Red Thread, a children and women’s rights organisation, on Tuesday expressed disappointment at a recent High Court ruling that paves the way for a pregnant 15 year old girl to marry her 38 year old man who has been accused of raping her.
“I think we are in a terrible bind and I think that the judgment puts us in a real bind with the predators,” Red Thread’s Karen De Souza told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).
The organisation’s top officials were up to Tuesday evening researching whether there were any loopholes in the Sexual Offences Act and the Marriage Act. De Souza has already signalled that her organisation would certainly lobby for those to be sealed.
Talks are also due to be held with the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) to ascertain how best to address this development.
Preliminarily, the Red Thread official opined that the rape case against Karim Majeed should go head instead of being dropped although the Chief Justice, Ian Chang’s judgement might have been within the law. “Even if a man commits statutory rape, marriage does not absolve him from the initial offence,” she said.
The Red Thread official lamented the dearth of psychologists who should have been on hand to provide counselling to the girl in the first instance.
The privately-owned Kaieteur News newspaper on Tuesday reported that the four months pregnant girl had petitioned the High Court on September 23 to legalise the union.
Initial efforts by her family to have her return permanently to her Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo home were unsuccessful as they girl had escaped. Now, her parents have consented for the girl and the man to be married.
The girl had threatened to commit suicide if she had been separated from the man who is more than twice her age.
The age of consent was increased from 13 to 16 in 2005.