Marital rape not priority for PLP

Leader of the Opposition Philip 'Brave' Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Leader of the Opposition Philip 'Brave' Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff


Deputy Chief Reporter


Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday said he could not commit his party to prioritising the issue of marital rape if it takes office in 2022.

Mr Davis said while any administration led by him would “address” the issue, there would be “a number of policy initiatives” that would need to be prioritised should the PLP win the next general election.

He was asked by The Tribune whether the party could commit to prioritising the criminalisation of marital rape once in government.

“Let me just say this: there are a number of policy initiatives that we as a government when we are elected which we will, will have to prioritise,” Mr Davis said during his monthly press conference at PLP headquarters yesterday.

“So for example, our primary focus would have to be on the economy because that’s priority number one because the only demographic of our society that seems to be doing well in this economy is that two percent at the top. The middle class is suffering. Those ordinary Bahamians are suffering and continue to be weighted upon by what this government is doing to them.

“So for me to say prioritise marital rape, to commit right now….we commit that we will address it.

“In the scheme of things the economy is our number one focus as your prime minister.”

Earlier, he said the party did not support men raping their wives.

“Marital rape is something that we appreciate could happen and we do not support marital rape. When I say we do not support, we don’t support men raping their wives and so we will support any measure that will penalise husbands who would rape their wives.”

Asked if Bahamians could look forward to legal changes that penalise marital rape under a Davis-led PLP government, Mr Davis said: “Yes.”

The issue was revived yesterday after House Speaker Halson Moultrie told a local daily that he was conflicted on the issue of marital rape, but leans toward the spiritual view that a husband cannot rape his wife.

He was asked his views after last week tabling a report called “The Criminalisation of Marital Rape and Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Across the Commonwealth”. The report was written by attorney Marion Bethel who represents the country on the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

The report notes that despite the Bahamas being party to several international and regional human rights treaties that require the principle of equality between men and women the country has resisted the internalisation of human rights legal norms and does not have adequate legislative protections for victims of marital rape and intimate partner sexual violence.     

“I wouldn’t want a person to be able to abuse the privilege of being in a marital union to infringe on someone’s right to say no,” Mr Moultrie told the local daily.

“But at the same time, when you compare that with the spiritual aspect of two becoming one and whenever a partner wishes to be accommodated sexually and so on, that the other partner really should comply.”

He said on one end, as an ordained pastor, he looked at marriage as being a sacred union where two become one and in that union, on occasions when one party may not even be in the mood, that union calls for the accommodation of the other’s desires, whether it be male or female.

“But when we compare that with the purely legal aspect of a person’s right to the privacy of their own body, then yes, legally, if someone resists or says ‘no’ and you still violate that decision, then yes, it can be considered to be rape, legally that is,” he also said.

“I always prefer to lean with the spiritual aspect. I think that’s the safest way, because laws continuously change,” Speaker Moultrie also noted. “Spiritual principles are forever; they don’t change.

“Laws change to accommodate society and to accommodate traditions and mischief in society.”

Responding, Alicia Wallace of Equality Bahamas said the spiritual interpretation is the most dangerous option.

Ms Wallace said it was this interpretation that led to the right to bodily autonomy being violated and the sanctioning of sexual violence.

“It is the interpretation that assumes a woman loses her personhood and ability to give or withhold consent when she marries, thereby becoming a sex object,” she said in a press statement yesterday. “Equality Bahamas rebukes this notion and implores everyone to free themselves of this fallacy.”

She continued: “We call on Moultrie to respect his own position and conduct himself a representative of the people, responsible for the protection of vulnerable people and a participant in the legislative process in a democracy that regards that responsibility with seriousness and dedication.

“The country does not need to hear about religious texts or interpretations when we are faced with laws that are discriminatory, fail to protect vulnerable people, and are inarguably unequal, particularly when their drafting was already influenced by a religion to which the law does not require the people to subscribe.”

Ms Wallace said it was time that the Bahamas met its obligations, insisting it was unacceptable for the marital rape issue to be constantly put on the back burner.

“Nothing is more important that the safety and well-being of residents of The Bahamas. The Bahamas has chosen to sign conventions, takes advantage of opportunities to perform before treaty bodies, but often fails to do the work. It is time to meet these obligations, not only to satisfy the requirements of external bodies we have chosen to engage, but to expand the human rights of the Bahamian people and, in particular, women,” she said.

In 2018 Attorney General Carl Bethel told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland that the Bahamas would criminalise marital rape.


joeblow 3 years, 7 months ago

The only priority for the PLP is saying or doing whatever is necessary to get their hands on the purse-strings to the Bahamian treasury again!!


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 7 months ago

No Bahamian in their right mind, especially a Bahamian woman, should ever vote for a PLP candidate in any election.


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 7 months ago

Minnis by his inaction is proving that he and the FNM are of the same 'sick' mind as Davis and the PLP on this most important matter. Women have every right to be protected from sexual violence no matter who the perpetrator may be. These Bahamian husbands who are quick to say "I gave her what she asked for" or "She got what she deserved" should be made to face serious criminal charges and trials before all-women juries.

And if Minnis's wife refuses to speak out in support of women on this matter, then we can only wonder what that may well mean about Minnis himself as a husband.


Sickened 3 years, 7 months ago

Why do they call it marital rape? Just call it rape! Just because she is your spouse doesn't mean that you should be able to rape her! Go jerk yourself off instead if you're that horny.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 7 months ago

According to I Corinthians Ch. 7, a spouse cannot commit rape, if the true meaning of "husband, love your wife" etc. is applied ……….. but marital dysfunction must be taken into account when designing our State laws …… too many spouses are the victims of physical and mental abuse involving sexual acts, so it is necessary to provide protection for the at-risk victims of marital abuse...…..... now to the use of feminist and LGBT agendas, that is another can of worms.


hrysippus 3 years, 7 months ago

People who quote Bible verses to support their position but eat bacon, lobster, or conch just make me laugh at the hypocrisy on display. There are even some pastors running churches who will eat these foods that the Bible quite clearly states are unclean and forbidden.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 7 months ago

Ask Jesus about hypocrisy ………. don't be an ignorant clown


TheMadHatter 3 years, 7 months ago

Any woman who gets married is either crazy - or not aware of this law. More and more women are choosing not to get married. This has been happening long time. The loss of marriage dower and the exposure to rape are just 2 reason why.


Shawty242 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm against this bill and standing on the word of God. Husband and wife submit to one another. Also, to the fact that once married the body of each individual belongs to the other.


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 7 months ago

You obviously know nothing about the "Golden Rule".

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a biblical concept spoken by Jesus in Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12; it is commonly referred to as the "Golden Rule."

Modern day translations of the relevant portions of these two verses read as follows:

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

"Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31).

Having the right to rape your wife exists nowhere in the Bible. Suggest you find another church or faith, assuming you currently have either one.


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