Familiarity with Marital Rape
The British jurist Mathew Hale’s said, “The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual consent and contract, the wife hath given up herself this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract.”
I guess the saying is enough to prove the deep rooted situation of marital rape.
It’s not for the first time that I have heard about Marital Rape. There used to be Saathi Sanga Manka Kura (SSMK) listeners sharing their stories of getting raped by their spouse. And a few months ago, one of the popular social media pages shared an update about the issue. But the response and understanding of people regarding the issue made me agitated. Recently, I came across one story regarding the consequence of marital rape and I was deeply touched. So thought of sharing stories through this post.
Here’s a screenshot of the original post from the page:
Ignorant and Insensitive responses
Here are some of the comments from the post which are completely ignorant, insensitive and irresponsible!
What is Marital Rape?
According to the dictionary meaning, marital rape is a rape committed by the person to whom the victim is married.
Unwanted sexual activities by a spouse without the other person’s consent is marital rape. Marital rape is done using threats, physical, emotional or mental force. Spousal rape is another common name for marital rape.
Marital Rape and Global Scenario
Turning back the history, the cases of marital rape existed centuries ago but were strongly protested during the second wave of feminism. In the last 2-3 decades, such cases have been brought into legal actions. More than 140+ countries have already recognized marital rape as a criminal offense. However, countries like India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Maldives, Bangladesh, Afghanistan among many other countries in Africa and Asia haven’t criminalized marital rape. Similarly, Malaysia, Singapore, Lebanon do not have a concrete law and is confusing when it comes to marital rape.
Laws regarding Marital Rape in Nepal
Nepal is among notable countries which identify marital rape as a crime. The criminal law of Nepal has defined marital rape as a criminal offense. Under Nepal criminal law, sub-section 4 of section 219 states “If a man rapes his wife when he is still in a marital relationship with her, he shall be sentenced to up to five years in Jail.”
Marital Rape Statistics in Nepal
12 years of the formulation of law against marital rape in Nepal already. Still, the reported cases are far too less. In 2014, a survey was conducted among 362 married women going to the health post for their checkups. Among them, 56.6 percent of women were facing spousal rape on a daily basis or frequently. They were raped by their husbands even during the time of illness, pregnancy, right after delivery and menstruation. Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion and pregnancy loss), vaginal tears and unwanted pregnancy were some of the staggering consequences of the marital rape among those women surveyed.
There are far too many unreported cases of spousal rape. That’s the problem. Most of them are unaware of this issue.
One major reason why this prevails is because of the continuation of such practices for a long time. And no one goes against it!
Further reading: Manisha Koirala and her inspiring book HEALED!
Stories of Marital Rape
“She shared about her marital relationship. Some of the stories and incidents which she shared completely shook me and I was disgusted. Here are some of them:
“My husband is in Dubai currently and it is way better because there is a strict rule regarding prostitution. Before that, he was in Malaysia and he used to be in a sexual relationship with a lot of girls. “Malaysia ma ta paisa tiryo vani gharmai kt bolauna milne raicha ni” (In Malaysia, if we pay money, we can invite the girls in our own house) is what he used to say. He almost got married to someone else whom he met through Facebook but later the girl came to know about me and so, she left.”
Out of curiosity, I asked her how she was able to find out this story. Guess what it’s her husband who told her. To my disbelief, I again asked if she protested about it. She did but every time, it went in vain. He would ignore and walk away.
She was married to him when she was only 17 and even during that time, he had many girls but she was happy that he chose her to marry. At times, she thinks of separating but they already have a son and it has not been easier for her to decide.
She is uneducated, has difficulty finding right Nepali words while speaking but her eyes don’t lie. The deeper wounds are left unhealed. She worked as a house helper since her childhood and doesn’t have any relatives except her husband.
Though her husband without any guilt, would sleep with lots of women paying them for sex, she was tortured doubting her all the time asking details of her day every time and even forcibly has the password of her Facebook account.
