Laws fall short
With the numbers of reported rapes in the Caribbean outstripping figures in the wider world, a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies feels the region’s laws relating to sexual offences and domestic violence “still don’t go far enough”.
Tracy Robinson, a senior lecturer in law, said the numbers of reported rapes in the Caribbean were triple the figures in international countries.
Citing a World Bank report, Robinson said global figures for reported rapes were 15 per 100 000, while figures for some countries in the region were as high as 112 or 133 per 1 000.
“We’ve made important changes to our laws but they don’t go far enough,” Robinson told judges, magistrates and other members of the legal fraternity from Barbados, Caribbean and international countries, who were at the opening ceremony of the third biennial conference of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers at Accra Beach Hotel.
She said many of the reforms still did not criminalize a wide category of sexual offences – rape in marriage; rape by anal penetration; rape in relation to men who face violations by other men – in the specific context of conflict and in correctional facilities.
“And impunity is high for sexual violence and the rates of conviction are low,” she noted.
Robinson also told her audience that she was “stunned” that as Barbados looked towards its 50th anniversary of Independence, the country had still not acted on the recommendations of the Forde Commission.
“There is still no clear right to non-discrimination on the basis of sex.
“It would be an embarrassment and shame if Barbados approached its 50th anniversary with that state of affairs,” Robinson noted. (HLE)