On marital rape
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The issue of marital rape has been on my mind for quite sometime already but reading the comments on this article on TOC has triggered me to write my views about it here and now.
Under Section 375 of the Penal Code, the offence of rape means the non-consensual penetration by a man, using his penis, of a woman’s vagina. Section 375(4) implies that, except in limited circumstances inapplicable to the majority of married women, this act will not amount to rape, if the perpetrator and the victim are married to each other.
Such a code is chauvinistic and should be repealed. Furthermore, it demeans the position of a married woman in the eyes of law. It not only allows men to use marriage as an excuse to force their wives to have sex with them, it also denies married women the right to say no or to claim rape.
In my opinion, raping your wife is rape, the same as raping your girlfriend, best friend, daughter, niece, neighbour, neighbour’s daughter or some random hot chick. All women should have the right to say no and be given legal standing to pursue justice if their rights have been violated, whether they are married or not. At the same time, all men must learn to respect their wives.
There is this argument however, that it seems ridiculous for a woman to say no to her husband. After all, they are married so how can they say no to sex with her husband? Personally I find that argument ridiculous in itself. Must a woman necessarily feel like having sex as and when her husband pleases and wants?
Let us take a look at the roles that a woman has to play in the 21st century. Assuming that she is married and has children, she plays the role of a wife and a mother. She also plays the role of a daughter as well as a daughter-in-law. On top of that, she may have to go out to work the same amount of time as her husband, if not more. Once she gets home from work, there are household chores to take care of, children and husband to spend time with. She might have family obligations to play, taking care of a medically unwell in-law or her own parents for example. Not all families can afford domestic helpers and not all husbands will spend time doing household chores, not even in the present day and age. She gets tired, both physically and mentally and might want to get a good rest for the day. Doesn’t she have the right to say no to her husband from time to time if she is mentally and physically not in the mood for sex? Must she submit to her husband’s needs and wants at all times if she feels unable to even generate the physical energy to do so? Under such circumstances, some men uses force to get what they want because their sexual needs are greater than the respect for their wives’ needs to rest. That is what I am really disturbed about. Sex must be consensual and enjoyable for both parties, and the wife should not have to bear the burden of being a victim of her husband’s inability to control the beast in himself, resulting in an unenjoyable marriage life and sexual activity.
Marital rape is a violation of a woman’s rights and should be considered as part of domestic abuse. If a man cannot respect his wife’s wishes, then he doesn’t love her. If a man cannot control his wee brain down south using his brain up north, then he deserves to be incarcerated by the law, whether the victim is his wife or otherwise. The protection of women against rape should be all across the board, irregardless of whether they are married to the perpetrator or not.
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