The 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Minister’s Meeting was held in the country at the Atlantis Resort from August 21st – 23rd. The event wrapped with a press conference on Wednesday where Commonwealth Secretary General, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Patricia Scotland, K.C. addressed the issue of marital rape speaking to what prompted laws to be changed in her home country.
Baroness Patricia Scotland said, “violence came mainly from partners and ex-partners and on many occasions when the abused person, usually the woman, left home one the ways in which the woman was then pursued by the partner was sexual. And there would be no consent because they’d separated.”
Scotland further explained, “the law was changed particularly because of the nature and level of domestic violence and sexual abuse. And so, the idea that has become embedded is that any act of sexual intercourse to be lawful has to be consensual whether that’s within or without marriage.”
The Secretray General says sexual violence was estimated to cost England twenty three billion pounds annually. “But the cost in lives was much greater than the cost economically and abuse whether in or outside marriage is abuse. We certainly took the view that women needed to be protected and they have been protected. Every country, of course, has to have its own debate, have to come to its own decision. But this is really an issue of human rights and whether a woman is entitled to have control over her body and be able to consent to who has access to that body.”