Gov’t outlaws spousal rape

Minister of Culture, Entertainment, Gender Affairs and Sport Olivia Grange

“No means no even in marriage” were the sentiments echoed by the Minister of Gender Affairs, Olivia “Babsy” Grange as she supported the motion to reinforce a legislation that will overturn the law and culture allowing consenting adults, including those who are married to be charged for offences of sexual assault and rape.

The announcement was made in the house of representatives by the Justice Minister Delroy Chuck.

He asserted that his government is working assiduously in amending the Sexual Offences Act, “So that rape can occur inside and outside of marriage,” he declared.

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck

Grange, a strong supporter of the motion, cited a 2016 women’s health survey, which to her, unveiled that 31.4 per cent of women were opined to the view that as a wife, you are subjected to the call of sex by her husband.

“Mr Speaker, we are moving to end that, and it’s gender neutral, so the men don’t have to worry,” Grange said.

Chucks, while presenting his debate on the review of the Sexual Offences Act in the house, highlighted that he is fully cognizant that Jamaica has developed a culture that rape is unlikely to happen within a marriage, however, he seeks to challenge this narrative.

“But now, legislation will overturn that common-law position,” he contended. The lawmakers accepted the report and voted in support of the motion.

The parliamentary committee further explored the need to sanction individuals who knowingly pass on sexually transmitted diseases to their partners, and, stalking should be looked into as a criminal offence.