Bahamas Proposal to Ban Marital Rape Sparks Controversy
A bill in the Bahamian legislature that would criminalize marital rape has sparked public debate. The lawmaker who drafted the bill, Minister of State for Social Development Loretta Butler-Turner, says the bill would combat attitudes about spousal relationships that leave women vulnerable to abuse, reports the Associated Press. Currently, charges of rape can only be brought against a spouse if the couple is legally separated or in the process of getting a divorce, according to the Nassau Guardian.
The bill has ignited debate among the public during government-organized forums and on radio talk shows. Many say they are opposed to the measure because it contradicts their Christian values or because they believe it will lead to women filing false charges against their husbands, reports the Associated Press. One of the most vocal religious leaders in opposition to the bill, Senior Pastor of the Kingdom Life Church Cedric Moss, has said that sexual violence within marriage should not be called rape and should be addressed with lesser penalties than non-marital rape, according to the Nassau Guardian.
The extent of controversy over the bill led Progressive Liberal Party Senate Leader Allyson Maynard-Gibson to propose last week that the bill be withdrawn until an in-depth study about domestic violence can be conducted, reports the Nassau Guardian. She suggested that evaluation of the bill be "removed from the political arena and be conducted by nationally and internationally respected experts" in the legal, religious and medical fields. She also called for several sweeping changes in how rapes are prosecuted, including the creation of a new family court system to try domestic violence charges.
Sandra Dean-Patterson, director of a nonprofit that aides abuse victims continues to speak out in support of the bill. She told the Associated Press that the bill "says that our nation will no longer condone violence in the family. If you have to force your husband or your wife to be sexual, something is wrong with the relationship."
Media Resources: Associated Press 8/16/09; Nassau Guardian 8/12/09
11/25/2014 Marissa Alexander Has Accepted a Plea Deal - Marissa Alexander, the woman imprisoned for firing a warning shot in the presence of her abusive husband, chose to accept a plea deal Monday with the state of Florida, pleading guilty to three felony counts of aggravated assault.
As part of the plea deal, Alexander received three years imprisonment, but she will be credited for the time she's spent behind bars. . . .
11/24/2014 The City of Louisville Has Overwhelmingly Approved a CEDAW Resolution - The city of Louisville, Kentucky approved a resolution that will use the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a framework for all future policy aimed at ending gender-based discrimination.
Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh introduced the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly on November 6. . . .