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Is it illegal To Kiss In Public In The Dominican Republic?

Kissing in public in the Dominican Republic could bring you problems, this is something that I, as a native of the country was not aware of, but lately I have been investigating about it, since I had come across this question and discovered that kissing in public in the Dominican Republic is illegal and could bring you problems with the law.

I asked a group of friends and some of them confirmed that they have previously had problems with kissing in public parks, someone mentioned to me that this has to do with the law of exhibitionism.

The ofense of exhibitionism is regulated in Article 185 of the Dominican Criminal Code, which states that “whoever executes or causes to be executed another person acts of obscene exhibition before minors or persons with disabilities in need of special protection.

In spite of the investigations that I did, I cannot assure that the prohibition of kissing in public in the Dominican Republic has something to do with the law of exhibitionism, but what I can assure, according to the investigations that I did, is that this practice is illegal in the country.

I’ve analyzed the existence of this system of social control in the Dominican Republic that implicitly prohibits a couple from kissing in public. This system of social control is present in neighbourhood relations, educational centres, work spaces, parks and public spaces.

Recently I have observed the same phenomenon in the Malecón, which is one of the best known and most frequented public areas in the city of Santo Domingo. Some nights I have visited an area where vehicles are parked and several heterosexual couples sit down to share affectively.

In that space I have observed the recurring sight of police officers arriving in motor vehicles. They break into the place and, resorting to actions that totally violate people’s rights, arrest couples who are parked inside their vehicles kissing. The crime, “they were kissing”.

This practice is recurrent. Despite the fact that our society “allows” and “guides” love from physical expressions with caresses, kisses and hugs, it controls and sanctions public expressions of this affection. Thus we have to “kiss” publicly is not allowed, as well as intimate approaches between both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

Cases of public sanctioning of couples who kiss or are “too close” in parks and public places are countless in our country. Couples (heterosexual and homosexual) who have tried to kiss or show affection in parks or public spaces have been arrested or sanctioned by police officers. 

The assumption of this cultural pattern of control of affection in public space turns couples into non-partners and they walk the streets without hugging each other, hiding their affective bonds.

This control of affection is shown in the absence of spaces for couples which in turn has generated the presence of “hidden” “clandestine” “dark” spaces for them. One of the possible causes of the proliferation of the so-called “motels” is related to this system of social control of affect, thus motels, alleys, cinemas and dark places become the only space for this expression.

Source of information: Tahira Vargas Garcia, Hoy.com.do