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The Bahamian Marital Rape Law

October 14, 2009

There has been much debate recently in The Bahamas over an amendment to a law to make it illegal for a man to rape his wife, because, you know, pretty much every other country in the world has this law.

It has been met with much opposition from the conservative Christians who believe in the literal Bible – that when a couple marries they literally give their bodies to their partner. Ergo, a man can have sex with his wife whether she wants it or not.

Thankfully there has also been support of the amendment, mainly from educated women.

As a married man, I’ve been somewhat silent on the issue thus far, but a letter published in one of the papers today changed my mind. Below you’ll see a letter I wrote in response to the conservative viewpoint.

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Ever since the government proposed an amendment to the marital rape law I’ve watched with incredulity the range of discussion back and forth on the issue and, frankly, the ignorance portrayed by so many people who stand against the amendment is astounding. As a married Bahamian man I am embarrassed that so many of my fellow citizens can be so easily led down the path of ignorance.

For religious leaders in this country to publicly stand against a law that protects a woman from sexual abuse at the hands of her husband is unbelievable. In fact, it makes one wonder whether many of these men are running scared – they’re worried that if the law is passed they’ll no longer be allowed to exercise their misogynistic dominion over their wives.

The fact of the matter is that a wife claiming that her husband raped her is no different than a girlfriend claiming the same thing, or even a woman accusing her male friend. The man will not be convicted without sufficient evidence against him. An accusation does not mean instant imprisonment.

I’ve kept my mouth shut on the issue thus far, but recent letters published in the press have forced me to respond.

Many of these letters embody the rampant fallacies surrounding this issue. The various writers seem to believe that the passing of this law will increase promiscuity and infidelity among Bahamian men, and destroy the “sanctity” of marriage.

According to many of the letter writers, if a man comes home from work and requires sex and if his wife doesn’t give it to him, then the man will immediately go out and find somebody else to have sex with. The blame, of course, falls on the wife who was spiteful and only refused sex because the couple had an argument. Apparently a wife not being in the mood for lovemaking isn’t reason enough to refuse sex. Is that all it takes? Is it considered the wife’s fault that her husband cheats on her because she didn’t want sex at the same time he did (which, apparently, is spiteful behaviour)? If a man really feels this way then his marriage is already in trouble, and no marital rape law is going to exacerbate the problem.

The country is already battling with issues of infidelity, promiscuity and the decay of marriage. “Sweethearting” is rampant and, worst of all, socially accepted. The number of children growing up without fathers is increasing year after year, and in turn is helping to cause our crime rate to spiral out of control due to a lack of proper male role models in their lives. No amendment to a law is going to cause an increase in these problems – we’ve already been facing them for years, and our religious leadership is mostly staying quiet.

Simply put, good men who treat their wives with love and respect needn’t fear any marital rape law. And those men who do not treat their spouse respectfully should fear this law because what they are doing to the person they are supposed to love and cherish most in this world is disgusting and should not be tolerated in any modern society.

It comes down to a matter of love and respect. If men in this country truly loved and respected their wives, girlfriends and friends, there would be no need for this law. Unfortunately, we do need it, and nobody who considers him or herself to be a moral human being should oppose it.

A. Henderson
Nassau
October 14, 2009

Crazy Searches: Volume III

October 13, 2009

 

I know I shouldn’t, but I just had to share this with you.

While checking my visitor stats, numbers, search terms, etc., I came across yet another crazy random search that directed someone to my lil old blog.

In the past the front runner was “dragon semen” and I wondered what kind of person Google’s “dragon semen”. Well, we have a new winner, ladies and gentleman. 

The search term? “i have a big red circle with yellowish pus inside it on my testicle what is it?”

Yes, you read that right.

Some poor fool has an infected testicle. Unfortunately, I have no remedy for him. 

Good luck, infected testicle man!

The John Travolta trial and the stupidity of the PLP

October 5, 2009

 

 

The Bahamas has been in the news quite a bit lately. We have our usual, slickly produced commercials because, after all, it’s better in The Bahamas. A couple episodes of Scrubs were filmed here last year, highlighting Abaco in a very nice light. We’ve had the extravaganza that was the Miss Universe competition, where Heidi Montag performed in front of, in her own words, a “billion people” (never mind the fact that the actual viewer count hovered around the 30 million mark). We also have famed Hollywood playboy-director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, After the Sunset, X-Men 3) directing upcoming commercials for the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island and a casting call was just issued for extras in some Ugly Betty episodes to be filmed here.

