Understanding the Law
October 12, 2007

Sexual predators

I have written on sexual offences before, but the recent ranking of countries according to the rate of sexual offences has prompted me to revisit the subject. The reality is that we are in the top ten, according to a United Nations/ World Bank report for sexual offences. This is a high rank for a country of one hundred and ten thousand (110000) persons and one hundred and fifty square miles.{{more}}

Brutal rape

Even more alarming is the recent news that one more woman suffered a brutal attack at the hands of a repeat sex offender. The matter came up in the assizes during the last week in September 2007 before Justice Frederick Bruce Lyle, but the incident occurred on October 31st, 2006, at New Montrose, not far from capital Kingstown. It must have been an excruciating experience for the teenager who had to recount her horrific ordeal again, almost one year after the incident. Suffice it to say, the culprit showed no remorse, and when he was led away, his obscene gesture was captured on camera.

Women’s rights

Women must be able to live and walk the streets unmolested. However, in the meantime, we have to take action for our own protection and safety. From all accounts, men appear to use lonely roads for their dastardly acts. It goes without saying that women will have to avoid lonely roads. If you have to use such roads, you need to wait for company, as there is safety in numbers. Quicken your pace or run to out distance your would-be attacker. Remember, you could be scarred both mentally and physically for life with a rape experience.


Rape on the statute book carries a penalty of life imprisonment, but with the mitigation that is provided by the law, most rapists without a criminal record could be given a lighter sentence. Bobby Joseph showed no compassion for the teenage girl he raped. He had raped another girl in the year 2000 and was sentenced to five years in prison. Communities should know the sex offenders who are in their midst.

Young girls’ horror

Sometime ago, we heard about Jessica Lunsford, a nine year old girl, who was kidnapped, raped and killed by John Couey in Florida. He was brought to justice, and was found guilty and given the death sentence.

We also saw the “Dateline” programme on NBC “To Catch a Predator” conducted by Chris Hansen in a hidden camera operation sting. This was set up to catch those men who were soliciting minors on the internet. Many of them made appointments to meet a woman posing as a thirteen-year-old girl at an undercover house for sex. In one instance, as many as 38 men made appointments in a three day period. These and other undercover stings are showing that there are many perverts, seemingly ordinary citizens, who can wreak havoc on especially young girls. Last week in SVG, two men were found guilty of incest and unlawful sexual intercourse with their daughters

It is difficult to know before they strike those who have the tendency to perpetrate violence against women in our society. However, when they strike, they should not be allowed to repeat their act. If they are to go back to our communities after they have served their sentences, the communities must know about these felons.

I always feel that prevention is better than cure. We need to look at the home and parenting. Parents must teach their sons at an early age to respect women and not to perpetrate violence against them. Schools should also inculcate the same morals in our young men. Women are our sisters, daughters and mothers. Respect women today!

• Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com