EDITORIAL: Wait for marital rape legislation goes on

THE long, slow progress toward legislation on marital rape seems to be continuing.

In November, Social Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe set his sights on a three-day women’s conference in March as a landmark with regard to the legislation – but only to further discuss that which has already been discussed.

Yesterday, he reiterated that goal, but was there perhaps something a bit more concrete than mere discussion?

He said that the government was still waiting and had not completed consultation yet. He said: “We are to move with the president of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary Educational Convention. He wanted to be with us to discuss a few matters and with members of his church and leadership, we’re waiting for that date.

“We’re hoping to have it done very shortly because in March we intend to have a national women’s convention that will coincide with International Women’s Day. So we want to have some of the things completed by then.”

Over recent months, a number of voices have spoken out on the issue.

Bishop Laish Boyd supported legislation, calling it a “simple and no-brainer” step in pursuit of justice and basic human rights for all.

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson said she believes there is now the political will to actually make changes to sexual offences legislation.

She is the chairwoman of the board of trustees at the University of The Bahamas – and the university produced a study that showed that one in 12 married women had been raped by their husbands. Mrs Maynard Gibson said that study showed just the “tip of the iceberg”.

The wife of the Prime Minister also joined in calls for marital rape to be outlawed. Ann Marie Davis said: “Imagine, we are still living in a society where no does not mean no. How could that be? I tell you no and you think I mean yes. No, sir. Of course I’m talking about marital rape, right. No means no.”

The bill has been circulated for consultation since October – but the discussion has been going on for a lot longer than that.

Still, with so many voices speaking up on the issue already, the government waits for an appointment with the president of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary Educational Convention.

Will that yield actual legislation by the March date that Mr Wilchcombe has targeted? Or will we just go on and on with more talk?

Last year ticked by without the law changing to make women any safer. How much of this year will pass before the political will that Mrs Maynard Gibson speaks of is found?

In today’s Front Porch column, our columnist chooses the person of the year for 2022 – but that choice is not one person, but all the activists who have fought for women’s rights down the years.

That journey is not yet done. Indeed, even passing this legislation will not complete that journey – but it will be one more step along the way, and one which will offer women protection that they are not presently afforded.

How much longer must we wait?


John 2 months, 2 weeks ago

So this lady on a talk show says she was married 30 years. So a caller asks if her husband ever tried to force himself on her during their 30 year marriage. She says ‘NO.’ So the caller asks ‘ ‘Do you know anyone personally who has been raped by their spouse. Again the answer is ‘NO’. Then the justification comes’. But we know it is happening. Husbands ( not spouses) are raping their wives and ‘one spousal rape is one too many.’


birdiestrachan 2 months, 1 week ago

The marriage is over when it comes to marital rape It will be a you say I say matter the courts have to many on bail , may be the woman can record the event and turn it over to the courts


carltonr61 2 months, 1 week ago

I have listened to older women married over 35 years living married life. They never considered a situation rape in marriage and are ignoring the noise in the market. Just kind of confusing to not be able to lust after your wife and cherish her body in mutual bliss.


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