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Can a husband rape his wife?

Can a husband rape his wife

About two weeks ago, a South African feminist reported to the police that her husband had raped her. He was arrested and detained, later to be released on bail pending further investigations.

The question on the lips of many is simple: Can a husband rape his wife? The answer is simple; the Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines rape as to ‘force someone to have sex when he or she doesn’t want to’.

This means if you force yourself on your wife you have raped her. Rape is rape regardless of the relationship. The matter is the act.

A husband can rape his wife and a wife can rape her husband.

The controversy

An unemployed husband demands money from his wife every day, goes out and comes back late. He takes his supper and then jumps on the wife for ‘dessert’.

The wife, unable to handle the situation, reported him to her uncle, expecting some sympathy and relief.

To her shock the uncle insisted there was nothing like marital rape and that the man merely used ‘reasonable force’ to take what was rightfully his. And he quoted the Bible to buttress his point; 1 Cor. 7;4  reads ‘ the wife’s body does not belong to her but to her husband…’

In Ghana, many husbands think sexual pleasure is the preserve of men. Once a woman marries, she forfeits her body unconditionally.

Sex then becomes an obligation to duty and a woman must be on call anytime because she is made for the man.

Fact, however, is that  a woman has a body and mind of her own to control. It is a fundamental human right in and out of marriage.

There are marital rights just as there are marital responsibilities such as mutual consent for sex.

Why marital rape is not reported

Marital rape is common everywhere. For example in the US, one in six wives reports of being raped by her husband. This includes the wife of a former World Heavyweight Champion.

Marital rape could be much higher in Ghana. However in Ghana any discussion about sex is a taboo.

Many Ghanaian women do not know or accept  that marital rape is a crime. Many are also scared they will be stigmatised.

It is also a fact that in Ghana many women are completely dependent on their men. They fear losing their support and emotional fulfilment because these women identify themselves by their marriage.

A case of marital rape will be your word against your lover’s. Since ‘you and I were not there’ it will be hard to give a ruling.

Advice to men

The most important sexual weapon of a woman is her mind. She is an all-day lover who must be loved cherished and valued to give herself totally to you. Your non-sexual act of kindness, care and support builds her sexually.

On the other hand, if you abuse her and think ‘anadwo beye de’ or the night will be beautiful, ‘you lie bad’ because you will hear lots of excuses such as ‘not in the mood, tired and sick.’

It would be rare for a wife to refuse a loving husband. She will go along even if she is tired or sick. Therefore if your wife is refusing you sex, look into yourself and find out what you can do better to make her feel loved and be ready for you.

Advice to women

Sex is critical to a sense of wellbeing. He grows his love for you through it. It is also a powerful agent for his ego enhancement and maleness. He also sees sex as a non-verbal way of offering himself and being accepted.

If your man makes advances, he is saying among others ‘I love you, please accept me, please I am sorry.’

If you refuse your husband, in a man’s mind he thinks you are saying he is not worth your husband. You break down his ego and this harms him in all areas of life.

He will have his way to protect himself. If you think this is rape or not you are right. The message is simple ; as far as possible couples must not use sex as a weapon.

If you are truly one flesh and love each other unconditionally, there can be nothing like marital rape.

Source: Dr. John Boakye

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