Categorized | National News


In a response to the government amending the law for marital rape, Intersectional Human Rights advocate and CAFRA Bahamas representative Erin Green says “ all people vulnerable to violence ought to be protected, not only in domestic disputes.”
Attorney General Carl Bethel stated recently that he was pleased to report that he has drafted an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act, which provides for the offense of aggravated spousal sexual abuse.

In a press statement CAFRA Bahamas said , “The Bahamas government is Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) positive. The Bahamas is the first independent Caribbean country to decriminalize buggery in 1991.

“In 1998 the government of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham gazetted a statement denouncing violence and discrimination against LGBTI people in response to protestors attacking LGBTI tourists visiting the country on a cruise.

“In 2007 the government amended the Domestic Violence Act, making it possible for same sex couples and individuals to seek protection from physical, emotional, psychological and financial violence within a household.

“In 2010 the government amended the Sexual Offences Act, which reduced the penalty for same-sex sexual intimacy in public.

“In 2016 the government initiated a constitutional reform exercise that, if it had been successful, would have created constitutional protections from discrimination for gender conforming members of the LGBTI community.

“The Bahamian government is LGBTI positive. At first glance, that doesn’t mean that LGBTI Bahamians actually have full access to police services; it doesn’t mean that LGBTI Bahamians actually have full access to medical and mental health services; that we have access to education services or social services either, and it does not mean that LGBTI Bahamians are able to live lives free of violence.

“In fact, in 2016, the Bahamian government conspired with the church and other social actors in the Gender Equality Referendum to ‘invisibilize’ intersex and gender non-conforming Bahamians by defining biological sex as ‘male or female only’.

“Governments have an inherent obligation to create or to provide the resources for the creation of an environment (country) in which all citizens can live free of violence,” said the statement.

Ms Green says, “What governments should not do is use minority and vulnerable groups as tools for negotiating political power, whether locally or internationally.

“Women, the LGBTI community, the Church and people of faith are not tools and assets to be used to gain political favors,” she said.

The group said, “the government has drafted legislation to address calls from Bahamians to amend the law to recognize rape within the construct marriage. The draft legislation creates an offence called aggravated sexual assault by spouse. But the bill does not respond to the fundamental issue with the existing law.

“It does not acknowledge that Marital Status does not change the nature of the act.

“The bill is drafted in accordance with Judeo-Christian theology and does not acknowledge the fact that not all Bahamians are Christian, or that not all Christians have the same beliefs about the institution or contract of marriage.

“The government has an obligation to acknowledge the full and inherent dignity of all individuals in the Bahamas.

“The government is also obligated to ensure that ALL Bahamians have full access to the rights and protections provided through citizenship, including the right to a life free of violence of any kind. This is the true path to sovereignty,” said the group.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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