Marital rape: A sad reality

Posted by News Express | 24 October 2019 | 1,769 times

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I still have not figured how rape and marriage should occur in the same sentence. But, there you have it. It even forms part of the title of this article. However, marital rape is a very serious concern.

Any marriage devoid of physical attraction and intimacy between the couple falls into one or more of these categories:

1. Mutual Consent Between Spouses: The spouses agree to live together as a legally-recognised couple, without an intimate liaison between them.

2. Disinterest: A spouse lacks interest in sexual contacts with the spouse, with the other’s consent.

3. Real or Perceived Impotence: One spouse suffers from a lack of self-confidence in bedroom matters or feels the other spouse is no longer attracted to him/her.

4. Neglect: A spouse ignores the other’s needs either with frequent absence from the matrimonial home or through abandonment of the other in bed.

5. Nonconsensual: One spouse turns down the other’s sexual advances.

The first two are consensual and appropriate. The third needs intervention and effective communication between the couple. The fourth is permissible for certain situations for only a brief period, and the last is an issue. This discussion is on the fifth category, from the perspective of avoidance of harm.

One question:

What is the woman still doing in that marriage? There is the simple solution of a DIVORCE! That is one word very many women, and men, do not want in their vocabulary. The situation of the woman is more pathetic, as she has more to lose by the prolongation of the sham of a marriage. The woman exposes herself to injury.

One of the purposes of marriage and the most vital is the permissibility of intimate relations between the couple. Those of you who are married are to enjoy intimacy, left, right and centre, and that is literal. The rest of us can only dream of such intimacy, and that is also literal.

When the couples are pleased with each other and the marriage is healthy, both spouses observe each other’s right to sexual fulfillment. If one spouse, sometimes the woman, denies the other this right, she earns the displeasure of her husband.

Nevertheless, a man has no justification or right to forced sexual relations with his wife.

Again, there is the valid option of a divorce, initiated by either party. As marriage is the legal connection between a man and a woman, it should have an abundant supply of considerations for the other spouse. This is where communication can prevent strained nuptial emotions.

Couples should learn to speak with each other, listen to each other, and respond to each other’s concerns. In cases of forced and staged marriages, including situations where a woman is compelled to remain married to her husband, not because of her desire for the iPads and ipleasures of this life – as some women will consider this ‘forced’ – but, either because she is in a protracted process of a divorce or has been deprived the right to divorce directly or through threats to her safety and intimation, marital rape is rape plain and simple.

There are other situations a woman may find herself, such as having to remain in a former husband’s home after the divorce, as she tries to secure another accommodation prior to the official end of her marriage. That was a situation in which I found myself, almost two decades ago. At all times she should endeavour to keep herself safe. Note my words well, for I did not say she should ignore warning signals from her instincts or from experiences of other women, only to cry foul when she is raped.

If her understanding of Allah means she should switch off her senses, she should not bother to switch them back on when she experiences a nightmare. Sexual violation is the nightmare of every woman, and man. A woman’s safety and security begins with:

1. Her thoughts and efforts – No one should believe that a woman is purely the product of her upbringing. Even children given the opportunity and appropriate environment cry out to concerned persons against the abuses they face at home. If a fully grown woman does not do better than a child, it is for the reason that at some point in her adult life she made the conscious choice that abuse was acceptable. At this stage, abuse is no longer family tradition, but personal belief.

2. Her social interactions – One of the freedoms of adulthood [1] is that of choice of association. Women very often present the air of indecision and passivity. Try that in the wrong social circle and not only will you get a beast for a spouse, but your friends will also encourage and endorse your trauma.

3. Her family – This should ordinarily signify a woman’s very sense of security, but some families, and yes some mothers are more concerned with societal ‘honour’ than with the protection of their own daughters. Each woman understands her situation better than the rest of us ever shall. It is in her interest to create her own safety zone.

[1] Children too have this freedom, but it is curtailed by the family on whom they are predominantly dependent.

•Umm Sulaim is the Publisher of Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts (

Copyright © 2019 Umm Sulaim. All rights reserved.

Source: News Express

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