We need change

Dear Editor,

I recently heard our lawmakers waxing poetic about gender-based violence and marital rape. There was agreement on both sides that this issue must be dealt with and it must come to an end. It was an inspiring moment. If only I could forget that both the PLP and FNM have, over the course of their administrations, failed to criminalize marital rape. Both governments talk a good game but when it comes time to act, little has happened on the front of gender violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse in our homes. Even if our country were to criminalize marital rape, I wonder how many women, or men, would avail themselves of that law.

Anecdotally, not many women involved in abusive marriages ever speak out, leave, or press charges against their husbands. I know women in our country who are living nightmares and, unless you are in the family, you would never know. In so many cases that I’ve heard of or witnessed, the husband, who is the breadwinner, can get away with almost anything and the wife says nothing. This speaks of the need for more education for our young girls and young boys. That’s where it needs to start. I hope that his administration, with its large number of women in the House and Cabinet, will make laws to protect the victims of abuse, be they men, women, or children. This government should also move towards promoting real sex education, and family education. Criminalizing marital rape is a start but it is by no means a solution. We have a problem in this country and we need to acknowledge it.

– R. Smith

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