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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.

By Dr John Boakye

Editor’s Note

Can a husband rape his wife? Yes but will the law consider it as a rape when one is married? In Ghana, the man ask the woman’s hand in marriage from her family and goes through the traditional custom by paying for the bride price. Most men believe once the money has been paid to the woman’s family,they automatically owns them.They expect the woman to give them offspring ,cook for them, warm their beds every single night even if she’s sick.This kind of abuse can continue a lifetime.You mentioned something in your article that i love. “A woman’s mind is a battlefied” She’s an all day lover.Women also fantasize about sex like  men too.By cherishing her,you unlock the door to love,respect and acceptance from her.Men should learn how to open up to your wives and be affectionate towards her.If you don’t know how to do it,start by reading books,poetry about love .Write her a few notes or you can text her your favorite line and watch the magic unfold.For those of you who think using force is the only way to go…Isn’t it tiring being rejected over and over? Why not learn something new…like affection.It’s more fun when the two come together…even the heavens sing their chorus.

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