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Judicial CP - November 2002
Nassau Guardian, 5 November 2002
The rights of the victims
The Crisis Centre, which has been in existence for the past 20 years, should be lauded and promoted even more for the services that it provides for persons who have experienced serious trauma in their lives.
Additionally, with the alarming rate of rapes and domestic violence occurring within the country, the services offered by the Crisis Centre are much needed and even more persons should be encouraged to volunteer their time to help those in need.
However, despite the good works done by the Centre, some other things have to be done to address the punishment of those who rape and violate other persons in our society.
Something has to be going wrong when persons are too afraid to leave their houses, or do not feel truly safe in their homes anymore.
Many Bahamians including the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for National Security Dr. Cynthia Pratt and the Minister of Financial Services and Investments Allyson Maynard-Gibson have both come forward on separate occasions and said that the Cat-O-Nine Tails should be the punishment for rape.
And if the Cat-O-Nine Tails would act as a deterrent, then it should be utilised. The rights of the criminal should not be placed above the rights of the victim.
Nevertheless, there is never a shortage of organisations who have come into the country to express to the government and the Bahamian people that criminals should be treated in a more humane manner. They never address the rights of the victims.
They never critique the laws to see whether the victims are being represented properly in the courts, or analyse the services being offered to help the victims handle the trauma caused by being raped or victimised.
It is time something is seriously done to address this issue because no one is immune anymore, and the next person to be hurt could be someone near and dear to you.
© 2002 The Nassau Guardian
Nassau Guardian, 12 November 2002
Rape: A brutal and despicable assault on Bahamian womanhood
By E.W.I. Watkins, J.P.
For far too long, the Government, Religious groups and the Judiciary have been giving minimal lip service to this scourge visited on women and children in our society by depraved criminally minded hoodlums masquerading around in disguise as men. Rape is an offence, that - in the old days in this country - used to be punishable by a long prison sentence - 14 years - and at least 24 lashes of the cat-o-nine tails: 12 going in and 12 when leaving prison. I never saw a person repeating after one encounter. In fact after being released from prison and being able - after 6-8 weeks - to sit or lie on his back, the last thing he wanted to see was a woman with or without clothes.
As a member of Parliament in the mid 1970s, I introduced an amendment to the Penal Code for CASTRATION to be mandatory in cases where persons were convicted of committing this demeaning, degrading, abominable and depraved act on a woman. It died for the want of a seconder, but I will still say today, as I did then, that Sweden is one of the few countries in the world that carries mandatory castration for a rape conviction and is the one country free of that crime.
What is so amazing and annoying in our society today is, that when these culprits are apprehended, tried and convicted for such atrocities and are given the cat or rod as the case may be, there are those do-gooders like Amnesty International and similar international busy bodies complaining about sub-human standards in the prison and dehumanizing punishment. What about the victims? What about the mental anguish and veritable shame that they have to live with? Some never fully recover from the ordeal, others go through life performing as zombies or robots for their spouses or life partners, despising and detesting the act of sexual fulfillment as something nasty and degrading rather than something blessed and beautiful as it was ordained to be. Not to mention the pain and anguish suffered by their spouses and/or partners in having their advances and loving overtures so often repulsed and rejected by their once loving, eager and cooperative partners. Then there are the young children who are looking for answers as to why mommy is acting so strange and withdrawn. Can these social do-gooders ever get it through their thick skulls, the amount of human suffering that is the end result of the selfish, thoughtless and depraved act of RAPE?
© 2002 The Nassau Guardian
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