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Kissing Is a Crime for South African Teens | News | BET.com

Kissing Is a Crime for South African Teens | News | BET.com

Published January 11, 2008

Posted Jan. 11, 2008 – South African’s Sexual Offences Act, (a law designed to protect children from sexual abuse) would make kissing and fondling among teens (12 to 15) against the law, even if it is consensual. 

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The language in the legislation, signed last month, specifically says that “direct or indirect contact…between the mouth of one person…and the mouth of another person” is labeled “sexual violation” between minors, reports the BBC.

“I think it’s stupid because we should be responsible enough to hold girls’ hands without raping them or abusing them sexually,” South African 13-year-old Luke Singleton told the BBC. His grandfather, Fred Montague, agreed, saying, “In this country we are trying to get 16-year-olds to vote yet they can’t kiss and hold hands.”

And even police authorities are questioning the logic behind that clause in the legislation.

“Can you really see the cops charging in on a party and breaking up two kids huddling in a corner having a kiss,” Kenneth Verwey, superintendent of the Durban Metro Police told the BBC. He also speculated that the clause may have been added to slow the spread of HIV between young people.

Among other things, the act expands the definition of rape, allowing men and boys to allege rape for the first time. But the law still requires young people to testify in court in front of their alleged abusers, reports the BBC, an oversight that some rights groups claim should be more of a focus than this clause.

Written by BET-Staff

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