Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Hype of The Kiss

Can the media just chill it down a pace or two.

The world is not going to explode in a cloud of CO2 because some cow farted over in China. Or because I left my phone charger in the wall socket during the night.

This time two years ago, Global Warming was the subject of Grade 7 science classes. This time this year the media would have us believe that each of us could single-handedly overheat the earth within a month just by not spending 20 hours of each and every day stressing about how to be eco-friendly.

Be conscious of it, but really, is hysteria not counter-productive. If we want to be in this for the long haul… we have to pace ourselves & be able to handle the topic for several more decades (if we survive that long!!!!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cough.)

The same goes for HIV stories. (Along with all previous obstacles, AIDS workers now also have to deal with “AIDS Fatigue” of the public).

The same goes for kids “grabbing” and “graunching” one another in dark corners of The Zone.

Please. Tell me the facts. Not the hype.

I would like to say congrats to the kids, though, for apparently fighting back against this “unjust law”, as they see it. Kudos to you for being a whole less apathetic than your older brothers & sisters!

The Kissing Law (as portrayed in one calm article):

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.

Section 16 of the Act deals with the issue of statutory sexual assault. One aim of this is the prevention of the sexual grooming and coercion of children by predatory adults and, sometimes, by other teenagers.

NOTE: There is “the allowance for a two-year age gap [between children who might be engaging in petting, feeling up or masturbation] that acknowledges that there is sexual experimentation going on at that age. It does become a problematic power relation though, if, for example, you have a 13 year old and a 19 year old. If the age gap is greater than two years, those people are then guilty of sexual statutory assault” says Dallene Clark, a researcher at the South African Law Reform Commission.

We are not done with this Section though. Talk seems to suggest that groups will be working for government to tidy up this new law. Too much ambiguity, too confusing, too unhealthy in the way it pushes the idea that sexual feelings & behaviour before the age of 16 is “wrong” – while asking how can the state push the idea that kids should just slow their sexual experimenting down a pace? (Is this even the place of the South African state??)

This Act has helped out in other areas though – and media should also recognise this – by finally extending the definition of rape, to not just be a man raping a woman, through vaginal penetration. Rape, in terms of SA law, now also includes male rape and all types of penetration, including forced oral or anal sex.

Also: The legal age of consent for males and females, both heterosexual and homosexual, is now a uniform 16 years old. Bestiality, necrophilia and flashing are now crimes. Children and the handicapped are protected from exposure to and participation in pornography.

AND! Please Note! “Rape survivors now have legal access to healthcare and post-exposure propholactics, and can legally pursue the HIV status of the perpetrator”.

Now I have an office full of energy wastage to deal with. As Eskom seems to ignore my little suburb during its own special way of saving the electricity.


Insane Insomniac said...

Ah, the old global warming hype.
Must say, despite the absolute ridiculousness of the new law as its understood, I'm glad they've made it rape victim friendly.
But this still doesn't make the idea of raping someone any less daunting as the punishment laws haven't been amended.
Call me blood thirsty, but I prefer laws where the bad guys lose limbs or thier lives.

ATW said...

Hi champs, happy new year and all that. trust you had a good one, despite the weather and associated cabin fever.

Maybe I read the act incorrectly but I think that the 2 year age gap on teen kaffufling still doesn't mean that it is not an offence. It merely is a justified defence against the charge. Read para56 (2)

"(2) Whenever an accused person is charged with an offence under—
(b) section 16, it is a valid defence to such a charge to contend that both the accused persons were children and the age difference between them was not more than two years at the time of the alleged commission of the offence.

Ironically though. The controversy has been fantastic in getting hype and publicity for what seems a reasonable piece of legislation.

ATW said...


a fan of Foucault I see. Read this for a fine intro to a book..

Discipline and punishment

As long as you're sure you have the right bad guy then maybe this would be OK? I just feel uneasy endorsing the gore. It might work as social tool though.

Champagne Heathen said...

Insanity - Good point about the punishment of offenders, let alone the policing of such REAL crimes.

ATW - I searched & searched for you. Especially in the xmas eve insanity that was the Spar. But you just weren't jumping out from behind the rolls that day! Bad weather for me just meant an earlier time to crack open a bottle of the good wine!

As for the law - I keep rereading that paragraph, and still don't know. Being legally clueless as I am. But this is exactly why we need calm, rational, intelligent media sources - to explain things as they really are, and not sensationalised.

HAPPY 2008 And all of that!