Anger in Dom Rep over proposal to ease punishment for sex abuse of kids

Lawmakers in the Dominican Republic are considering a proposal to reduce prison time for some domestic violence and sexual abuse crimes, sparking outrage from human rights and women's groups in the Caribbean country.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Congress on Thursday to protest the proposed overhaul of the criminal code. Demonstrators carried cardboard coffins they said were intended to represent the victims of violence in a country that has long struggled with violent crime.

The new criminal code would raise the overall maximum sentence for serious offenses from 30 to 40 years and codifies the crime of kidnapping among its many changes.

But the version already approved by a legislative committee, which has been under consideration for 12 years, would reduce the sentence for sexual abuse of a minor from 5 years to 3 years in most cases. It would also reduce the penalty for some forms of domestic violence, treating it as a serious offense only when there is death or major injury. The new code would also provide for jail terms in cases of defamation.

Advocates for women's rights have also complained that abortion would still be a criminal offense in all cases, even when the mother's life is in danger. Lorena Espinoza, who attended the rally as a member of the Women's Health Collective, said the new proposal would also eliminate a maximum penalty in cases of incest.

"These sentences and omissions amount to a step backward for women and are unacceptable," Espinoza said.

Demostenes Martinez, chairman of the Justice Committee in the lower house of Congress, has said that the changes are the result of 12 years of debate with input from various sectors of Dominican society.

Both houses of Congress must still vote on the new criminal code and it must be signed by President Danilo Medina before it takes effect.



These TOP DOMINICANS are filling the rest of the world with hot air and BS about their country:


ALEJANDROGONZLEZPONS.COM - Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels

- Ambassador, Permanent Representative to United Nations in New York

- Ambassador, Permanent Representative to United Nations in Geneva

MARIOARVELOCAAMAO.COM - Ambassador, Permanent Representative to United Nations in Rome

VIRGILIOALCANTARA.COM - Ambassador, Permanent Representative to Organization of American States in Washington D.C.

Amnesty International: DR Parliament must decriminalize abortion


Danilo Medina, show us you are a civilized creature, change that stupid law! - Article 90 of the Penal Code envisages criminal penalties for women who seek an abortion and for those who provide it or help provide it – regardless of the circumstances, including if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest or if the life of the women is endangered by carrying on with the pregnancy.....


Dominican women in US challenge 'machismo' culture - In the US, women immigrants from the Dominican Republic are living dramatically different lives to the ones they left behind, according to researchers.

In the Dominican Republic domestic violence rates are high, women are less educated and more likely to be out of work, they found. Those who do have jobs earn much less than men.

Women in the Dominican diaspora in the US, though, enjoy much better economic conditions. There has been a major shift in attitudes too, with the traditional machismo culture also being challenged by women who often moved to the US ahead of their families.

"We were raised to be quiet and let the man talk first," says Idelsa Mendez, who moved to the US at the age of 18 before her family followed later. "I don't do that anymore. And they don't like it."

The BBC spoke to two Dominican women in New York as well as the professors behind a 20-year study into the immigrant experiences of different generations.

Go back | Date: 09 Dec 2012
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