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Aids support group wants marital rape exemption removed from law

Published:Thursday | June 8, 2017 | 9:32 AM

Jamaica AIDS Support for Life has called for the removal of the marital rape exemption in the Sexual Offences Act.

In a submission to the joint select committee of Parliament reviewing the Sexual Offences Act and related laws, Patrick Lalor, who represents Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, recommended that section five of the legislation be removed. 

He says the section, which governs marital rape, should be scrapped so that a married woman who is forced to have sex against her will is recognised in law as being raped regardless of her marital status.

Lalor contends that the present position that a married woman cannot be raped by her husband unless certain conditions are met is untenable.

He says an examination of gender-based violence and its connection to HIV over the last three to four years has found that there is an extremely high number of cases of intimate partner violence. 

Lalor argues that most of these incidents happen in marriages as well as in common law relationships.

He says these situations normally involve forced sex where there is no opportunity for the woman to negotiate condom use.

This, he says, increases the risk of the woman to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.