Nigeria as of present has no law against spousal rape, that’s not less expected for a country whose age of consent is 12, the lowest in the world. Lately, Nigerians have slowly inculcated the #MeToo movement and the idea of feminism, but a lot is still yet to be said, and we are far from reaching gender equality especially in the home.
The issues of sexual and domestic violence within marriage and the family unit, and more specifically, the issue of violence against women have come to growing international attention. Still, in many countries, marital rape either remains outside the criminal law or is illegal but widely tolerated. Laws are rarely being enforced, due to factors ranging from the reluctance of authorities to pursue the crime to lack of public knowledge that sexual intercourse in marriage without consent is illegal.
Marital rape or spousal rape is an act that has not been addressed in this space, sexual intercourse without the spouse’s consent. The lack of consent is an essential element and need not involve physical violence.
Sexual intercourse within marriage is regarded as a right of spouses, not obtaining spouse’s consent is now widely classified as rape around the world. Marital rape is repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized, but Nigeria remains one of the 54 countries who have no legal or social backing to regard this as rape.
Recently, a viral video shows a woman complaining of her husband’s constant sexual appeal to her and shows him being forceful in an attempt to get her back into the home even without her consent.
A lot of Twitter users have gone on to trivialize the video and make a mockery of it, nevertheless, a lot have shared their thoughts on the video and how it is spousal rape.
Consent must be given in every sexual encounter. Just because you said yes once doesn’t mean you agree to every sexual encounter in the future. Having an ongoing relationship or a history of a relationship isn’t a form of consent. It just means you have a personal bond of some kind with that person.
…… these laws are ignored if the act is not socially considered a crime. For example, in many parts of the world, where women have few rights, it is considered unthinkable for a woman to refuse her husband’s sexual demands; far from being seen as an act of abuse of a wife, marital rape is seen as an incident provoked by the wife who refused to perform her duty.
This doesn’t dismiss the need for consent. If they don’t have your consent, any sexual contact could be considered rape or assault. Marital rape is more widely experienced by women, though not exclusively. Marital rape is often a chronic form of violence for the victim which takes place within abusive relations.
The reluctance to criminalize and prosecute marital rape has been attributed to traditional views of marriage. Muddled with interpretations of religious doctrines, ideas about male and female sexuality, and cultural expectations of subordination of a wife to her husband.
The country’s criminal code currently says rape is a sexual act committed against “a woman or girl”, in the certain circumstances including, “without her consent”, “if the consent is obtained by force” or “in the case of a married woman, by impersonating her husband”.”This definition is particularly grievous because it perpetuates the socio-cultural belief that men do not need to consent to sexual acts. Traditionally, rape was a criminal offence that could only be committed outside marriage, and courts did not apply the rape statutes to acts of forced sex between spouses but with the #MeToo movement, women need to know that consent remains essential even in marriage.