The ruling of Supreme Court Justice, Denise Lewis-Johnson in a recent divorce case has reignited national debate on the subject of marital rape. The wife in the case alleged, among other things, that her husband repeatedly forced himself on her without her consent. Justice Lewis-Johnson wrote in her ruling, “the court accepts that rape is a most heinous act of cruelty and a malicious violation of a person, however, on a strict reading of the laws of The Bahamas, there is no rape in marriage.”
Prime Minister Davis was asked about the ruling and he weighed in saying, “rape is a violation of someone’s body without their consent in circumstances where consent is necessary.” Concerning the ruling specifically, Prime Minister Davis said, “its curious that a judge can say that a woman who claims that she was raped by her husband cannot use that as a ground of divorce when physical abuse could be and rape is physical abuse.” In light of the alarming levels of abuse and violence in the country, Mr. Davis stated, “we need to talk to our young men talk to our young women and talk to our people about what is right and wrong, civility has to be returned.”
The Royal Bahamas Police Force has established a domestic violence unit headed by Assistant Commissioner, Dellareece Ferguson, who recently released sexual crimes statistics. According to their records, there have been more than two hundred sex crimes reported up to August 23rd with fifty one reported rapes.
The Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe also gave comment on the matter of sexual violence in the country saying, “we have to get to the point that we understand that you don’t fool with little children and that you do not force yourself on people, period, that’s the bottom line to it. If you do and the person reports it, it will be investigated, you will go to court and you will get the consequences.”