Rape inconsistent with marriage, says Golding
Personal testimonies of decades-long marriage punctuated a spirited debate on marital rape during a parliamentary committee's deliberations on the Sexual Offences Act in Gordon House on Wednesday.
Expressing deep resentment to the act of marital rape, committee chairman Senator Mark Golding said he could not fathom how a man could force himself on his wife and rape her.
"I have been married for 20-odd years and the idea that I can force myself on my wife is an anathema to me. To me, that is inconsistent with marriage and what marriage is for, so I don't know the people who are trying to say that men must have the right to rape their wives or if they forced themselves on to their wives without consent, it's not an offence. I don't get it."
However, his colleague, government Senator Lambert Brown, rushed to stop Golding in his tracks, saying he could not identify one person in the committee or outside the Parliament that was arguing that men should have a right to rape their wives.
"What I am saying is that we are going to be encouraging in the institution of marriage, complaints, because at the heart and soul of rape is the absence of consent, and we are going to be getting cases coming. Eventually, it may lead to an acquittal, but the consequence is going to be the breakdown and the destruction of marriage," Brown contended.
"By the way, Minister, I, too, have been married for 20-odd years, and in fact, I have been in a relationship since 1979 with the same person and I have had no case of trying to rape or force [my wife]. I want to make that clear," Brown added.
Golding reasoned that in other jurisdictions where married women have the right to say 'no', and forced sex constitutes an offence, there is no evidence of a flood of court cases.