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Rolle Rape Stand Sparks Backlash

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle. (File photo)

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle. (File photo)

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

SOCIAL Services Minister Lanisha Rolle is not upholding the mandate of a ministry that has long been the government’s gateway to pushing women’s issues, two prominent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) women said yesterday after her controversial comments on marital rape. 

Describing marital rape as a “private issue” was seen as a step too far, going well beyond merely calling for consensus before introducing a bill that could criminalise the act.

When contacted, Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin said: “I am shocked by what she said. As someone with responsibility for women’s issues she was not upholding her responsibility. She was derelict in that regard. Her view flies in the face of what is accepted globally and in our own country. Just because you marry someone they are not able to assault you.

“Marriage is a cooperative undertaking. We accept to a contract by saying ‘I do’ and that kind of consensual attitude continues throughout the marriage.”

Mrs Hanna Martin added: “Rape always happens in private. I cannot off-hand think of a case where rape happened in the public eyes. Sometimes you know the person who rapes you, sometimes you don’t, but that’s not the point. Having regard to her special responsibility and what I hope is her special knowledge of the dilemma of women, I think that she would have to find a place for her personal view to not obstruct or interfere with what are accepted norms in terms of human rights for women.”

In an interview with reporters ahead of Cabinet’s meeting on Tuesday, Mrs Rolle said the country does not condone violence against women, adding: “In relation to marital rape, I’ve always said it is an issue that is private.”

Her response contrasted with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest who earlier had said he was open to legislation that would protect a woman’s fundamental right to her body, even in the context of marriage.

Former Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin said Mrs Rolle’s comments “were amazing” because she is in charge of women’s affairs in government.

She noted there is a women advisory council in her ministry and the ministry works closely with the Bahamas Crisis Centre whose deputy director has called marital rape a problem that affects women who call the centre’s hotline. Mrs Griffin also said the ministry plays a key role helping the country implement international conventions on women, including the United Nations Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), for which this country is a signatory.

In fact, the person who currently heads the Department of Gender and Family Affairs (formerly the Bureau of Women’s Affairs) at the ministry is Gaynell Curry. Ms Curry has 18 years’ experience working at the UN and, according to a government press release last year, helped develop the CEDAW convention that calls for marital rape to be outlawed. The department on its Facebook page Sunday shared the video of Dubravka Šimonović, UN special rapporteur on violence against women, speaking about the need to enact marital rape laws and improve human rights in other areas.

Noting the Ministry of Social Services has a Domestic Violence Unit which helps women who suffer from the issue, Mrs Griffin said she hopes people who experience marital rape are not discouraged from seeking the ministry’s help because of Mrs Rolle’s comments.

“I cannot understand the position she’s taken,” she said. “I will hope that persons are not discouraged but there are a lot of hurting women out there. Many people because they don’t experience these things might say there’s no need for it but there are those who experience these problems every day. You have situations where a husband and a wife might have a house together, might have children together and because of that a woman might say while she can’t leave him she can’t have sexual interactions with him especially without a condom because he’s out there playing around. But the husband might force himself on her. That’s rape.”

Comments

Socrates 10 months ago

i wonder as we consider laws to delve into this sort of thing, if a wife or husband takes $20 from the other's wallet/purse, are they liable to be charged with stealing?

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thephoenix562 10 months ago

Under present law wives cannot steal from their hubsand.

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stillwaters 10 months ago

Then the shoe is on the other foot, plenty wives would be getting locked up.

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bogart 10 months ago

Any aspect of physical harm without consent to another is a criminal matter. Of course there is also the physical harm to animals which is also a criminal matter. The issue of Maritial Rape must also bring in the issue of The national pastime of 'sweerhearting' which in many cases is connected and the failure of the respective agencies, CHURCH for not clearly defining and teaching what Marriage is, instead of their constant time consuming pleas for money. Ironically telling from the stories is that even the pastores do not seem to know what the act of Marriage entails..

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hrysippus 10 months ago

What constitutes a marital rape, .......... .... ...... Is the subject of media debate,.. ... ......... Without needing to change the constitution,.......... ..... .... a change of law might be a solution. ............. ..............
Simply Make it illegal to get wed,. ... .......... Or for man and wife to share a bed. ... .......... Babies only made "in vitrio", ... .......... or perhaps cloning is the way to go. ........ ... ............... Only women allowed to live in the west, ..... ......... The men and boys can have the rest. ........ .... ... If the genders are kept far apart,.. .... ....... What leads to rape will never start,.. .......... ...... But when Holidays come, the retail shop,................... .. ... Will find gift buying at a total stop. ......... .................................. All that jewellery that girls like to wear, .. . ........ Those painted nails and fancy hair. ........... .................... The costs will come from out her pay, ....... .. ...... And the boys save theirs for a rainy day..,...................... ........... .. Or more likely give it to the numbers man. .