All in all, we’ve had a good run of good press.

But then there’s the John Travolta extortion trial.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. Alright, fine, I don’t want you to leave my blog and become so engrossed in the intricacies of extortion that you never come back. Here’s a brief summary.

A few months ago, John Travolta and his family, including his 16 year old autistic son Jet, came down to The Bahamas to their home in Grand Bahama. Jet had a history of seizures, and one evening he had a seizure in the bathroom, fell down, and cracked his head.

Medics were called, and Jet was rushed to the hospital. Travolta wanted his son airlifted to Florida, not taken to the local hospital, so the medics made Travolta sign a “refusal of care” form, which essentially cleared the medics of any liability should Jet die.

Long story short, Jet was taken to the local hospital where he, sadly, passed away. Tarino Lightbourne, one of the medics, reportedly kept the “refusal of care” form because it had a celebrity signature on it, rather than pass it over to the hospital as he was meant to.

Allegedly, it quickly dawned on Lightbourne that this document could be detrimental to Travolta’s career, as it could imply he didn’t care enough about his son, so he, along with his lawyer, PLP Senator Pleasant Bridgewater (yes, that is her real name) decided to extort $25 million from Travolta.

As an aside, the ruling political party is the Free National Movement (FNM). The opposition is the Progressive Liberal Part (PLP) who, for the most part, are anything but progressive or liberal. 

Now, Travolta’s local representation is another PLP senator called Allyson Maynard Gibson. When she found out about the extortion plot she contacted the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to disclose this information, as extortion is illegal. The police became involved, tapped phones, recorded meetings and eventually arrested both Lightbourne and Bridgewater.

Maynard-Gibson recently testified at the trial, and detailed her involvement with bringing the plot to the attention of the authorities.

According to our local tabloid newspaper, The Punch (which is almost always proved right, whether it be four days or four months down the line), senior PLP party members are furious with Maynard-Gibson for “betraying” her fellow PLP member Bridgewater, and are calling for the PLP leader, Perry Christie, to expel her from the party.

Now, I usually stay silent on the inevitable squabbles that occur within political parties (especially politicians as immature as the ones we have here), but this is ridiculous. The PLP should be commending Maynard-Gibson for the courage it took to testify against a colleague and, presumably, a friend. Instead they condemn the poor woman for doing the right thing?

It is this very behaviour that makes the PLP, time and time again, live up to it’s reputation as a corrupt party. The PLP has had two decades to try to shake off the shackles of the Pindling-era, where corruption was at an all time high and we were rapidly hurting towards a Zimbabwe/Mugabe-esq country, yet they keep fucking up and destroying, piece by piece, what little credibility they have left.

The PLP’s annual convention is being held this month. For one of the first times there are numerous challenges to the party’s top positions – leader, deputy leader and chairman. If times do not change, and if the PLP’s old guard retains power, then I shudder to think what will become of this party.

Shame on you.

 

Bahamas for Sale?

September 25, 2009

I didn’t think I would have to post about this today, but apparently it’s only 3pm and I am bored out of my mind. So here we go.

It’s about the Chinese.
Now, I love the Chinese. They have awesome food (especially ‘real’ Chinese food, rather than ‘American’ Chinese food. I’m talking dim-sum, etc. Delicious). They have made almost everything I own, most of it handmade by highly skilled 6-yr old Chinese craftsmen, and they’re the most capitalist communist country in the world. They also seem to be quite peaceful; I don’t think they’ve been in any wars in recent decades (disregarding the wars they routinely hold against their own people, but that can be classified as… regular crowd control, let’s say). So, I love the Chinese. 
But they’re taking over The Bahamas, and we can’t quite figure out why.
Not overtly taking over, mind you, but very subtly. Subtly in the way that in 20 years we’ll wake up, don our military caps adorned with a red star, march into the central square and salute the late Chairman Mao. 
People will say “how did this happen?”, or, “who let such a thing happen?”, or, “when did this all start?”
The answer? It’s happening right now.
China loaned The Bahamas over $100 million to build new roads. For the new, shiny Bahamian national stadium we’re using a Chinese construction company, and China has given us the money for it. I swear, the front gate of the construction site looks like it’s been taken straight from downtown Shanghai; red Chinese characters on a large, white concrete entryway with Chinese flags flying above. The Chinese are now talking about initiating large-scale commercial farming on some of the family islands and they’re talking about investing a couple-hundred million dollars in the Baha Mar Resort on Cable Beach.
Long story short, they’re buying up The Bahamas, piece by piece, albeit all things we sorely need (new roads, stadium, more resorts, new industries, etc.)
The real question – what have we promised them in return?

