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Marital rape: blurred lines

By Anonymous Monday, October 2, 2017 - 06:00
Can someone be raped by their spouse? And where do you draw the line between sexual privacy and rape within a marriage?

‘There’s no such thing as rape in marriage. A woman’s body is supposed to satisfy her husband whenever he wants; and if she’s not willing to, she can’t blame him for getting sex elsewhere.’

These were the words of my Chemistry teacher at an all-girls Catholic private school. At the time she threw a bunch of bible verses at us to support this claim.
I was confused and, even at that time, pretty sure this was a false notion. I didn’t have any backup bible texts or any other facts for that matter. Just a clear sense of what was right.

‘But what if, I, as the wife, am feeling unwell or tired and just not up to having sex?’ I asked.
‘Oh, you’re going to be one of those “I have a headache”-women aren’t you? Take a painkiller and perform your role as a wife!’ she shouted, and the whole class erupted in laughter.
‘Even if we’ve fought and are mad at each other? Am I not allowed to not want to have sex? Wow. That sounds terrible.’
‘Look class, like I said, if you are withholding your husband’s matrimonial rights, don’t be upset when another woman is keen to offer what you can’t.’

That’s how the first discussion I heard on marital rape was concluded.
Appallingly, nearly fifteen years later, I keep hearing my teacher’s words echoed in many other people’s voices. Especially women.

My stance on this hasn’t changed either; in fact, I feel more strongly about how wrong this is.

I find it difficult to articulate just how there is absolutely no difference between rape inside and outside of marriage.

Because I find it clear and straightforward.

You know, rape = bad. Consent = good. Very clear.

I will, however, try and give a few reasons of just why this form of violence, which is usually against women, is terrible.

  1. No means no.
    No buts, no ifs. If a woman says she does not want to have sex, it should always be respected.
     
  2. Rape, any kind of rape, is wrong.
     
  3. A woman’s body belongs to herself.
    She can choose whoever and whenever she would like to share it with. And no marital document or vow changes this. People should stop feeling entitled to our bodies.
     
  4. Blurring the lines of rape in a marriage inevitably brings questions to rape outside of marriage. And that sets back the question of consent a million years back.
     
  5. ‘But it’s almost impossible to prove a woman has been raped by her husband.’ That’s a reason I keep hearing. Well to that I say, the justice system should pull up its socks and find a solution to this. The victims of this violence should not be silenced because the solution is difficult.
    Come on guys!

Finally, you should be very suspicious, and afraid, of any man who claims to love you but would sexually force themselves on you. That is the highest form of hate and disrespect.


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