Hello Tobi. I’m Cynthia from Lagos. I have been reading your articles and I have an issue that has been bothering me. My husband rapes me every time. It first started one day when we had a disagreement and both of us yelled at each other and went to bed without talking to each other. Suddenly, he woke me up that night that he wanted to have sex with me. I declined because we had a disagreement earlier. Before I knew it, he had torn my dress and had his way with me. Ever since, he has been raping me at will. I have threatened to sue him to court but when I consulted with my lawyer, he told me that there was nothing he could do for me because there is no punishment for marital rape under the Nigerian law…

This was the message that I woke up to one day on my LinkedIn account. It is a known fact that marriage is a sacred institution. Asides this, it is the coming together of a man and a woman to become husband and wife. In this instance, the marriage might be held in the church, mosque or the traditional mean of marriage. In Nigeria, in particular, wedding days are celebrated with pomp and pageantry as all resources are put together to make the day a success. In fact, I’m sure that on the average, almost everyone reading this article has at one time or the other attended a wedding, right? You know how interesting weddings can be right?
However, beyond that elegant day, there is an issue that people, particularly women in marriages are having that they have not been able to speak about; rape. The pertinent question in this case is that can a man possibly rape his wife? Is it absolutely possible or right? Your answer is that it is absolutely impossible! Yes? With an open mind, let us unravel this pressing issue.
First, what is rape? According to part 5 section 357 of the criminal code 1990, rape is defined as;
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 threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by any means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or, in the case of a married woman by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape.
Also, Section 6 of the Criminal Code defines unlawful carnal knowledge as;
That which takes place otherwise than between husband and wife; and that offence is complete upon penetration
Based on these provisions, is a man supposed to rape his wife? No!
However, in reality as in Cynthia’s case, has she been continually raped by her husband? Yes! At this point, it is then pertinent to view how the society views marital rape? How would you react if someone walked up to you and told you that her husband has been raping her? You’d be amazed right? In fact, you’d possibly disbelief her! However, these things happen in our society. In our society of today, there are lots of women out there whose husbands have turned to beasts who have carnal knowledge of them at will. In fact, in some cases, there have been instances of husbands who have raped their wives to death! Unbelievable right? Well, yes, it’s been happening.
In our society, women are regarded as the weaker gender and it is believed that a woman should satisfy the sexual overtures of her husband. However, what then happens when women like Cynthia get raped continually by their husbands? What are the effects is has on women like these?
Psychologically, such women have a tendency of feeling depressed as they are reduced to more like sex slaves. When a man rapes his wife, he makes her no different than a whore who hawks her virtues for money.
If a woman is raped by her husband, it kills her sense of self-esteem as she feels that she is not important in the institution of the home. In fact, in extreme cases, such women might feel there is no reason to live as therefore commit suicide! Very sad!
For women like Cynthia, what should she do when the laws do not provide punitive measures for a husband that rapes his wife? Should she continue to die in silence? No! If women like Cynthia continue to live is silence, there is a high likelihood for her to commit suicide from her resulting depression.
What then can be done? It is important that serious punitive measures be put in place to punish men that rape their wives. I mean, a man who can rape his wife is an animal and should be kept within the confines of a prison to reform him. Such should not be living amongst humans.
Not only that! The society at large has to be sensitized about the fact that there are women who are being raped by their husbands, it is animalistic and that it should be kicked against totally. Also, male children should be sensitized early on the fact that their wives are not their sex slaves and consent is needed to have sex with their wives.
I conclude with this proverb; If we do not warn out friend who is overeating to stop, his incessant stooling will not allow one to sleep at night. THINK ABOUT IT!

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