Is Marital Rape a Thing?
Marital rape is an uncomfortable subject to discuss; it gets so many people irritated, angry, and even amused, so many people even find the term absurd, stupid, and even confusing. Before we go any further, Let us get familiar with the concepts rape and marital rape.
What is Rape?
Rape is defined as having sexual contact or intercourse with a person either by coercion, threats, when the person is unconscious, incapacitated, impaired, asleep, underage, or induced, all of which is without the consent of the person.
Rape goes both ways, i.e. a man, as well as a woman, can be raped. However, it is not a secret that the victims of rape are vastly, if not always women, in fact, when a case of rape is mentioned, one’s mind goes directly to the woman as the victim, so raping men is almost not a thing. Now, the definition of rape in terms of legal matters varies from country to country, but there is one thing these definitions have in common; “consent”.
What is Marital Rape?
Marital rape is having sexual contact or intercourse with one’s spouse (husband/wife) either by coercion, threats, when the spouse is unconscious, incapacitated, impaired, asleep, or induced, all of which is without the consent of the spouse.
Research has shown that 10-14% of married women experience marital rapes, out of these percentages of women who experience marital rape, only 3% are likely to speak out, some who do speak out, even withdraw their statement, or plead that these men are pardoned. It may also interest you to know that so many people do not actually believe that marital rape is a thing.
Reasons Why Victims Keep Mute
Some reasons why women who experience rape in marriage fail to speak up are these
Fear of mockery: in a place where more than half of the population do not and cannot even conceive of a thing as marital rape, it would be a comic relief show if a woman should say a thing as “my husband raped me” So, these women bottle up these experiences, and the cycle of this injustice continues.
Fear of divorce: in cases where the woman has no other place to go, it becomes almost impossible for the woman to rat out her husband, for the fear of the loss out of her matrimonial home.
Ignorance: some women do not even know that their husbands can rape them, so when these husbands eventually do, they find themselves on a new territory, with no idea what to do or how to react, they cannot even tell people because as a matter of fact, they wouldn’t know what to say.
Religion: another factor that is responsible for this silence is religion. Numerous religions teach that the wife should be submissive to her husband, but these religions fail to emphasize deeply on that context. So the members of such religions have taken it upon themselves to do so, and by doing so, many have defined being submissive, as a wife being a dummy or a puppet, who obediently does everything and anything asked by her husband, without objections. So, it becomes almost impossible for women who practice these religions to speak of marital rape.
Absence of penalty for offenders: in a country like Nigeria where marital rape is a foreign language, it because difficult for those who find themselves to report these cases to. They are faced with questions like; who to report to, where and when to report these cases, how to report, and even possible punishments of offenders.
In Nigeria, there is no law against marital rape; in fact, to these lawmakers it would seem as if such a thing as marital rape does not exist. It is indeed appalling and disturbing that so many women go through things like this, and the society, even our leaders’ look away, which shows us the level of patriarchy at which the world operates. The level of condoning nuisances, especially those coming from the male folks is highly condemn-able and ridiculous!
Marital rape is a thing, has always been a thing, and will continue to a thing. I encourage women who go through it, to take the bull by the horn, and seek for justice! Women suffer a lot of discrimination and injustice already, we have to stand up, and stand tall.
People who experience marital rape may have these problems:
. Low self esteem
. Deep hatred for spouse and even self hatred
What People Think
These are what some people had to say concerning the issue of marital rape
MAN 1: Marital rape? How can you say that I can rape my own wife? It does not happen! After all, I paid her bride price
MAN 2: I think since I am legally married to her, she can’t say I raped her.
WOMAN 1: (laughs) I don’t have to deny my husband sex, if I do and he forces me, (pauses) marriage is for better or worse.
MAN 3: Yes, marital rape exists. But why would a woman say no to her husband?
WOMAN 2: Rape is rape, whether the man is your husband or not. Men should know what no and stop means.
MAN 4: I paid her bride price, so she cannot deny me of my property