"Marital rape (also known as spousal rape and rape in marriage) is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse"- Wikipedia
"Marital rape is any unwanted sexual acts by a spouse or ex-spouse, committed without consent and/or against a person's will, obtained by force, or threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent"- Marriage.about.com
Rape itself consists of sexual acts such as intercourse, anal or oral sex, forced sexual behavior with other individuals, and other sexual activities that are considered by the victim as degrading, humiliating, painful, and unwanted.
In Nigeria, a person is considered to have committed rape when he has sexual relations with a woman against her will; or an unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman (lawful refers to a legal bind between husband and wife)or ;without her consent or; while putting her in fear of death or hurt or; misrepresenting as the husband of the woman or; having carnal knowledge of a girl with unsound mind or; having carnal knowledge of a girl under 14 years.
Though the last part may be soon be rephrased if the sexual offences bill sponsored by Senator Chris Anyanwu in the senate is signed into law by President Buhari. The bill proposes the age of consent to be 11 years.
"The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts, and is thus the minimum age of a person with whom another person is legally permitted to engage in sexual activity. The distinguishing aspect of the age of consent laws is that the person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim, and their sex partner as the offender- Wikipedia".
From the above statements you can observe that Nigerian law is silent about marital rape as sexual relations between married partners is considered legal ,and having a carnal knowledge of your spouse is thereby lawful (whether a partner is willing or not).
Recently I heard a program on Radio where listeners were asked what they think of marital rape
Here are some responses:
Mr A: What do you want the man to do if his wife is not ready to yield to his advances, go out and commit adultery? Is that not a worse scenario?
Mr B: There is nothing like spousal rape, in Nigerian culture, once a man has paid the bride price, the woman with her body belongs to the husband and he can demand for it whenever he likes. Even if the girl
Mrs C: Marital rape is real,a woman has feelings and she should not be considered as a sex toy, there can be reasons for her reluctance, she may not be in the mood, in disagreement with her husband,under medication, fasting or the act of sex cause her pain. Her spouse should seek to allay her fears and seek solutions rather than aggravating her hatred towards him
Mrs D: It is because the laws of the land are not clear enough on the matter, if there is a strong penalty for having sex with any woman , his wife or not, the man will think twice before committing such act and be more considerate towards women.
Mr E: Rape is rape, there should not be excuses, marriage is not consent
Mrs F: Some women are teases, withholding sex from their husband to gain an undue advantage, when they do that , they deserve to be raped. A Wife should not deny her husband his sexual rights ,her body should not be turned to a bargaining tool.
Mr G: There can only be marital rape if the woman is under medication, not mentally stable, unconscious or physically unable to refuse (ill or disabled) or the sex is drug-induced.
Mrs F: Marital rape can occur if a lady is forced into marriage as in the case of underaged young girls.
From the respondent's answers and my own survey , I concluded that majority of Nigerians believe there is nothing like marital rape especially men though some women were sympathetic insisting there is , which is understandable as in most cases of this humiliating sexual acts, women are usually the ones at the receiving end and bear the shame.
Which brings me to another question, Can a woman rape a man? What are your own thoughts?
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