Anesia Baptiste, head of the Democratic Republican Party. (IWN photo)

Head of the Democratic Republic Party (DRP), Anesia Baptiste, wants the age from which females can consent to sex to be increased from 15 to 18 and says her party will do so if elected to office.

Speaking to a small audience at a public meeting in Arnos Vale on Thursday, Baptiste, a former senator for the main Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), said she was shocked recently when she learnt of the level of gender-based violence against young women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

She noted that Vincentians are considered adults when they reach 18, but added statistic from police shows that between June 2012 and June 2014, SVG had a large percentage of women who were victims of gender-based violence, about half of them younger than 15.

“What do we have with so many 15-year-olds being in relationships with men 20-something up to 44 years old, getting beaten up? What do we have with that in this country?”

She noted that the Marriage Act says that a female can marry at 15, with the permission of her parents.

“It means that she could have sex, legally. At 15!” Baptiste said, adding that the Criminal Code also says an individual is guilty of an offence only if they have sex with a girl under the age of 15.

“And there is another offence if you have sex with a girl under 13. But the point is that the offence is created only if you have sex with a girl under 15 shows that 15 is the legal age of consent. And I am saying that is too low.”

Baptiste said that if a girl can have sex at 15, she can have sex with whomever and a man can say she is of age and the girl can rebel against her parents.

“So the values in the minds of the individuals, both the young girl and the older man, are so affected and they get involved in relationship and if she is having sex legally with the man and she do something he don’t like, he might feel he could hit her and she becomes a statistic of gender-based violence at 15.

“The same 15-year-old in your house who in Form 3 or 4, who you buying books for, who can’t work nowhere. 15!” Baptiste said.

She said that notwithstanding the statistics, the Unity Labour Party government, which came to office in March 2001, has not done anything about it.

“You have a Minister of Education [Girlyn Miguel], a woman like myself, she never thought to say, ‘Prime Minister, we have to change the age of consent.’ You have an opposition, I never heard them advocate until recently, somebody told me Mr. [Arnhim] Eustace was on the radio talking about it,” Baptiste said.

She said the NDP did not mention the age of consent in their “Conversation with Women” town hall meeting in Kingstown earlier this year.

Baptiste pointed out that Nailah John, head of the non-governmental organisation Leave Out Violence In S.V.G, asked Eustace at his town hall meeting in New York earlier this year about changing the age of consent and he said he will look into it and research.

“What is there t research? A 15-year-old is a child. She is a child. When you start having sex you could get pregnant. A 15-year-old could deal with pregnancy? You could open yourself to STD and AIDS. A 15-year-old could deal with that? There is nothing to be researched and studied about it,” Baptiste said.

“If you really had the interest of young girls at heart, if you had nothing to feel compromised about, you would certainly say affirmatively, ‘Yes, ‘Miss John, we are going to raise the age of consent to sex from 15 to 18,’” Baptiste said.

She noted that Trinidad and Tobago recently raised the age of consent to 18, adding that she has been talking about the issue, and called for it in March at a multi-stakeholder workshop in SVG.

5 replies on “Politician wants consent age for sex increased to 18”

  1. Anesia, I have interviewed a lot of men who revealed to me that their initiation into sex began at the age of 10 or less at the hands of a girl 11-13 years of age. Much of this took place either in a toilet at school or at the the home of one of the partners while no one was at home. I assume, based on research in first world countries, that the girl chose a young boy for fear of getting pregnant from an older boy or man.

    I also have much anecdotal evidence of zammie relations among girls under the age of 16.

    You seem to be quite naive about sexuality among our young girls, many of whom begn to menstruate by the age of 10 and are full of “nature” at an even earlier ago.

    Rape is one thing and should be severely punished; consensual sexual congress between young people of the same age is another thing again.

    1. I can’t agree more C Ben. Humans have sex. You can’t get away from that. Raising the age will not stop sex among teens and tweens. What the focus should really be on is to make the country an unsafe place for rapists and paedophiles, including those nasty so called fathers who molest their kids. How serious are the police and the various institutions about tackling this menace? That is the real question. Too many predators in this country.

  2. I HEAR YOU ANESIA!!!…THE POLITICIANS DON’T WANT TO TOUCH THE SUBJECT BECAUSE THEY ALSO THROWIN ROD ON THE FIFTEEN YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRLS.

    Anesia please, if you going to form a party, you really need some credible and talented folks behind you. This fringe party thing not working for someone with the caliber of yourself, you need to get back into the thick of things and represent the people. Maybe go strictly Independent and then go with the party in power…do something other than what you doing presently;or otherwise you just come like Ivan O’Neal, a one man party going nowhere and a laughing stock every election cycle.

    It would be a crying shame if Vincyland were to lose your talents because you can’t see the tress from the forest. I respect people religious beliefs to a point…when you start to go off the religious deep end then you are in Taliban territory and thats no good for anyone.

    Ms Baptiste, in total agreement with you on this issue. Keep licking fire on the NDP and ULP, maybe some of your ideas would be adopted and implemented…

    THE LIONESS OF VINCYLAND, HEAR SHE ROAR.

  3. This is among the best comments I have heard or read during this election campaign. Anesia is definitely on point. From as far back as I can remember, underage sex has been something quietly frown upon but accepted. By 15, school school girls were already in relationships with van drivers and older men with their parents knowledge and sometimes blessings. It’s time something is done about this.
    I also agree with TeacherFang’s comments in its entirety. Anesia is one of the brightest minds in SVG politics. Unfortunately she’s a big ocean fish living in a fish bowl. Until she could find herself and surround herself with a good team, she will be the voice crying in the wilderness. Or an embarrassingly small crowd at Arnos Vale.
    TeacherFang, your just might have a valid point there with the reason why the government stands pat on this issue. Some are ‘throwing rod too’. I like your suggestion that Anesia go independent then join the party in power. I think that’s probably one of her best options if she wants to make it out of obscurity.

  4. I have always thought 15 was too young. It should have changed with the times and should be at the age when most children have finished their CXEs. Children are too young at 15 to fully appreciate the consequences of their actions and how it could impact on their future. Further while there are in school they vulnerable to the manipulation of van drivers, teachers and other adults.

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