He married her, paid her bride price, probably with his own money or not. That makes her his personal property, that gives him all the right, to use her as he pleases, whenever he pleases.

Believe it or not, that is the mindset of some Nigerian male folk, even in this present day and age. It is a very simple logic that requires no argument. I have come across many of them with that point of view. He went to the human market, searched for this particular woman who interested him on some level, then he ‘purchased’ her with a bride price and legalised it with the wedding ceremonies. Then from the market he brought the ‘lucky’ woman to his home. He considers her lucky because there are too many women looking for a man to save them. I am sure you know what happens when supply exceeds demand. He saved her from that horrible situation.

In his home, a little above a purchased slave, she is to provide all his needs whenever they come up and this includes giving her body to him whenever the urge to plough her arises in him. She CANNOT say no, she dare not deny him of his conjugal rights, even when she is not able to perform that duty. If she is stupid or stubborn enough to refuse  her dear husband, then she must be forced to submit to her husband’s needs. Why else did he marry her if not to satisfy his needs at all times?

The Nigerian constitution, unlike that of most developed nations, does not regard marital rape as an offence on its own. Section 357 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act, CAP 77, LFN 1990 definition of rape:

“Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of false threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false or fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or in case of a married woman, by personating her husband is guilty of an offence called rape”.

The Nigerian Penal Code defines rapes thus:

“A man can be held guilty of rape if he has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent, or with her consent, if consent was unlawfully obtained”.

The criminal code further describes  ‘unlawful carnal knowledge’ as

“carnal connection which takes place otherwise than between husband and wife.”

This lends a different twist to the whole definition.  It gives the husband the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife, with or without her consent.  The Penal Code on the it’s part further states  that

Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape, if she has attained to puberty.

In essence, both Laws inadvertently give the husband the right to rape or love his wife as he pleases so far as he is recognised as the husband.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) however describes rape as

 “Physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.”

This offers a more balanced and encompassing definition of rape.

Due to the fact that the Nigerian Law does not yet recognise marital rape nor consider it a crime, most people, male and female alike, see nothing wrong in the act.

My submission is that RAPE IS RAPE irrespective of who is involved or how it is carried out so far as there is a form of coercion.

Sometimes the woman will not be in the mood, sometimes, she is too tired or ill. I believe that instead of forcibly taking what you consider yours, a little love and care might soften her up. A little understanding and patience would not be such a terrible idea.

It is also possible that the sexual life of the couple is not healthy. These are things that communication can address easily rather than forcibly claiming ownership. In my book, raping your spouse is not just sheer evil, it is cowardice. It can erode trust and love faster than infidelity, if you ask me. I doubt if there can be much pleasure in forcing your wife into sex.

It would do us a world of good if theNigerian Law will criminalise marital rape. 

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