The Amandala Newspaper is once again receiving public backlash from a most recent article published on their October 20, 2013, issue entitled “Bake it Again” by Colin BH that even the Special Envoy for Women and Children has sent out a statement condemning the very disturbing article. Below is the statement signed by Kim Simplis Barrow, Chairperson of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in Belize:
October 22, 2013 - 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.