Barbados Women As Property
Only a few days after a United States Department of State report criticized Barbados for “societal violence against women and children”, Shona heard last night of a woman who was recently raped by her estranged husband – and our police say they are unable to lay charges because our laws are reflect a time when wives were owned by their husbands.
As it was explained to Shona, the woman has been separated from her husband for two years, but has not yet been able to obtain a divorce for reasons of money. The dispute over the marital assets and custody of the children is still before the courts as it has been for almost two years.
According to Shona’s source, the woman has not lived with or had relations with her husband for 25 months since he beat her one night over two years ago and she returned to live with her mother. Recently the “husband” forced his way into her mother’s home and raped her. There is no doubt about the rape because the neighbours saw him force the door and heard her screams, however it was all over pretty quick and by the time the police arrived he was gone.
The police do not doubt that there was a rape, but the victim has been told that a formal rape charge is not possible because, unlike some other jurisdictions, our rape law has not been updated to take care of a situation where there is no doubt that the couple no longer have a marriage, but no formal divorce has yet been obtained.
If all the above is true as Shona believes it to be, we cannot fault the Royal Barbados Police Force. We lay the blame squarely on the members of the past BLP Government who for 15 years failed to deliver even the most basic of modern laws that many other countries take for granted.