By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
A WOMAN was raped in her home on Thursday afternoon, police said.
According to reports, around 5pm the victim was at her residence in the East Street area when a man entered and sexually assaulted her.
Police said a man is being questioned in connection with this incident.
This incident comes about two months after an elderly woman was sexually assaulted.
That incident happened last December during an an armed robbery attack at the woman’s home in the eastern district of New Providence.
Police said she was held at bay, robbed of cash and sexually assaulted before the assailant fled the house.
At the time police believed the incident was random and not connected to any other instance of sexual assault at the time.
According to police statistics released in January, incidents of reported rapes rose six percent in 2018, from 52 cases in 2017 to 55 last year.
When contacted in December about the reported rise in rapes, attorney Marion Bethel said at the time it was not only alarming, but was evidence the Bahamas had not given enough attention to “very serious” gender inequality issues.
Ms Bethel currently serves on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
“It’s not just a question of the police force doing its work, it’s an overall government social problem that needs to be addressed in a multi-sectorial level and the government is obligated under the CEDAW convention to prevent rape,” Ms Bethel told The Tribune at the time.
“The government was supposed to set up a gender-based violence authority at least two years ago. I don’t think that has happened as yet to provide an overall strategy as to how to address the issue of rape, which is really a serious problem for women and girls and so we really need to take this seriously. The government needs to take its state obligation seriously; we as a society really need to address this problem because it affects women’s productivity in the work place, it affects our homes, it affects women in the streets and it affects us at the employment level.
“It is a very serious problem that keeps getting skirted over when we talk about overall crime down.”
She continued: “So I am really saddened by this because it really speaks to the questions about what the government is doing under its obligation and what we as a society are doing to prevent and stop rape. There should be a zero tolerance to rape and this speaks to gender inequality.
“Rape and sexual assault against women are linked to gender inequality and the lack of empowerment economic and social empowerment of women. So if we move towards rectifying the issue of gender inequality we also begin to address this issue of sexual violence and sexual assault.
“Predominantly women are raped. Predominantly women are assaulted and that is because of the imbalance of power with men and women.
“This needs to be really addressed and the root causes of gender based violence against women needs to be addressed in this country. We need to do it now,” she said.