I read with consternation (but not surprise) the remarks of Evangelist Rex Major on the impending marital rape legislation at the recent ecumenical service celebrating The Bahamas’ 50th anniversary of independence. A few of his remarks caught my attention:
1. Evangelist Major objects to the marital rape law because he says “people does lie”. Based on his later remarks, in which he said that women might falsely cry rape to get out of their marriages, I assume by “people”, he means women.
Why does Evangelist Major – like so many Bahamian men – have such a low opinion of women? Do women lie any more than men?
To my knowledge, Evangelist Major has daughters. Does he think his daughters would falsely accuse their husbands of rape? Does he paint them with the same brush of the lying Jezebel? If not, why does he think other women would behave any differently?
2. Secondly, because there is a chance that a woman might lie, does that mean we should not have laws against marital rape? Children can lie, too, but that doesn’t mean we should not have laws against child molestation, does it?
3. Evangelist Major says that marital rape would be hard to prove. Well, it would be no different than the present law where a man rapes a woman who is not his wife. The onus would be on the wife to prove that a rape occurred, not on the husband to prove that there was no rape
4. Evangelist Major says that women might falsely accuse their husbands of rape to get out of a marriage. I highly doubt that. But on that point, maybe the government should also look into amending The Bahamas’ antiquated divorce laws to allow no-fault divorces.
People change. People fall out of love. If two adults decide that they simply do not want to be married anymore, that should be their right, without having to prove adultery, abuse, cruelty, abandonment or neglect. Let people sever their ties and move on with their lives.
I understand that Evangelist Major is a member of an older generation where women were taught to be totally submissive to their husbands and where women were little more than chattels, trained to be good wives and do whatever their husbands want, including engaging in sexual intercourse, even if the women were tired, sick or simply not in the mood.
Thankfully, we have come a long way, and some more enlightened people see women as individuals in their own right who should have control over their bodies.
Maybe Evangelist Major should heed the words of the seemingly more sensible Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd: “Marriage is a sacrament before God where persons covenant to love and protect each other until death. Rape is not love or protection.”
— Rickendra T. Turner