THERE is a need for parents in our communities to bring to the table educational conversations on the morality of refraining from immoral sexual acts, attitudes, and behaviours by teenagers, a Honiara Magistrate says.
Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga made this benchmark remarks on Tuesday when imposing sentences for three young teenagers who had sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
“This case speaks volume of the need for parents in our communities to break the silence or cultural taboos and bring to the table educational conversations with children in their teens about the need to refrain from immoral or sexual acts when approached by the opposite sex or sexual perpetrators,” Mr. Aulanga said.
He said it is not only proven scientifically that sexual acts can distort or disrupt the development of the child, it is a crime under the Penal Code (Amendment) (Sexual Offences) Act 2016.
“In order to better protect our children from any forms of sexual abuse in our communities, they should have the voice to say ‘no’ to any sexual invitation and be able to make an informed decision to guard themselves when the occasion arises.
“However, that cannot occur if they do not have the confidence to say so,” Aulanga added.
He said, therefore, it is prudent for today’s parents to recalibrate and not to shrink away from their parental duties, but to be vigilant in educating or empowering their children about the need to say ‘no’ to any sexual invitations at a tender age.
“Sexual activity is reserved for adults or is regarded as an adult domain within social structures such as marriage for example.
“Hence, it is taboo or forbidden for children to involve in that activity to put it in that neutral term,” he said.
Aulanga said regardless of the child’s wishes, a person participates in a criminal act if it is carried out with a child since this amounts to a failure to respect the compulsory zone of ‘non-interference’ the law has drawn around the child as defined unilaterally by the child’s biological age.
“Viewed in this context, even though in this case the parties had consented with each other, sexual intercourse with the child herein will always be damaging to her physical and psychological development.
“It is simply abusive.
“Therefore, it is only right that the law must prohibit such immoral activity when involving a child,” he said.
The three young offenders aged 13, 14 and 16 and the young girl all went together to an empty rest house at a village in Central Province and entered one of the rooms through the roof.
When they were all inside the room, each took a turn to have sex with her.
This incident happened during the day on 20 December 2018.
Aulanga suspended the one-year jail term he imposed on them for a period of one year.
That is on condition that they remain on good behaviour for the operational period.
If any of them breaches the condition he will be called upon to serve the jail term in full.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN