Red Thread Launches Guide to Sexual Offenses Law

– awareness raising activities pending amendments

Red Thread yesterday launched a Household Guide to Sexual Offenses Law, but is eagerly awaiting amendments to the law to begin an accompanying awareness program.

The launch took place at the organization’s headquarters in Princes Street and Adelaide Street, where Red Thread founder Karen De Souza informed that the book cannot be distributed until changes are made.

Karen De Souza

“We have launched now because our work program demands that it be launched now, even if the law is not fully enforced … It will be distributed once the amendments promised by Parliament are in place. [in place] so that the laws are actually used, ”she said.

The amendments are expected to be tabled after the National Assembly resumes after a recess next month and will include changes to the paper tabling procedure after it was recently ruled unconstitutional.

The development of a two-part education and awareness program, video and manual was undertaken by members of the organization, with funding of US $ 60,000 (US $ 12 million) from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

Compiling the manual proved to be very difficult, De Souza noted, adding that one of the most difficult parts was translating legal jargon into lay language. “Legal language is never written so that the layman can understand it,” she explained. “Sometimes you can see something in the law, your understanding of English says one thing but that doesn’t mean… so it was a big challenge. “

She also noted that the law lists, very carefully, a whole range of offenses repetitively, which has also proved problematic for them. “For example, the conditions detailed in section nine refer you to section five… and you’re constantly back and forth,” she added.

The guide is meant to bring the stigma of sexual assault victims to the fore and it is expected that with every household owning one of the books, people will be more sensitive and informed before they blame and “point out.” finger “.

“This guide and this video [are] was meant to open the discussion and challenge people to question the answers when they hear someone say they’re happy when someone they don’t like is raped, the genre of thing “that-good-fuh-she”, she declared. .

“The law itself requires that public education be done, preventive education be done and that it be gender-neutral,” she also said.

De Souza also recalled a study by the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) which showed that the conviction rate for rape was extremely low and that most cases did not make it to trial anyway. . potential to change this situation. “We want this to be implemented quickly so that the numbers between reported cases and cases actually tried are comparable,” she noted.