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The Eruption of Gender-Based Violence in The Bahamas

The whispered words of “violence against women and children” are now blood curdling screams in the night. The once quiet stream of hushed abuse has now turned into a volcano of exposure, allegedly even for the high and not so mighty. 



As I See It

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – The whispered words of “violence against women and children” are now blood curdling screams in the night. The once quiet stream of hushed abuse has now turned into a volcano of exposure, allegedly even for the high and not so mighty. 

It takes a coward – a man with less testicular fortitude than a juvenile hummingbird – to lay hands of violence on a woman or a child. The sad thing is that many of these men who are quick to punch, kick or slap a woman, would cringe if a man shouts at them and would never raise his fist to fight him. They would rather pick on what is considered the weaker species. 

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“Look what you made me do!” are typical words said by abusers, but what they don’t know is that sometimes, the victim turns out to be the victor in the end – either violently or by other means. 

Nassau, in recent times, has seen a spate of violent acts against women, some even resulting in murder, yet Parliament is slow on passing legislation that provides further protection for women and children. 

Not knocking them, but there are a drey load of women sitting in Parliament, so I cannot fathom why this legislation is not yet a priority. In fact, I was trés, trés disappointed in the Speaker of the House of Assembly’s recent remarks on the subject of marital rape. Her response was something to the tune of, ‘I am not married, so I can’t give an opinion on it.’ Not her exact words, but what she meant. Although I am quite proud of her as a woman to sit in such an honorable seat, I’m not impressed by those remarks. 

On a sidebar, all women (and men) should go to see Gina Rodgers-Sealy’s, “Two-Faced: Gender Inequality in The Bahamas” – Coming to Fusion Superplex, April 26, 2023.

The latest in this gender-based violence saga is the serious accusation of rape and violence lodged against a sitting Member of Parliament (MP). All of the recent and past acts of violence against women and children are heart wrenching, but the accusation against the MP is more frightening than all.

These are our lawmakers, the people we are supposed to look up to. We are not expecting them to bully women (or men) into beastly sex acts, forcing them to subject themselves to sexual violence. And, to add insult to injury the victims are expected to remain silent and the abuser is to move on unchecked on his or her actions because of their title or spot in society. 

Truthfully, I cannot be a judge regarding this accusation as I was not there. I don’t know the man, what he is capable of nor do I know what his personality is like. There are a whole lot of very wicked women out there who cry “wolf” because their mates want to end relationships, however, if you are accused of this beastly act of violence and you have a dark history of this behavior, then people tend to believe you are guilty. 

To be clearer, if you have done this to a series of women and someone comes and accuses you of the same thing, then it’s hard for one to believe that you are innocent. Again, I quote a very close friend’s now deceased mother, “Had you not been where the crows were found, you would be home safe and sound.”

There is a rumble of outrage out there from women’s advocacy groups; talks of a huge march on Parliament to come, however, a change has to be made and it has to be made in the form of legislation. It has to be put in place, so these offenders understand their actions will no longer be swept under the rug. 

Speaking of sweeping under the rug, if this sitting MP is indeed guilty of raping and beating a woman, then his leader and colleagues must condemn it. There is no way he should be allowed to go on as usual, like nothing happened, if he is guilty. I’ve heard that all MPs are advised to remain “mummed” on the accusation and I trust it’s only because it is in the investigation phase and not because the intent is to sweep it under the rug. 

The prime minister is my fraternity and church brother. I’ve seen him always treat women with respect. He honors them and I feel that is why he agreed to nominate so many women from his party to be in Parliament. With that said, I am calling on him to turn every stone to find out if his MP is in fact guilty of this egregious act of rape and brutality and if he is, then he should seek to sound the gavel on him. 

Clearly the prime minister and his Cabinet are working feverishly on securing a second term in office. I am not alone in observing this. One cannot expect to have a society where beating and raping women are the norm, with no recourse on the actions of the assailants. At some point it should be understood that women outnumber men by far in this world and The Bahamas is no different. 

In three years time we go back to the polls to vote. As we can see, the electorate in this country is a fickle one, and once again women far outnumber the men in the count.  Women will be reluctant to vote for a party which they perceive encourages violence against their gender by remaining silent. Well that’s how I see it, anyway.