In light of House Speaker and Nassau Village Member of Parliament Halson Moultrie saying on Monday that he is conflicted about the issue of marital rape, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday said his party definitively supports the idea of criminalizing marital rape.
Davis said if the PLP is elected, it would criminalize marital rape.
“Marital rape is something that we appreciate could happen and we do not support marital rape,” he said.
“When I say we don’t support, I mean we don’t support men raping their wives, so we will support any measure that will penalize husbands who rape their wives.”
The issue has been debated in the public and government for several years and through a number of administrations, although it has been on the back burner of legislation for some time.
Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin has previously expressed her strong support for the criminalization of marital rape and reiterated her stance.
In 2017 while criticizing then Minister of Social Services Lanisha Rolle for controversial comments about the issue, Hanna-Martin maintained that “there are some things that are right and some things that are clearly not right”.
In 2018, during an appearance before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, Attorney General Carl Bethel said the government intends to criminalize marital rape.
Yesterday, he indicated that he had no comment on the matter.
Hanna-Martin said that support of marital rape is “not an acceptable view”.
“To advocate for the legitimacy and acceptability of such conduct by one party to the marriage against the other, most likely the wife, seems to belie an underlying belief that a woman is not entitled to basic respect as it relates to her physical body.
“This is in my view, not an acceptable view. Perhaps the women of Nassau Village will take note,” Hanna-Martin said.
“The speaker of the house appears to have been speaking in his personal capacity and not as speaker of the Parliament.
“If he does not speak for his party, it would be useful for that to be made clear by the FNM (Free National Movement); I do not agree with his expressed views,” she added.
While Davis said the PLP would commit to addressing the issue if elected to power, he could not promise it would be a priority as the primary focus would be on the economy.
“Our primary focus would have to be on the economy because that’s priority number one… so for me to say prioritize marital rape, to commit right now – we commit that we will address it,” Davis said.