She continued further mentioning that she has an irregular menstrual period. Last time during her menstruation, she bled for 8 months and I asked her if she went to the doctor for the checkup. She didn’t and opines it’s because of the abortion and she has aborted many times already. Her husband came 8 months back, she got pregnant and had to abort. I asked her why they did not use any precaution. She said her husband will never agree to use a condom despite knowing all the consequences she might have to go through.
She said, “There are countless incidents of forced sex.”
I was disgusted, horrified and frustrated. Damn, where are we? This mindset is difficult to change in years!!
I remembered another story told by one of my neighbors. The very night of marriage, a girl was rushed to the hospital and was admitted in an emergency section. The reason for her suffering was because of the forced sex in the very first day of marriage and she had continuous bleeding.
I cannot imagine how that girl in her early 20’s must have felt when our society officially gives the right to a stranger to play with her body even if it is against her will, even if she is in pain and bleeding.
What surprises me is the fact that they are still married and pretend to know nothing about the past at all.”
Another story of Marital Rape!
They had a love affair before and their relationship turned into a successful marriage. Everything is going well. They are happy with how life is treating them. Except for one thing!
The husband loves his wife but doesn’t compromise at all when it comes to sex. If he asks for it, she has to be ready any time of the day. It’s been years of ongoing process. No excuse if she’s on her periods or preparing for exams. He doesn’t care if she is late for her work or unwell. Doesn’t care if she’s hanging out with her friends; she has to go home as soon as possible and fulfill his desire. When he wants sex, he f*****g WANTS it.
(Fast forward to 16:00 onward if you directly want to listen to the story)
Further reading: Toxic Masculinity!
Shocking Facts about Marital Rape
The victims of marital rape are more likely to be raped multiple times
According to research conducted by the Wellesley Centers for Women, marital rape victims are more likely to be raped multiple times compared with stranger and acquaintance rape victims. The survey found out that at least one-third of the women respondents reported being raped more than 20 times during the course of their relationship.
I am sure the reality is alarming in case of Nepal.
Domestic Violence is closely related to marital rape
If domestic violence is a part of the spousal relationship, the wife is likely to suffer from rape by 70%.
Reinforcing power, anger and control
According to the study conducted by the Wellesley Centers for Women, most husband- rapists assaulted their wives to reinforce their power, express anger and control over their wives.
No Specific Social Characteristics
According to the National Online Research Center on Violence Against Women, almost 2/3rd of the wives are first raped by their husbands when they are under the age of 25.
One of the recent stories I came across was in “The Storytellers”. She was sharing her marital rape story which in turn led to a miscarriage.
Further reading: Let’s talk about DEPRESSION!
Conditions of marital rape; How to know if someone is being raped?
Just because someone is married doesn’t mean he has all the rights to impose his wife for sex whenever he wants. There is something called “CONSENT”. Marriage is a bond and it doesn’t change the rule of consent. How can he love someone if he forces the counterpart for his momentary pleasure?
Physical, Verbal and Mental threat
Having sex through verbal, emotional and mental threat is a rape. Threat of harming physically is another example. How can one expect a consensual sex if he thinks of harming his partner? And aren’t women compelled to obey their husbands rather than being hurt?
Accusing wife of not being an ideal wife, emotional blackmailing, threatening to have sex with outsiders if she doesn’t obey him, blaming her for not being good in bed, threatening to abandon family and kids if she doesn’t comply with his demands for sex etc. are some of the pertaining issues that fall under this category.
Sex when the wife is asleep, intoxicated or unconscious.
Control over all the family matters and then compelling wife to have sex. Taking control over all the possessions and not letting wife any of them means the wife is a prisoner in her own home. So she is compelled to offer whatever her husband asks for. Sex is no exception.
In the end!
Sex is all about CONSENT. And consent means MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING not a one sided decision.
As a wife, how would it feel to have a rapist husband? Getting raped time and again! Devilish attitude from her own life partner. Real man doesn’t aspire to become one, does he?