I stand in full support of MP Loretta Turner's proposed amendment to the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act that would outlaw marital rape in the Bahamas. All conscious, awakened, womanish women of the Bahamas need to speak up publicly and vehemently in support of Mrs Turner's proposed legislation. (All decent, non-violent, woman-honouring men who do not beat their wives also need to step up and express their support for this ammendment.)
As I see it, the new law would mean that married women who are brutalized by their husbands would win the right to bring rape charges against their attackers, a right that is denied them at this present time. This oversight in the present Act provides impunity for epidemic numbers of rapists who happen to be husbands. It turns marriage into the liscence to brutalize and terrorize. The law as it stands now serves to make it all the more difficult and even impossible for many women to get themselves free of their attackers. It aids in the perpetuation of cycles of brutality, grave injury and desperation for the thousands of women who are beaten at home every year in this country.
It is hard to imagine how any decent person in this day and age would stand against a battered woman as she struggles to get herself and her children away from the man beating her. Because this is what rape is, a beating. But sure enough, a national newspaper editor has given tonight's front page to coverage of a preacher speaking at a Rotary Club luncheon (can you say, old boys' network?), who seems to think the new law has something to do with "governing sexual intercourse." I don't know if the preacher is stupid, or evil when he misrepresents the issue in this way. I don't know if the editor is stupid or evil when he fails to get his reporter to make the clarification in her story. I don't know if any of the gentlemen (and women?) of Rotary had the courage to challenge the preacher and advocate for the women at risk who would most benefit from this new law. All the gentlemen involved in bringing us these idiotic, damaging remarks need to remember; RAPE AND BATTERY IS NOT SEX, IT IS A VIOLENT CRIME.
The wacko preachers will carry on, they always do when women are getting themselves free. Their minions will continue to provide them with forums for their religious hysteria and self-important ravings. But their era is passing away. There is a new consciousness among Bahamian women today, a new awareness of our rights as human beings, a new sense of empowerment and possibility. Loretta Turner's brave proposal is symbolic of this revival of womanish activism. She is especially representing the battered wives of the Bahamas, saying loudly on their behalf, We're not going to take it anymore! I want to add my voice to hers. I want to call on the intellectuals and artists of the country especially to come forward and give their public support to this ammendment . I send out a call to the women blog writers of the Caribbean too and ask that they raise their global voices in solidarity with Bahamian battered wives.
Change is going to come.