EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Doctor Babanding Daffeh of Kanifing General Hospital has recommended for status confirmation to be conducted on both the victim and the perpetrator whenever rape occurs.
Addressing women empowerment and protection stakeholders, including the National Assembly select committee on health, women, disaster, humanitarian relief and refugees during a consultative meeting on the draft 2019 women amendment bill on Thursday, Dr Daffeh told the stakeholders that this procedure should be applied whether the victim is penetrated or not.
The bill under amendment targets to review, amend and repeal all legislative provisions found to be discriminatory against women and girls in The Gambia in furtherance of the country’s international obligations and in line with the constitution and for connected matters.
Coordinator of the Network of Gender Based violence, Fallou Sowe observed that incest is not in the principal Act nor in the sexual offences Bill and it is a form of sexual act that is becoming very common in The Gambia. To address this, Sowe recommended for incest to be defined, prohibited and criminalise in the amendment.
He also recommended for age of consent to sex to be clearly defined in the 2019 sexual offences amendment bill by changing it from sixteen to 18 years. He said this will make the laws consistent.
Mr Sowe further told the gathering that marital age is a complex issue in Gambian societies because majority of the people are Muslims and it is argued that there is nothing like marital rape in Islam.
He recommended that the right to bail for persons accused of rape in section13 (3) of the bill be revoked, saying that it can cause serious conflict between the family of the victim and that of the accused.
Story written by Amie Faye