By JADE RUSSELL
WOMEN’s rights activists accused the federal government of “rubbing their ft” in marital rape legislation, arguing that the Davis administration lingered within the ongoing consultations.
These feedback got here after Social Providers Minister Obie Wilchcombe mentioned on Wednesday that officers hoped consultations on the proposed marital rape legislation can be accomplished inside the subsequent few weeks.
When contacted for remark, Alicia Wallace, director of Equality Bahamas, mentioned girls’s rights weren’t a precedence on the federal government’s agenda.
“By shuffling and discovering excuses to stall, a transparent message is distributed to everybody within the Bahamas that the federal government cares extra concerning the points and folks it flatters than the correct of ladies to be shielded from violence. mentioned Mrs. Wallace.
Mr Wilchcombe additionally informed reporters that the continued session contains conferences with church leaders.
“We’re nonetheless ready,” he mentioned. “We’re not (but) completed. We are going to act with the president of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary Schooling Congress. He is requested to fulfill with us to debate a number of points, and we await that date with members of his church and management.
“We hope this will probably be achieved very quickly as a result of we plan to carry a nationwide girls’s congress in March to coincide with Worldwide Ladies’s Day,” she mentioned.
However Wallace mentioned it was “absurd” for the federal government to attend for a date to fulfill with one other spiritual group when a symposium was held final September with numerous spiritual leaders.
Ms. Wallace continued: “The federal government shouldn’t deal with this concern as debatable. It’s a truth that girls are raped and typically the rapist is thought to the sufferer or survivor. It’s a incontrovertible fact that sexual violence is a human rights violation and the federal government has an obligation to make sure that human rights are protected.
“The criminalization of marital rape is critical to supply married girls with equal safety earlier than the legislation and to affirm their character and bodily autonomy. There’s nothing any group can say to not do it proper.”
Ms Wallace mentioned successive administrations acted shortly on different points whereas ignoring weak individuals.
The Bahamas will go to the UN in a number of months for the Common Periodic Assessment. The federal government must cross the invoice or clarify why it failed to take action 4 years after the suggestions made within the final evaluate in CEDAW in addition to the UPR,” he mentioned.
Prodesta Moore, president and founding father of Ladies United, informed The Tribune that the federal government ought to seek the advice of girls’s organizations moderately than simply the church on marital rape.
“I imagine the federal government ought to take this slightly extra severely and make this a precedence. Not solely have they consulted extra with the church, the Baptist church, to not point out they’ve been with different church buildings as properly.
“Properly, if that is so essential to church buildings and different teams, why do you allow them to offer you a date?” mentioned Mrs. Moore.
Ms Moore mentioned the authorities have the ability to criminalize marital rape, including that the federal government also can assist finance girls’s organizations.
“Proper now, this can be a problem for all of us, I do know for my group as somebody struggling financially. However we will go there and do some fundraising, and we’ll attempt to discover methods to remain related and keep one step forward of those payments and get them accepted.”
Final yr, the federal government printed the proposed Sexual Offenses (Modification) Act.
The invoice will repeal Part 3 of the prevailing legislation that defines rape, add a brand new definition of rape that acknowledges motion inside marriage, and amend Part 2 to redefine what consent and indecent assault are.
The invoice redefines rape as “the act of an individual youthful than fourteen years of age having sexual activity with one other individual with out that individual’s consent, by performing recklessly as as to whether that individual is aware of that individual has not consented or has consented”. ”
The invoice provides a brand new part titled ‘3a’, which offers with the difficulty of consent, which it defines as “an individual’s energetic participation in brazenly and freely given sexual activity or indecent assault, by overt actions or phrases expressing one’s consent.” having the capability or authorized capability to present consent”.
The draft invoice was met with blended reactions from spiritual leaders at a symposium organized by the Ministry of Social Providers final yr, and one pastor described it as “the worst and most evil invoice” within the nation’s historical past.