By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ANGLICAN Archdeacon James Palacious has weighed in on Social Services Minister Lanisha Rolle’s remark that martial rape is a private matter, calling her statement “absolute nonsense”.
Yesterday, he called on her to publicly withdraw her comment.
“I think she misspoke,” Father Palacious told The Tribune. “It was extremely nonsensical and I hope that she would really withdraw it and that’s not what she really thinks. It’s very injudicious and injurious to the cause of womanhood in the country.”
Mrs Rolle drew fierce pushback for the remark on marital rape she made last week.
Asked outside a Cabinet meeting if martial rape should be criminalised, she said the country does not support violence against women in any form but added: “In relation to marital rape, I have always said it is an issue that is private. It can become public, but we want to start where marriage is sacred and marriage is private.”
Father Palacious yesterday said he hopes the Minnis administration presses forward with legislation to criminalise spousal rape.
“I was in agreement with it from the first time in 2009 when it was tabled and that is still my position, that a woman’s right is her right and no man has a right of access to sexual privileges or intercourse against her will,” he said.
“There are some pastors who did not agree the last time and we probably won’t agree this time. The Christian Council, I’m sure we will meet on it early in the New Year and talk, but the mainland denominations said we believe it’s possible to rape your wife.”
Father Palacious is the vice-president of the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC).
BCC President Bishop Delton Fernander has declined to give his personal view on marital rape and has said he will poll members of the council for their views.
Father Palacious said he hopes the matter proves less controversial to criminalise now than it was in 2009, when the Ingraham administration tabled a bill aiming to make spousal rape a crime. That bill was withdrawn after some public outcry.
“Now that we are aware of being a part of an international community and we’ve signed on to some conventions and the new debate has been spurred on by the comments of the UN rapporteur, that should urge change in our country and make it possibly less controversial,” he said.