When a rape is committed by the person to whom the victim is married it is termed as marital rape. While this heinous crime a punishable offence in several countries, there are still some nations which are yet to even acknowledge this type of sexual assault. Furthermore, there are also some countries where it is recognized and legal. Presently, a majority of countries have stringent laws regarding sexual assault; so how did they miss out on this?
There are many factors that make it an arduous task to even acknowledge marital rape as a crime in certain countries. Cultural practices embedded with patriarchy and misogyny are the main contributors. For example, in certain societies women are seen as property who after marriage belongs to their husbands. The idea of a woman as an individual being who has a say in a physical relationship is an alien concept. As a matter of fact, several marriages are consummated by marital rape.
It is extremely unrealistic to endeavor for women’s safety while keeping an archaic mentality that denies women the right to refuse consent to their partner simply because she is married to him. The laws of a country reflect the people it is being governed by. If a majority of the people fails to recognize marital rape as crime the law won’t either. The presence of such norms continues to degrade the position of women in society and often end up portraying men as unhinged beings who find it justifiable to violate their spouses.
In order to enact a law to criminalise marital rape it is crucial to first make people understand that marriage is not an establishment of undeniable consent. Also people must be taught to respect their bodies as well as those of others. All of this has to begin from a grass root level.
Marriage shouldn’t be an excuse to strip women of the right they have over their bodies. As a matter of fact there is no excuse for doing that.