Monu Gupta
Posted July 26, 2013 from Bangladesh

Marital Rape is Rape. Rape is Rape and an extreme criminal offence whether it is marital rape or intimate rape or stranger rape or force-only rape. But marital rape is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse and it’s a form of partner rape, of domestic violence, and of sexual abuse. Here rapist is a betrayal of trust. The rapist is a person whom a woman knew intimately, with whom she shared a history, a home and quite often children. He is a person with whom a woman have made love to on a frequent basis often over many years, with whom she has shared her the most intimate secrets and fears, and whom she believed to love her and want the best for her, who would never intentionally hurt the woman. Marital rape is so destructive because it betrays the virtual basis of the matrimonial relationship and it may be defined as any refusal intercourse or penetration vaginal, anal or oral with wife by force, threat to force or the wife is not capable to say-so to sex. Marital rape is generally sub-divided into three categories: based on the evaluation of violence involve to rape-violent rape, force-only rape, and sadistic rape. Sometimes it’s not very easy to define by clear-cut lines between above different types of rape, seeing as rape can involve any one of the above or a combination of three. The rapist may use coercion tactics and as much as necessary force to control the victim initially and apply increased violence if the victim struggles against. In many cases woman may not fight back due to living in one ordinary house with other members of family who habitually come to know from and or not to disturb children who sleeping nearby and risking to eyewitness the rape; shocking of experience which paralyses her. In addition, victim does not want to do anything which may injure her with sadistic rape. And sometimes, the victim may also be so confused and not sensitive by constant emotional abuse and traumatized, that she simply does not know how to act or react when sex is forced on her. Pre-modern societies Pagan, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and others almost consistently promoted patriarchy throughout demonizing women. Even the Aristotle did not believe that women had souls. Many medieval Christian priests, Bible texts, Jewish and Christian clerics, Hindu sages and monks, Muslim priests and philosophers constantly portrayed as women as subhuman!!!! Unfortunately we find women in Christian texts as “the devil’s gateway” and or “the root of all evil”, in Sanskrit and Sanskrit based languages of Hindu women presented as an object of sex or RAMAN (hence the pejorative RAMANI), some Muslim scholars offered women with full of misogynic prescriptions.

Following the history of the pleas of Crown Hale CJ analyses the issue in 1736 as “the husband cannot be guilty of rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife for by their mutual matrimonial consent and retract.” Unfortunately this judiciary opinion is strongly stand for that once married a woman does not have the right to refuse sex to her husband.

In 1989 SA Adamo opined that husband’s rape mostly to reinforce their power or to control over their wives or families or to vent anger or aggression with holding thoughts that “women enjoy forced sex”, “women say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’” or it’s wife duty to have sex” etc.

However the boys and girls of the societies of Bangladesh and India have been receiving such learning about overall man-woman and their relation of sex from these long lasting social educations/thoughts of patriarchy instead of growing up with equal eyes to both to all walks of life outer and inner.

Many women who are victims of marital rape have great difficulty in defining it is rape as if doing by a stranger. The traditional thought of the society that it is impossible for husband to rape his wife. Because habitually our marriage vows to women to step down from say any over own body and sexuality and unfortunately here yet the husbands enjoy statutory exemption from rape against wives. S.375 of the Penal Code 1860 specifically creates an ‘exception’ in the terms: “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under thirteen years of age, is not rape”. A similar exception is created by S.9 of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000. Unfortunately, it clearly excludes marital rape. So a wife while comes to know the prevailing law of the country and when she becomes raped will often question to own self about her right to refuse sex with husband according to his portrait of sexuality.

On the other hand, though reproductive and sexual rights of women belong to the interpersonal dimension and particularly consist of women’s right to control over their body and sexuality. It’s almost sure that majority women of the country specifically in rural areas had ever heard about reproductive rights properly and or improperly. Most outlooks of women of the country are that they could ever imagine themselves denying their husband sex and to be shamed to women as decrease of dignity if they propose sex to husband from their side. Rather they habitually feel as it’s always woman’s duty to be accessible for sexual intercourse and a good wife always pleases her husband. Among the women of Muslim community thoughts as woman should have to drop everything if their husband needs to have sex. Hence, educated and or uneducated women are rare to unveil the incident after happening to others due to bearing in mind own dignity and hidden social taboo.

Based on above long lasting thoughts of man-woman of the society, men as a matter of course are pictured sexuality by themselves in contrast to women and it’s very strongly linked to power. This power is more related to strength in the excerpt, but could also indicate the power “over” that the husband possesses. A woman often victim of violence psychologically and physically and sometime by both ways if she refuses sex or does not please her husband.

Researchers D. Finkelhor and K.YIIo in 1985 estimated that between 10% and 14% of all married women experience rape in marriage. It was overall data but particularly in India, according to UNDP-2000, 2/3rds of all married women claim to have been victims of marital rape. ICRW in 2011 showed that 1 in every 5 men admitted to raping their wives. In Bangladesh, such data of marital rape until now is almost unknown but it might be specified in comparison to India because more or less a similar socio-cultural livelihood is existed in between two countries. And the percentage of marital rape in Bangladesh might be precise not less then the status of India. Whatever the percentage be real but the impacts of marital rape in matrimonial life and among the children are horrible and long-term. Except financial the psychological, social and humanitarian impacts are hard to calculate but the families of victim women and concerned society are suffered the most.

According to research by RAINN, marital rape often results in more damage to victims than rape by strangers, such as: (a) Longer recovery from trauma; (b) Higher likelihood of repeated assaults; (c) The perpetrator is more likely to use “anal and oral rape to humiliate, punish and take ‘full’ ownership of their partners”; (d) Pressure to stay with perpetrator; (e) Negative effects on children in the household; (f) Difficulty in identifying what happened as a crime, given the victim’s relations of love and care with the accused’. However, at common law husbands were exempt from prosecution for raping their wives. Once widely ignored by law, marital rape is now repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized. In 2006, it was estimated that marital rape could be prosecuted in at least 104 countries (in four of these countries, marital rape could be prosecuted only when the spouses were judicially separated), and since 2006 several other countries have outlawed spousal rape. As most of the people of Bangladesh are Muslim, this might have been the cause for the lawmakers for not including marital rape as a crime in the penal law legislation yet. Even the courts are also reluctant to make the interpretation as they find it confusing whether the SHARIAH narrates it as crime. Islam teaches both husband and wife the understanding of having to minimize the times when they are reluctant to respond to their spouses' sexual demand. It’s not because any side is a "property" to the other and because Islam approves what is called “marital rape” and or because Islam prohibits adultery and marital infidelity. Ibn Magah reported that the Prophet (PBUH) has commanded husbands not to start a sexual intercourse, unless they start by 'flirting, talking to and kissing the wife' till she is 'in the mood' and is capable of sharing the pleasure of these moments. Not only that the Prophet (PUBH) warned husbands against what he called: "falling onto women like animals." Thus Islam has no bar to endorse laws against marital rape in Bangladesh. Even Muslim majority countries have amended their laws accordingly, e.g. Malaysia and Turkey. In USA, since July 1993, it is now illegal in every state to rape one’s spouse. However, the offence remains worryingly under-prosecuted. In Britain, spousal exemption effectively remained in place till 1992 when it was abolished by the House of Lords [(R V R (1992); Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994]. South Africa too has amended its penal laws to accommodate marital rape [The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendments Act (SOA) 2007]. Therefore, it is submitted that this anachronistic and archaic provision should be abolished in Bangladesh as soon as possible in line with the growing demands of time.

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