Happy New Year! I hope you all have had a great Holiday Season and are ready to tackle 2018 with vigor and to make a difference in this country.
One of the best parts about living in Abaco, in this community, is the people. Though a lot of differences separate us, Abaconians remain some of the warmest, most giving people. This issue is full of stories of people coming together to help each other. Even those who cannot give a lot still often give at least something.
That’s what it is all about – helping each other. One big way we can help each other is by addressing one of the ugliest “controversies” to sprout up recently. A controversy deeply rooted in the sexist fibers of our nation’s moral character.
Should we formally make marital rape illegal?
I’ll be straight up: it is terrible that these protections are not in place and it is disgusting that many Bahamians defend marital rape (they won’t call it that) as something that is normal.
Sarcastically you may be saying to yourself, “Oh, big man – coming out spousal abuse, what’s next? Nazis are meanies?” Unfortunately, recent national dialogue has unearthed a seedy underbelly that holds far too much weight.
I have seen three counterarguments with varying degrees of depravity as to why Bahamians should not codify laws that explicitly make it a punishable offence to rape your spouse.
The first counterargument to, again, PROTECTING SPOUSES FROM RAPE, is that the Christian Bible not only justifies it but that, when a man and woman belong to each other it is “impossible” for rape to occur since the woman’s body belongs to the man and you “cannot rape yourself.”
I won’t cite or counter-cite biblical passages because the same person using the Bible to justify a man taking a woman against her consent would just as quickly adopt any other religious text, or convenient literature, to justify it were they to inhabit that culture of origin. Facts do not matter here – just verses twisted like a barbed wire. The only way to reach these people would be to pray they learn a bit of empathy and realize they cannot hide ugly facts behind semantics.
The second counterargument to punishing men who rape their wives is that it is UNNECESSARY due to existing laws against abuse and physical violence. When pressed on their issue with adding a distinct law against rape this person will usually fill you in on the United Nation’s Grand Conspiracy to destroy Bahamian culture and make us accept some agenda. The “agenda” (gay, feminist, liberal, fascist, First Order or otherwise) is nebulous enough to stir up all kinds of emotion and force objectivity out of the minds for some.
The third, and most vile, counterargument I have seen used in the real world is that if we were to explicitly ban “marital rape” (again they will scoff at this terminology) then women should not expect their husbands or partners to remain faithful in a relationship because she is not “giving it up” and that it would demonize men and allow women to hold too much power with the threat of false allegations.
I do not have a good defense against this. Check your reason at the door. This is an engrained mindset and a condemnation of our country’s education. Absolutely absurd.
I call on our leaders to publicly take a stand on this and steer discourse in this country towards a productive end. I have been disappointed with their contradictory and evasive statements.
Sorry, this should have been fairly light reading for a New Year’s editorial. Just thought it was important that we fight for our country’s soul.