

Response from Mr. Kim Simpliss-Barrow

October 22, 2013

Statement by Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow on Amandala Article
I wish to express very grave concern about an article published in the Amandala newspaper of October 20, 2013 entitled “Bake it Again” by Colin BH. The article expresses views on the proposed provisions of the Criminal Code Amendment (No.2) Bill. Although the entire article leaves much to be desired, the section quoted below is among the most appalling of the opinions expressed:
“the rape of a male by a male is more heinous than the rape of a female by a male. Consider that (1) the female might one day fall in love with the male; (2), the female provoked the immature/crazy male to commit this act; (3), it is a natural act; (4), the female might be entirely whorish, so the act is of little consequence.”
The piece goes on to explain how there can be “benefits” from the rape of women, but not from the rape of men; the point being that these crimes should carry different penalties. Although I fully respect the right to freedom of speech and while The Government of Belize, as well as my Office, has demonstrated an openness to recommendations for improving the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, the views expressed in this article absolutely cannot be condoned.
The statements made in this article advance a culture of rape and sexual violence against women and girls. It seeks to blame the victim while providing excuses for the perpetrator. The fact is that rape is not about sex, but about power and control. Rape is rape; it is NEVER excusable and it certainly NEVER is the victim’s fault! The media has a critically important role to play in transmitting this message and in helping to prevent this type of violence and create a protective and supportive environment for rape survivors. It is disappointing that the Amandala has chosen to do otherwise.
The statements made by Colin BH are an affront to all women and girls and completely trivializes the trauma that survivors of sexual violence are forced to endure.
It is my sincerest hope that the Belizean public in general and Belizean women in particular will stand with me in condemning this very disturbing article.

Response from Women’s Issues Network

October 21, 2013

Women’s Issues Network condemns Colin bh
The Women’s Issues Network of Belize (WIN-Belize) condemns The Amandala newspaper for printing the comments made in Colin bh’s corner on page 10 of the Sunday October 20, 2013 edition. As a result, we would like The Amandala newspaper and Colin bh to apologize to the women and children of Belize.
The tasteless and nonsensical comments published in The Amandala were written without consideration for the emotional harm such comments would cause victims and families. As is customary in the Belizean society, the comments portray the image of women as objects of shame, or as sexual objects. Women are still seen as something that exists primarily for men’s gratification. The resulting impact of these portrayals is all too often violence against women.
It is obvious that the writer has not worked with children who have been molested, be it boy or girl, and the impact this has had on their lives. It is against the law for any parent to give up a 12-year old child for he or she can be charged for human trafficking. Moreover, to rape a child in any form has long lasting implications; therefore, to say that rape of a female by a male is not as heinous as the rape of a male by a male is beyond comprehension for rape is forced penetration and the trauma associated with such an experience is the same for both male and female. Furthermore, to make comments such as (1) the female might one day fall in love with the male; (2) the female provoked the immature/crazy male to commit this act; (3) It is a natural act; and (4) the female might be entirely whorish, so the act is of little consequence is unbecoming, for women should not be portrayed as sex objects.
The Women’s Issues Network of Belize is appalled by such statements and is calling on all civil society organizations, the business community and the general public to support us in this call to condemn such statements and to demand an apology. The media plays an important role in shaping the public perception of women and their role in society and can transform negative stereotypes or promote the status quo. The Amandala newspaper has chosen to do the latter. WIN-Belize also calls on every media house in Belize to publicly show women in a fair and just light and to do their part to promote the empowerment of women.
“News has no sex, but the treatment of the information has gender“ – Patricia Anzale

Response from National Committee for Families and Children

October 23, 2013

Clearly we need a Paradigm Shift…
Belize was one of the first countries to sign the UN conventions on the Rights of the Child which is the most widely ratified convention in the world.  This is testament to our country’s recognition of the importance of caring for our children and nurturing them to be responsible and productive citizens. This commitment obligated our Government to enact laws and policies that create the enabling environment for children to flourish.

One of the obligations to our children is to protect them from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and neglect. Currently the Government is seeking to amend the laws to provide more robust protection for children and to close the gaps in the child protection system that have allowed violence against children to go unpunished and to be widespread.

As a part of its mandate the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) is also equally concerned with addressing the cultural beliefs and practices that enable the violations of children to continue. This is of grave importance as children reside in families and communities where these value systems govern the child’s life experiences. This is where a paradigm shift has to occur and it has to be our collective understanding that any abuse to any child (male or female) elicit a zero-tolerance response from the guardians of our children and the national child protection system. Complimenting the laws that are enacted the participation of the wider society will ensure that children truly realize their protection rights.

For these reasons the recent commentary in the Amandala Newspaper of October 20th, 2013, written by Collin Hyde is extremely troubling to the NCFC. It is an example of the challenges the social sector encounters when attempting to change attitudes that allow children to remain vulnerable to violations of their person. We take notice of the article as the comments perpetuate gender discriminations about the status of women and men (and therefore girls and boys) in society and their accompanying value. These comments perpetuate stigma about rape and the trauma that it brings to its victims. These comments remove the culpability from perpetrators and downplay the gravity of sexual violations against children. Perhaps most disturbing is that the comments about “fair deterrent” suggest that there is a perceived hierarchy that can be placed on the sanctity and innocence of our children.

These comments contradict the very principle of human and children rights which calls for non-discrimination and equity in the protection of the rights of children and establishes that these rights are inalienable, indivisible and universal to all. Most importantly it undermines the fight to end violence against children. If we are to live up to our commitments to children the participation of communities and families is pivotal. We urge those who hold positions and platforms that can be used to educate and inform to make a personal commitment to being informed and using their influence in positive ways.

We urge the media to participate in the ongoing dialogue about protecting our children in a more substantive manner by using the responsibility they have to share information, to question and to investigate and to even constructively call to task the many players in the child protection sector. Be a voice on behalf of children and help create awareness of the issues that impact on our children’s lives.

The NCFC also takes this opportunity to appeal to families to support the amendments to the Criminal Code and to commit to creating spaces where children can know they are nurtured and protected. It’s our collective responsibility to make Belize worthy of its children.

Response from National’s Women’s Commission

October 22, 2013

NWC denounces insensitive comments in Amandala Newspaper

The National Women’s Commission strongly condemns Colin Hyde’s article  appearing  on page 10 in this week’s edition of the Amandala Newspaper under the caption: Bake it Again.
Hyde wrote quote “the rape of a male by a male is more heinous than the rape of a female by a male”. The NWC reminds the writer who is obviously insensitive that a rape, is a rape,…is a rape… and should be treated as such. Therefore, such a serious crime of violence, that is rooted in power and control  must carry the same penalties regardless if the victim is a girl or a boy. Simply put, this is about equal protection before the law and is part of the proposed Amendments to the Criminal Code which is before the House of Representatives and seek to strengthen the laws as it relates to sexual offences against our children.
For Hyde to ask the reader to consider that quote: 
 (1)”the female might one day fall in love with the male
(2) the female provoked the immature/crazy male to commit this act
(3)  it is a natural act and
(4) the female might be entirely whorish so the act is of little consequence, is an abomination, to say the least”. 
He went on to scandalously say quote, “sexual impropriety of a natural order does not always have a bad ending. We don’t like to think on it but out of Bathsheba’s seduction and Uriah’s murder we got Solomon… “

We live in a society where sadly, several men see absolutely nothing wrong to abuse and violate women and girls. What is even worst is that these same men shamelessly speak about rape as being part of our culture.
The National Women’s Commission which promotes Gender Equality, Equity and Women’s Advancement will not stand idly by while a group of men try to degrade or abuse our women and girls.