Marital Rape

About a week ago an article written by a good friend of mine that condemned deadly and immoral and quite frankly disgusting invalidation of the seriousness of rape in certain situations sparked a discussion when linked by another good friend. The discussion was nothing short of alarming. Considering that the article itself denounced the intolerable actions of a justice who dismissed the case of the rape of a 7 year old girl on the grounds that there was “no serious injury” as a result, the case of a husband strangling his wife into submission so that he could rape her because he was aroused by her nightgown, and the proposal of clauses that would protect rights regardless of sexual preferences, it was greatly disturbing that after reading such a piece the ruling on marital rape was quickly defended as though the highly patriarchal definition of marriage in which the wife is basically a sex slave to her husband (and not in a consensual kinky way) in order to keep him from abusing her is not only threatened but valid and correct and something to be protected. Though those who were expressing such views claimed that they did not condone violence (though “she should be wise enough to know the consequences of her action!” sure as hell sounds like it) the fact that these points were made in the context of the discussion–such a horrific case of domestic abuse and marital rape–was more than pathetic and insecure.

I never imagined I would write this entry, because I thought for certain that everyone knew marital rape is real, that without question it is as serious as non-marital rape, and that it is wrong that this is unrecognized. I could only take relief that no one was defending the ruling on the case of the 7 year old girl. Hardly encouraging, but these were the depressing standards.

That such defensive, inane points of “What is a man supposed to do if he asks his wife and she says no?” (how about not rape her?) and “But he can’t just not have sex when he wants it!” (oh I’m sorry, I didn’t understand this before! well yes in that case he should obviously just choke her into submission then, by all means) were brought forward in the face of a woman being violently assaulted is only part of a larger pattern of inane defenses when it comes to not only rape but more minuscule and deeply ingrained patterns of thought, including but not limited to “No means no but women should lower the risk by not dressing seductively” and “What’s wrong with pointing out men and women are different?” during very serious discussions of rape cases and responsibility. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it: respectively, it does not lower the risk and that is not her problem and, you’re inadequately dodging the argument to defend a privileged position because losing power that you stole and to which you never had any right makes you panic. You pathetic, insecure dumbass. This slew of idiotic “but sex is part of marriage!” and “he’s her husband not her enemy!” (then he ought to stop being her enemy) type drivel are the same frantic grab for power.

Much of this is a deeply rooted misogynistic mistrust of women: that women must be vengeful or scheming or straight-out inconsiderate (you know, because our sole purpose of existence is to sexually satisfy men and having our own rights is just plain inconsiderate) that if a woman turns down her husband for no reason that is clear to him she is neglecting him. Because he is a child. Or an animal, like her pet. Except that her pet gets to make all the decisions. She is always deceitful and ill-intended, and so even when she is harassed and raped it needs to be idiotically stated, “but men get erections!” and when she is not hired for a job because of sex discrimination some vapid “intellectual” egotist is going to frivolously point out, “well men and women are different!” Notably, the person who was asserting that she is inconsiderate to not have sex with a husband who is good to her was assuming good faith on the part of the husband but not on the part of the wife. (“Why are you taking this specific case?? I am talking in general and not in exceptions…the general rule is that the man is good to her!!”)

Such is the effect of patriarchy. The general rule is that the man is good to her, but that she is inconsiderate. It must then follow that any woman who expects that her own husband not rape her is unthreading the fabrics of marriage.

A woman does not need reason to turn down her husband. If he doesn’t like that she has this right, the civil and human and Islamic thing to do is get a divorce. Such a man is not fit for marriage, Islamically or otherwise. Any man–ANY MAN, who is OKAY with having sex with a woman who DOES NOT WANT IT is a sick and terrible person. How can a man see that his wife does not want to have sex, and see that he is pressuring her, and continue to be aroused enough to have sex with her?! Disgusting. And one of the most disturbing aspects during the discussion was the refusal to view rape as it really is: sex without consent. Force is not always physical; a woman having sex with her husband to prevent him from (physically or otherwise) forcing her or going totally apeshit is, in fact, forcing her. But I suppose it is only she who has the duty to be considerate–it’s totally fine if he rapes her, because she exists to revolve around him, and his desires override hers. Incredibly but predictably, all of this required repeating because of the deplorable mentality of rape apologists who pretend to be adherents of Islam, marriage, and morality.

19 thoughts on “Marital Rape

  1. I get so upset by these conversations. I have been having them in different forms. One woman had the audacity to quote a Hadith that said “men are wolves in sheeps clothing” and if you “put a piece of meat in front of a dog he will eat it”. How can women betray other women like this?!

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  2. This Logic, Applied To Other Areas of Life:

    Giving is an expected part of charity, so the Salvation Army is allowed to mug you.

    Travel is an expected part of going to other countries, so your tour guide is allowed to kidnap you.

    Getting beat up is an expected part of football, so your coach is allowed to assault you.

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    1. Better late than never. Let me know when it is criminalized in a so-called islamic country which claims the quran gives legitimacy for violence against “disobedient or rebellious” wives. Also let me know when being gay is no longer punishable by death while you’re at it.

