‘GET MOVING’: Women’s organization says enough talk on gender-based violence & marital rape, time for action

‘GET MOVING’: Women’s organization says enough talk on gender-based violence & marital rape, time for action

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As she called on the government to maintain its “gender lens” in all of its decisions, Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) Chair Charlene Paul said there has been enough talk over the years on removing gender-based violence, including marital rape, via legislation.

She said now is the time for the government to “get moving”.

“When you look at any issue, when it comes down to budgeting, when it comes down to changing taxes, etc, there needs to be an intentional gender lens applied and that’s one of the main messages that we are seeking to send and to land, to really register,” Paul told Eyewitness News.


We know what needs to happen. Government knows what needs to happen. We’re thankful for the conclave that was held recently, but get moving. 

– CIWiL Chair Charlene Paul


“We draw attention to the urgency, as we have had talk for a very long time.

“Meanwhile, and in more recent times, we’ve seen it play out and women are dying and being abused, are being misused, and so, we’re saying enough is enough.

“We know what needs to happen.

“Government knows what needs to happen.

“We’re thankful for the conclave that was held recently, but get moving.

“We know by and large, and we reiterated those things during the conclave.

“We have identified gaps when women did a very comprehensive report, which they presented to the conclave — the various gaps in our laws, gender gaps and bias [against] women.

“For us, most egregious are those gender-based violence needs and gaps.”

She added: “We appreciate the talk, but enough is enough.”

Over a week ago, Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said the issue of marital rape could be dealt with during his administration’s current term, noting that the government will move to enact recommendations stemming from the National Gender-Based Violence Law Review Forum upon Cabinet approval.

The prime minister made clear: “Whether you call it marital or otherwise, rape is rape.”

In a joint open letter to the prime minister, chief justice, director of public prosecutions and others last week, over 30 women’s organizations demanded delivery on promises to address gender-based violence.

“This is not a favor that we are asking,” Paul said as she urged the government to make decisions with all of its populous in mind.

“This is our right as 51 percent of the populous.

“To me, that’s the underlying thing that deals with all of our areas of concern.

“It continues to be an afterthought or when someone like yourself recognizes or when women organizations recognize they’ve left us out again, and then we have to advocate, and so, first and foremost, that’s the overarching message that needs to be sent and registered.”

The issue of marital rape continues to be publicly debated, with many lawmakers supporting views to criminalize it.

In 2017, United National Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Dubravka Simonovic said The Bahamas is out of step with the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Former of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as the country had failed to criminalize all forms of marital rape.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.