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TalRussell 10 months ago

Comrade Crown Minister, you just ain't suppose stick nothing inside a vagina of another person without her consent no matter if she's ya friend, date, romantic or marital partner... and if of the same sex the same rules does apply what you can and cannot stick in wherever. ya hard on has urge to penetrate.....get it?.

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John 10 months ago

This whole argument begs the same question again: Can a marriage survive after either spouse has the other criminally charged with rape? So the laws pertaining to marriage already encompass the matter of spousal abuse (and so called rape) vis a vis legal separation and/or divorce. The fact that the majority of marriages that end in divorce do so with bitter trauma this whole spousal rape is one that is both dangerous and unnecessary. It is the agenda of feminist women who seek to further emasculate and depower the male. And many of them never intended to submit in the first instance.

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Barrington 10 months ago

Here we go again. Another patriarchal stance. Why do we to define the "role" of the husband from a power position instead of a loving position? A husband can rape or kill his wife. They have been doing so for many years.

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Islangal1 10 months ago

Everyone crying that a husband cannot rape his wife. Let me see how the story turns when it happens to your mother, sister or daughter. What would you do if their husband continually have sex with them without their consent be reminded that her body is her husbands. If she's on bed rest during pregnancy there's nothing to stop her husband from having sex with her even if she says NO! It's rape.......If she comes home dog tired after a long days work and he want to have sex, she says NO! It's rape!

Engaging in sex after a person says NO is RAPE in any situation!! Those who says it can't be proven, trust me it can. Once a doctor exams a man, woman or child and bruising is there to indication of abuse the law steps in.

In addition to that, the Bahamas is now listed right up there with Muslim Country that enforces strict laws of Islam when it comes to the rights of women, children and gender equality.

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TalRussell 10 months ago

Comrades, so here we are going into Five-years later since March 2013. Has anything much woman's improved resulting from the actions taken by any Bahamaland government?

  • Comrades, the Voices of Woman’s Must be Empowered in Our Bahamaland! (2013) -

…………../////https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GUWTCObHcg

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K4C 10 months ago

it is 2017 why does the Bahamas have it's head stuck in the 19th century why are you not looking here for leadership on this, after all the Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, since Bill C-127 came into effect in Canada on Jan. 4, 1983 sexual assault against one's wife is an criminal offence

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stillwaters 10 months ago

Wives who are getting raped are going to have to confront it privately and quickly, or all their marital business will hit the streets.

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Dawes 10 months ago

Government needs to have two laws. If the couple decide they do not believe the bible allows the man to sleep with his wife no matter what, then the wife can have their husbands charged with marital rape if it occurs. For those who believe the bible allows them to,then they can not be charged. However if these same people are caught sweethearting then they should be thrown in jail for a year or two as this too is against the bible.

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sheeprunner12 10 months ago

The Bible says the penalty for sweet-hearting is public stoning .... Let's begin!!!

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Dawes 10 months ago

Let me buy shares in a stone company first, will be a millionaire before the year is over

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SP 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Too late. Brent's crew of pirates dem done teif all the stones!

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John 10 months ago

So then will also have to be two types of marriages. Holy matrimony and pagan marriage. The Bible admonishes a man to love and cherish his wife and that doesn’t sound like someone who will sleep with her ‘no matter what.’ Much less rape her!

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stillwaters 10 months ago

I think it's a very teeny percentage of wives we're talking about. And I believe that these women will stay with their husbands because of financial dependency.

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ashley14 10 months ago

Is there really a problem with men raping their wives. I don't know about it. Men comment on their wives are always tired, so help her with the house and kids and that solves that. A man that loves his wife wouldn't violate her in that way. She could never forgive that.

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bogart 10 months ago

Sadly the pastors seem to abdicate this one beautiful opportunity to rise above and talk of love, faith, marriage, commitment and what it takes for a good marriage and put an end to this issue. Yep theyre just sheep among the sheep ducking the opportunity to lead.

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TalRussell 10 months ago

Comrades! Your Sunday morning pastors who are close to their flock should knows all about wives and girlfriends who hide their bruises from the Sunday mooring church goers which were inflicted upon their bodies during the Saturday nights forced bedroom ordeals.

