Bahamas - Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act, 1991 - Equality Now

Bahamas - Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act, 1991

  • Country: Bahamas
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Rape

Section 3 of Bahamas' Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 1991 explicitly allows marital rape.

Section 3. Rape is the act of any person not under fourteen years of age having sexual intercourse with another person who is not his spouse

(a) without the consent of that other person;
(b) with consent which has been extorted by threats or fear of bodily harm;
(c) with consent obtained by personating the spouse of that other person; or
(d) with consent obtained by false and fraudulent representations as to the nature and quality of the act.

Link to full law


There are no criminal penalties for marital rape. Article 15 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas: Whereas every person in the Bahamas is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, has the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following namely – (a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law . . .

Sex discrimination in laws purporting to address violence, or silence on the issue within the law, can actually promote or perpetuate violence against women and girls because there is little to deter perpetrators from committing crimes or inadequate recourse for victims; intimate partner and sexual violence is disproportionately inflicted upon women and adolescent girls. 

Laws allowing marital rape treat the wife as the property of the husband, and render her vulnerable to sexual violence and abuse within marriage. 

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