NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Activist, psychologist, and founder of the Bahamas Crisis Centre, Sandra Dean-Patterson called for law enforcement to develop local capacity to analyze rape kits to properly investigate cases of sexual abuse and protect victims.
“Here we are in 2022, still a country that doesn’t have the capacity to analyze rape kits we don’t have a forensic lab […] the reason why they continue or it’s so hard for us to get a conviction. It’s because it’s this you say I say, thing,” she said.
Dean-Patterson said that this upgrade is just as important as seeing through the draft amendment of the Sexual Offences Act, is having the tools and facilities needed to properly and thoroughly investigate rape cases.
“So you have an opportunity to show this person did do it because DNA does not lie and so to me, that’s an issue that we need to focus on. We need to make sure that we put in place the forensic lab that will allow us to analyze rape kits and make sure that the perpetrators of rape are accountable, she said.
“If you look at the numbers of reports of rape and the small number of sex offenders who are imprisoned you would recognize that too many rapists are getting away with it one essential way is for us to put that forensic lab in place to analyze rape kits.”
Based on police statistics in April, rape continued to trend upward as opposed to the 2021 statistics which showed a 16 percent decrease in sexual offences.
However, Dean-Patterson said that rapes and sexual assaults tend to be the most underreported.
In the interview with Eyewitness News, Dean-Patterson said that because of a ‘culture of rape’ there tend to be misunderstandings on the differences between sexual activity and marital rape, which leads to more issues in a society where some struggle to identify when they have been victims of the act.
“I think that the confusion between marital rape and sexual activity between couples Is what is at the root of people not understanding it’s not sexual activity between a couple but it’s a factor one person is forcing the other one to have sex against their will,” she said.
“That’s the bottom line of it and I think that when you think about why you have so much sexual assault occurring both with our children and with our adults we have to really speak and pay more attention to the name of the behavior that is unacceptable and naming it as behavior that is wrong.”