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Barrington 10 months ago

This is a sad day. How could the Minister of Social Service make such a statement? I am gravely disappointed. she should be removed from office.

The government needs no more dialogue with the community. In fact it is only the religious leaders (few of them with their loud voices) who are not thinking straight.

These religious leaders who says all rape is rape are asking unwise questions. Questions that can apply to any crime.

This is a sad day. We must stop treating our women like sexual property.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Chile you got me so dizzy with this discombobulated thinking here! What kind of rape een rape? AND PRAY TELL ME WHY THE MINISTER SHOULD BE MOVED? Is it because she made some "murky" statements? Who is ya boss then. . . you should be fired too. . .cos iffen you does think like this above, you should be sent "packing" too! After we read this post I guess we have more than them noisy pastors them een thinking straight!

Say them church leaders who say all rape is rape are asking unwise questions that fit any crime. Then iffen that be the case. . .why do we need a "new" rape law when we already have a dialogue that fits any rape case. . .man and wife or not? Unless you want doggies to get cut off too for raping ya wife. . .if the rape actually took place. If my reasoning looks "cock-eyed" (pun intended) it may be because you are so gung-ho to get those who have doggies in your community that you carn "see" straight! Lol!

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sheeprunner12 10 months ago

Rolle is a wife, mother, pastor, lawyer and politician ........ Why do these feminists like Sears wife believe that Rolle is uninformed and misrepresenting the facts about spousal abuse??? ....... Who told that white European woman that Bahamian men are like Fred Flintstone????? ...... I suppose Marion Bethel, Sandra Patterson, Glenys Martin and Yardie Nicholls were the "experts" who gave her that information .......... They all have skeletons in their closets .........smh

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Barrington 10 months ago

I am sad to read your response. I are suggestion that wives are lying about being raped or wives cannot be rapped. Then you are mistaken. I am sure you do know that wives have been murdered by their husbands. Then why it is so difficult to understand the point. I have counseled wives who have been raped by their husbands. A single woman has more rights here than a married woman. This is wrong.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Should you not be saying that you have counseled wives "who said: my husband rapped me"? You prove the concerns of persons who say take some time and reflections on approaching this most delicate social matter! Just as you are saying that there are wife-killer as parallel for understanding your leaning in the wife-rape debate. . .there are vindictive and conniving wives who will "put their no-good man in jail" for any reason ranging from money, sweetheart to get rid of his backside!! Would you also agree that there are such wives out there? And by the way. . .any single woman will tell you that them wives them have wayyyyyyyyy more legal rights than they do!! I don't think that not understanding is the problem here. . .but your mental paradigm is the more suspect! Like my grand daughter may say: "erryting wid long tail issa monkey ya know"! By the way. . .it is not reason to be sad if someone don't see your "point". . .because they may see it. . .perhaps your point is not a sharp as you think. . . een no big thing. . .it may just mean that you need to work on ya "point". . .or then again you may be dealing with a "slower" learner. . .or just a pig headed person. . .or one who just don't give a flip what you think. . .theirs is the "onliest pernt" they are willing to consider. . .for whatever reason!

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sheeprunner12 10 months ago

Well Barrington .......... when you hold a big news conference with all of your marital rape victims with all of their evidence of marital bedroom rape, then the Government will begin to move on this subject ....... until then, what happens in the marital bedroom will remain in the marital bedroom (except the spouse records it on his/her smartphone for social media/court consumption).

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bogart 10 months ago

.......looking from other sides, while the disvussion is going on, should the bill become practicsl reality on this tiny island any man charged with this crime will have to kiss everything goodbye as sipsip, gapseed, grapevine will ensure that ultimate end. Given the dynamics of this small society many men rightly or wrongly charged will pay a greater penalty and many women can become unjustly enriched (as well as many lawyers).

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TalRussell 10 months ago

Comrades, is seems be's according to the crown minister, and all the others 'sex therapists' on these hereto Tribune sex blog pages, the very second the bride-to-be gets that ring on her finger - her rights to say 'no' to sex, does go flying right our the window.... Begs me asks, what is my blogger Comrades responses - if say the wife doesn't fell in mood has sex with her husband for say six monhts.....cause she just feels all sexed out for the next six-months period..... Is she legally bond by that ring on her finger to unwillingly uncross her legs to be penetrated by an unwanted penis?

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SP 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I stopped reading at "two prominent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) women".

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