A Letter to Myself

September 24, 2009

Inspired by a certain someone’s blog post, which was itself inspired by Steph in the City and her Group Blog Thursday, I decided to follow suit and write a letter to the graduation-day version of myself.

 

Dear Ash, circa 2002,

 

You just graduated high school. The ceremony was pretty crap, I know. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better with nostalgia. Just be glad it’s over.

 

Unlike many of your high school classmates you’re not headed off to university right away. Instead you, and the parents, decided that you should stay at home for a year and work. I know the future looks uncertain – you don’t have a job yet, you don’t know where you’re going to university, you don’t know how you and your girlfriend are going to handle the continued long distance. But don’t worry, everything has a way of working out.

 

You won’t find a stable job until October. You’ll spend the summer flitting about, hanging out with friends, partying. You’ll work for two weeks here, two days there, but don’t worry, you’ll settle down and everything will be ok. You’ll meet some great people, and the contacts you get at the job will still come in very handy today. 

 

You’ll apply to a handful of top universities, but you’ll only get into one. However, the one you get in to you will have applied to only days before the application deadline – DO NOT MISS IT. Your time at university will change your life. It will teach you hard work, and the shame of failure. It will teach you about the perils of excess drinking. It will focus you. You won’t graduate with top grades, as you’ve been used to thus far, but you will have a hell of a time getting there. One tip though; do not take Intro to Computer Science as an easy credit in your fourth year. It will almost destroy you, and you’ll learn nothing from it.

 

University will also allow you to meet your wife, which brings me to this next point. No, things with your high school girlfriend will not work out. You’ll instigate the breakup and then you’ll second guess yourself and ask for her back. She’ll say no and devastate you. Yes, it’s very sad. But you’ll be ok. You’ll be single for about 3 months and then you’ll start dating again. And you’ll never be single again. No, you don’t meet your wife, but you’ll embark on a journey of serial monogamy. You’ll date older girls, younger girls, Jewish girls, intellectuals and some with… questionable moral fiber. But you’ll eventually meet your wife who is, frankly, incredible. She’s too good for you, but don’t let her know that.

 

You’ll lose your religion. It’s the best thing that’ll happen to you. You will be free. You’ll have a hard time letting go, and you’ll sound ridiculously stupid and narrow minded when you say that the Bible is true and that homosexuality is wrong, but you’ll learn. You’ll learn that no, the Bible is not true, and while it may have some good advice, it is but one view of the world, which you’ll come to understand has great historical significance but very little real impact on your own life. You’ll also meet some fabulous fabulously-gay friends and you will fight for their rights as equals. 

 

Unlike many of your peers you won’t spend hours agonizing over which degree to do – you’ll do English Literature, like you always knew you would, and you’ll worry about what to do with it later. Your original intent to get into the advertising industry will happen, but you’ll have to suffer through retail stores, telemarketing, coffee shops and, finally, a stint in a public relations firm to get there. But once you arrive, you’ll love it. You’ll enjoy your job so much, in fact, that you won’t even call in sick because you’ll feel bad. 

 

After shuffling through hobby after hobby you’ll come to pick up photography, as most college students do. But you’ll stick with it and eventually people will pay you to take photos and you’ll happily spend thousands of dollars on equipment. You’ll also make a fantastic friend through your hobby who will photograph your fabulous wedding and will guide and mentor you in photography. 

 

Get the tattoo you know you want. You won’t regret it. And your parents won’t be too upset.

 

Cherish your car, it’s the greatest one you’ll ever own. Try not to destroy it.

