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What is rape

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, December 04, 2017

A LOT of people in Fiji are unaware that the definition of rape under the Crimes Act has been extended, says Justice Salesi Temo.

Representing the judiciary at a stakeholders workshop on Sex Crimes in Fiji on Saturday, he said this could be one of the reasons for the increase in sex crime cases.

"We might ask the question, why is the statistics going up but the answer to that is multi-dimensional," he said.

"I'd like to touch on the topic that may have resulted in the statistical increase and that is the extension of the definition of rape in the Crimes Decree.

"A lot of people in Fiji still do not realise that the definition of rape has been extended. This is perhaps why some of those coming to courts don't understand what they did was rape. It used to be indecent assault but now it's rape."

He said the former definition was also gender biased.

"Previously under the Repealed Penal Code, the definition of rape was limited to its traditional meaning which is a male having a penile vaginal sex with a female without her consent and he knew she was not consenting at the time.

"It was a gender biased offence in that only males could only be prosecuted for that offence. So it was in fact gender biased against men."

He explained the Crimes Act 2009 was gender neutral.

"Now under the Crimes Act 2009 and with effect from 2010, the definition of rape as an offence has been extended to include offence that was previously indecent assault under the Penal Code which is also now a gender neutral offence. In other words, under the Crimes Act 2009, a male as well as a female can be charged for rape."

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