Spousal rape: Law unfair to Nigerian women


Rape is unjust and appalling. More barbaric is when the perpetrator is one’s spouse, then the judgment should not be prolonged, but rather immediate and effective. However, reverse seems to be the case in Nigeria’s legal system, as culturally, spiritually and in the entire system, a typical Nigerian woman is often seen as the husband’s property, thus the concept of marital rape is seen as unrealistic.
The woman, as long as she is legally married to her husband, cannot be raped and as this is the belief in many quarters, little or no punishment is meted out to perpetrators, even for women who are brave enough to voice their discomfort. 
Currently, the Penal Code specifically excludes “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife” from the definition of rape, so long as she has attained puberty. Definitely, the law could still be extended to cover marital rape, for better protection of women’s rights. we conducted a Vox Pop on whether the law on spousal rape is fair to women,  some samples were taking from every day nigerians below:

There are many reasons a woman would deny her husband from having sex with her, it could be physical, emotional, psychological or even religious. Unfortunately, her voice is often silenced by the desires of the husband. In our society, the woman is often oppressed and considered as a subordinate and women who find the courage to tell the world of their husband’s illicit act of rape are viewed as uncultured.

Even the strictness of the application of the law on the illicit act of rape is outrageous. The issue of spousal rape shows how backward our legal system still is. But no one can blame the system, but rather the blame should be on the stakeholders, leaders are in a position to encourage better enforcement of the law. The issue of rape in Nigeria is appalling.

The problem with spousal rape in Nigeria is that many people believe that it is impossible for rape to occur in marriage. A friend of mine was once a victim and no one believed her until she had a huge effect from one of the act, where her thigh bone was broken. Unfortunately, no legal charges were pressed and the husband apologised later and that was all.

I’d say partially, although it depends on the scenario.

  Yes, the law is in a way fair, except in situations, where the traditions support oppressions of women. A better approach to ending it is for each individual to think of the role to play in changing the ills of the society.

Nigeria as a nation itself is not fair on its people, not to talk of the Nigerian law, where there is corruption everywhere, so anything could happen.

The Nigerian law is not fair to women and their interests are not protected. Rape occurs when an unwilling individual is forced to have sex, using violent or threatening behavior. If that defines rape and there is a law against it, then I see no reason why a certain offence should be set aside. As far as it is wrong, that should make it illegal.

The Nigerian law should make amendments to its law.

The Nigerian law is not gender particular. Unlike what happens in other countries of the world, the Nigerian judicial system is only supportive of the rich. Asides that, the question that should be asked is how well has the law protected the feminine gender against rape, not to talk of spousal rape? Many victims of rape would rather live with the pain of the memory, than accept the stigma attached to it. Worse case scenarios are when the culprits are being reported and they eventually go scot free. There is no facility in place to protect women’s identity. My summation is that the law does not favour the feminine gender as regards rape.

The answer is no, because the cultural background has a lot of impact on sensitive issues like this, which unfortunately are not favourable to women. The cultural settings and religious documentations have it that men are the head of the homes. Even at a point when the woman is the one who caters for the household, she has to put all the achievements to the husband, knowing well that that is what the culture entails. And even the Nigerian law has never recorded any strict action to an ordinary rapist not to talk of a husband raping his wife.

In Nigeria and Africa as a whole, some issues are viewed as sensitive and should only be raised within the walls of one’s homes. Traditionally, no African woman would dare say to the world that she is being raped by her husband. But, I think with globalisation, more emphasis is placed on women rights, although it is still minimal in Nigeria. There is still room for improvement.

Most cultures in Nigeria believe that once a woman denies her husband sex, then she is indirectly pushing the man into the waiting arms of women out there. So this often instills fear in the woman and she would do anything to please her husband, whether she is comfortable with it or not. This is already putting her at a disadvantage, so when rape sets in, the same reason may stop her from crying out, fearing that she may lose her husband in the process.

Nigerian law is unfair to women, spousal rape wouldn’t occur in a society where women are highly valued. I think the law should be amended in order to bridge the margin, if not totally eradicated. Any man who is involved in spousal rape should be brought to book.

It is unfortunate that spousal rape is often overlooked in this part of the country. It is devastating for a woman to be raped by her husband despite the trust and the love and what is more painful is when the woman is being blamed for revealing this. She is expected to consider the effect it would have on the family and the children. To end spousal rape, women must be encouraged to speak out.



One thought on “Spousal rape: Law unfair to Nigerian women

  1. […] Spousal rape: Law unfair to Nigerian women – arome ameh's blog […]

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