 

Grow up, but don’t worry, you’ll never grow up too much. You’ll simply become a little more thoughtful, and a little less foolish.

 

Curb your temper before it’s too late. 

 

Love your friends without hesitation. They’re the greatest people in your life.

 

And don’t worry, every problem, every concern, every struggle will all work out in the end. 

 

You’re a lucky young man, don’t take it for granted. 

I’m Not Dead

September 21, 2009

I’m not dead. Well, not yet anyway. I take each day as it comes, but I’ve been consistently alive every day so far now.

I should have a running counter, like at fuel depots – 9,060 Days Without An Accident – Safety First. 

I will post here again, I promise. And I will be honest (i.e., my anonymity is no more). I have lots of news, and it was news I couldn’t say if I disguised who I was. So that’ll change.

But not right now. I’m dreadfully busy at work writing some god-awful radio ads.

Michael Jackson loves cooked pork

July 6, 2009

Edit: I tried to get this story finished by the last TMI Thursday, but I wanted to post it now rather than waiting because it has been far, far too long. My fans, all 3 of you, must be so very disappointed. I also used MJ’s name in the title to get traffic. I’m a whore, what can I say?

This epic tale is going to gross many of you out, and for that I apologize. But, much like my missing testicle story, this tale tackles a profoundly serious medical condition that, if left untreated or unexplored, could lead to devastating medical problems. Maybe. I’m no doctor, but all I can tell you is this hurt like a bitch and it would have hurt more had I not sorted the shit out.

Flash back a little bit.

I’m around 15 years old, and my big toes began to hurt.

At first it wasn’t a huge deal; there was a little bit of pain now and again from my feet, and when I stubbed my toe I endured such agony that I seriously considered biting my toes off.

As time went on, the pain grew. When I tried to put my socks on, it hurt. The time came for me to get new shoes. Rather than get my toes checked out by the doctor first, I decided to get the shoes first and see the doctor later.

Because putting shoes on hurt my toes, I ended up buying a pair of luminous metallic purple/green Nike basketball shoes, four sizes too big, which, in the words of my friends, looked like killer whales on my feet.

They were right.

Now, I haven’t told you what my toes looked like when the socks and killer whale shoes were removed. The toes were red, and swollen. The nails were yellow. And the nail beds… oh! The nail beds. Gross. Orange/yellow congealed pus flecked with dried blood. And it smelled.

It was disgusting.

The time came when I could no longer endure the pain (or the sight or the smell) and went to the doctor.

The doc checked me out and, thanks to his eight years of schooling and countless hours of real work, determined that I had ingrown toenails. On both of my feet.

Now, I know I’m not a trained medical professional, but I would assume that the best way to get rid of ingrown toenails would be to chop them out. With a scalpel. Apparently the doctor had other ideas.

He decided to burn them out of my foot.

You heard right. Burn. Foot. Out of.

Looking back, I’m not surprised that I had reservations about this… treatment method. But at the time I assumed that doctors knew everything. After all, countless years of medical school must count for something, right?

They decided to use local anesthetic on me, which sounded fantastic until I realized it meant they would have to inject the anesthesia into the delicate inflamed decaying flesh around my toenails with gigantic fucking needles. Five times. Per toe.

Once I’d stopped convulsing from the pain, the procedure started. Some kind of miniature blowtorch was used to literally burn the nail out of my foot, as well as burn off the surrounding infected flesh.

It didn’t hurt. Not one bit. I felt a little bit of warmth around my toes from the flamethrower burning my flesh, but no pain.

I sat back as the procedure took place, and pretty soon I began daydreaming about pork. And the more I thought about it, the more I yearned for a pulled pork sandwich, or a pork chop, or even bacon. I even imagined I could smell pork being cooked.

I opened my eyes, sat up, and realized I could smell pork.

It was coming from my toes.

The smell of my own cooked flesh was literally making my mouth water. As disgusting as it was, I couldn’t stop. I was starving. If I wasn’t so inflexible I may very well have bent down and taken a bit of a nibble. I’m sure it was cooked well enough.

Sadly I couldn’t end the story at that point. Ultimately, the burning method didn’t work, so I went back and had them cut out, and have experienced no problems since.

But I still love the smell of cooked pork.

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