We’re deep down the abyss of ignorance; we’re in a state where rape is a phenomenon we avert our eyes from and a word that’s hushed up. Our children must not know about it. It’s a punishment for promiscuous women. Anyone who has been raped isn’t pure enough for social interaction, or worse, marriage. With these being the major lines of argument we use to cope with this pervasive problem, it comes as no surprise that we have yet to acknowledge that marital rape exists.
Yes, it is possible to get raped even by the man you’re married to.
Here’s everything you need to know about marital rape and it’s prevalence in Pakistan:
1. Marital rape takes place when one spouse forces the other into non-consensual sex.
It can or can not include the use of physical torture during the intercourse, but the fact that it is non-consensual makes it the act of rape, even if the perpetrator is the victim’s legal and religious spouse.
2. The problem with most cases of marital rape is that the victims themselves fail to realize that they are being violated and wronged.
The fact that men have complete rights over their wives and that the wife must always submit to her husband’s physical desires even when she isn’t in the right health to do so, is drilled into women in Pakistan as they are brought up. This is why women consider it their duty to unquestioningly abide by their spouse’s unjust, sometimes bordering on cruel, physical demands.
3. Men and our society justify the act under the banner of religion;
This is another reason why marital rape isn’t perceived as a crime. Many people justify it using verses about how angels curse a woman all night if she refuses physical intimacy with her husband. However, it needs to be noted that no religion allows for physical abuse against women, and no religion asks women to endure such torture.
4. Doctors have reported numerous cases where women have come in with injuries and complications as a result of marital rape
Vaginal tears and infections are amongst the most common complaints registered. Most women are advised a rest period of six to seven weeks before they can engage in sexual intercourse again, but their husbands refuse to comply.
5. These women also have to undergo multiple abortions for contraceptive methods are perceived to be prohibited by some religions.
Doctors report that women, often young girls, die as their bodies can’t take the multiple abortions.
6. The laws against rape were amended in 2007 to allow marital rape to be considered as an offense, but no cases have been reported so far.
Rape was defined as the act of forceful sexual intercourse with a woman other than a man’s wife, in the legislature. Although the clause ‘other than a man’s wife’ was removed in 2007, there have been no known reported cases.
7. Lack of sex education and treatment of women as sex objects are the core reasons behind marital rape, and our society’s inability to view it as a crime.
Women need to be told of their rights; they need to be told that society’s misplaced expectations should not and must not be conformed to at the expense of one’s own dignity and self respect.