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Renewed Focus On Marital Rape

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Following a United Nation representative’s comments on a proposed marital rape law last week,  two cabinet ministers have shared their views on the matter.

The UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women Dubravaka Simonovic placed renewed focus on the issue as she pointed to the country’s failure to criminalize marital rape.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest and Social Services Minister Lanisha Rolle are gave their views yesterday on the issue.

“My personal belief is that no man has the right to force himself on any woman, married or not,” Turnquest said.

“We do not support any form of violence towards women. That is the stance the country has taken and I am of that belief. In relation to marital rape, I’ve always said that it is an issue that is private and it can become public, but we want to start where marriage is sacred and marriage is private,” Rolle said.

The Social Services Minister added that the issue demands a conversation with the wider community in order to get a consensus.

She added that legislation that manages people’s lives must be agreed upon by the wider community.

“If we’re going to legislate something like that, we must have the wide support of the community because we want to protect the privacy of individuals and of marriages,” Rolle said.

She added that the issue is not gender specific, as it’s not just rape against women, but men as well.

“A lot of people don’t know that and many times when men go and report that, they are laughed at and we have to look at this from a wider perspective. We can’t look one sided,” Rolle said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he’s open to having a conversation on changing the legislation.

“It’s something we need to look at.  There is this argument from some churches with respect to this right, but I don’t share this view. I think that each of us has a right to decide for ourselves and to protect ourselves and to the extent that someone forces themselves on someone, there should be consequences,” Turnquest said.

  In 2009, the Ingraham administration sought to criminalize all forms of marital rape.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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