Can a Husband Actually Rape His Wife?

Rape is defined as sexual intercourse without consent. Consent must be freely and willingly given and the woman must be in a position to give her consent.

Does it apply in a marital relationship? Can a husband rape his wife? In many African cultures, the bride price and dowry are vital aspects of the rites of marriage without which the marriage is not approved or is said to be incomplete. Brides’ families look forward to sending the “list” to the family of the prospective groom.

On the fixed date, the groom’s family hands over the items on the list including the bride price and the girl is handed over to the groom’s family. She now “belongs” to the groom and becomes his wife. Some would interpret this to mean that she becomes his “property”, that he can have sex with when he desires. After all he has paid for her.

In this context, a husband is said to have paid for his wife and she does not have an opinion when it comes to sexual relations. In other words, she cannot deny her husband sex. She cannot say No even if she is not in the mood. If he wants it and she is not in the mood, he has the right to take it forcefully. After all she is his property and by virtue of the bride price and dowry, he can have his way anytime, whether she consents or not.

Can a husband rape his wife?

Rape or sexual assault within marriage is not uncommon. Many women are survivors of sexual assault or some sort of sexual coercion by husbands or intimate partners. In private discussions, many wives have revealed that they had unwanted sex with their husbands because they believe it is their “duty” or because their husbands begged them or even bullied them. Some wives are even physically abused if they say No..

This is a form of domestic violence and women are afraid to speak out or are too embarrassed to speak out. The consequences are the same as rape between people who are not married.

These wives suffer from depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of trust, shock, anxiety and intense fear. In a country without data and statistics, it is difficult to state the number of women who have faced this type of assault Marital rape can happen in any relationship. It can happen once or many times.

It does not have to be violent or even physical. It can happen in a non violent relationship that is very loving. However it is more common in violent or abusive relationships. Where there is domestic violence, there is always the possibility of marital rape.

If you are in a relationship, is your husband or your partner raping you? Can a husband rape his wife? What do you think?

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