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  3. It’s horrible how people justify rape and resort to “blaming the victim.” I’ve heard similar things from people and it’s appalling and frustrating. There is NEVER any justification for rape and this whole idea that men “can’t just not have sex when he wants it” is disgusting, sexist logic. Such thinking shows how deeply rooted and normalized misogyny is. It is dangerous and destructive.

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    1. C.C.Tuesday

      The worst part about it is when women justify rape. So many girls I grew up with think of women having sex with their husbands as part of their wifely duties, to the point where men have the “right” to deny food/shelter if they don’t get what they want, because they were taught that it’s Islamic. In turn men get away with just that. It’s difficult because while there are systems in place that unite men (ie by nationality for example, so men come together against oppressive regimes) women aren’t united by any system. When women “conspire” to overthrow patriarchy it’s seen with a special kind of resentment.

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  4. Coolred38

    For 20 years my ex used sex as a form of punishment. The most obvious times were after we spent the day arguing and hating on each other..than he would insist on going to the bedroom. I was always so incredibly angry at him that he would insist right then to have sex..meanwhile we were hating each other about as much as possible at that point (after heated arguments all day)…but he would look calmly at me and say…what does this have to do with that? In other words, he didnt view feelings, mine specifically, as a precursor to having sex. Sex was just an act separate from everything else that we shared…my current feelings or state of mind had nothing to do with it. I was supposed to submit regardless simply because HE wanted to have sex..right then and not later when emotions were cooled and possibly he would get a better reception from me.

    In the beginning i would fight him over it…I always lost as he was stronger…which also made me think that he preferred the excitement of raping me over consensual sex because he was able to “finish” during those moments…but when I was compliant (read:uncaring) he never could, or rarely was able too. I might point out that quite often his rape would include anal rape (or at least he would try like hell, I really fought him over that..sometime I won, sometimes he won) (sorry for the TMI but Im passed pussyfooting around such topics…people need to hear what goes on in marriages..awareness aides prevention)

    At the end of the day, all my complaints to others (I lived in a Muslim country then) resulted in consolation for my trials but promises that my patience and suffering would end up rewarding me in the future. (?) I even faced a judge and complained of the rape (including anal) and the judge said, first off that a husband cannot rape his wife as my body was his “field to till” and while the judge tried to ignore my anal rape charges..in the end he said if I let him (gave up) than the sin was mine as well and I needed to be stronger and councel my husband against such degrading actions. Sweet.

    I gave up eventually…oh no, not the fighting and resisting (by this point in our marriage we barely spoke and I absolutely loathed him) I gave up looking for sympathy from anyone else and expecting justice. In the 20 years of my marriage the only justice I received was what I took for myself eventually…this justice ended with me wielding a baseball bat and him furiously nailing himself into his office…something to do with the “crazy look in my eyes” according to him…but possibly more to do with the fact that he realized he had pushed me past my point of no return.

    Half of his office door came down before he got the hint and ran for his life. I was divorced 3 months later with full custody of my kids. (the reason for that is another long boring story…sorry…I rant. It’s my thing. )

    So, in short, 2011 has not seen a marked change of what a husband has a right to do TO his wife in the Muslim world. Husbands expect it, friends and family offer little more advice than to grin (or cry) and bear it, and judges find it a nonissue. At the end of the day I would advise all Muslim mothers to gift their newly married daughters what they need the most on their wedding day…a brand new baseball bat that will aide her in seeking the justice she might need at some point. Newly established mother of the groom might even be so daring as to explain to him what this unusual gift is for…and that his new wife (her daughter) has been trained in the art of wielding it if the need occurs. It’s the best advice i can offer because I wasted far too many prayers asking for gods advice and mercy…but he had none. I came up with my own action plan..it worked. Too bad I didnt think of it 20 years earlier. *sigh* Live and learn.

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    1. which also made me think that he preferred the excitement of raping me over consensual sex because he was able to “finish” during those moments…but when I was compliant (read:uncaring) he never could, or rarely was able too.

      May God leave your ex and the judges to Eternal torment in the deepest pits of Hell, where snakes will eat out their eyes and their flesh will peel in unimaginable agony.

      Amen.

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  5. Amna

    Self defense needs to be part of the school curriculum, I say. Karate classes for every girl! Punch the guy in gonads and lets see how much he wants it then.

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  6. I had this discussion in sociology class years ago when the guys thought it was fine to ‘make/persuade’ a girl to have sex with them. Because according to them, apparantly they can’t control themselves and didn’t see why they would have to. Needless to say, I didn’t get on with my sociology class for those 2 years. Every objection I made, I was the joke of the class for some reason as the other girls said nothing to defend me and the guys couldn’t see what I was outraged by. They were bored when the study mentioned the concept of rape like it was irrelevent but the more they were like that, the more I fought against them just to make my point. They never learned of course but at least I left class knowing I had stood up to their pathetic assertations

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  7. Anurag Rangopal

    Well this is quite common in India too and most of the time the wife is too young and does not understand how to deal with marital violence and rape.most of the Time they end up blaming themselves as not being good enough.although there are laws in place in India most of the time the social stigma makes it impossible for women to exercise the laws to their defense,For a Country that is “secular” we take very bad care of women.

    I have shot a film trying to represent such a situation and would love to know your opinion on the same.

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