Human and Gender Rights advocate, Felicia Browne, is calling for women to take a leading role to ensure that sexual assaults against women, and in particular gang-rape, carry similar penalties to capital offences such as murder.
“ Sexual assault against women has for far too long been seen as a minor offence in which the victim is typically blamed for having been violently and involuntarily sexually assault,” Browne, who is the President of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute, CMI, declared in a statement to the Times.
But while advocating for stricter laws to be implemented, she does not believe that additional laws will automatically provide victims with the degree of protection that is needed.
According to Browne, rape of a woman or a male is often a life sentence for the victim.
“Each victim has to live with the psychological impact of the traumatic event for the rest of her or his life, many without the benefit of any psychological treatment or counseling,” she asserted.
Browne noted that in some cases, the assault may be so violent that the victim dies as a result of injuries inflicted by the perpetrator, by suicide due to resulting shame or abandonment by their family or their community and in some countries by stoning or hanging under laws that that sentence any victim of rape to death.
“ It is critical that women and girls take the lead now to demand stricter penalties for sexual assault including psychiatric evaluations for perpetrators who may suffer from developmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as traumatic brain injuries causing sexually aggressive and predatory behaviors,” she said.
Browne also stated that predators, who cannot be effectively treated for their conditions such that their criminal behaviors are eliminated or successfully controlled, should be mandated to serve a sentence of life imprisonment.
Her full statement is carried in the Times Opinion section.