Why spousal rape is the unkindest violation

By Fredrick Nwabufo

I distilled the title of this article from a portion of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar – where the writer described Brutus’ perfidious stabbing of the emperor as the “unkindest cut”.  Brutus was a close friend of Caesar, but he betrayed him by driving a dagger into his torso, sealing his doom.

Spousal rape is no different from what Brutus did to Caesar. Why? Spousal rape is treachery. It is a mortal violation a woman may endure in a marriage unless she pulls out of it. It is the unkindest rape because here, the victim must live with the enemy.

I read a report of the proceedings of a magistrate court in Akure, Ondo state on a case of “conjugal assault and rape” recently.  A housewife asked the court to dissolve her marriage because her husband beats her up whenever she refuses to give in to his phallic desires. According to the woman, her husband forces his rabid tool into her whenever she does not want it. For me, when sex between two adults, is devoid of consent – whether in marriage or not – it is rape.

I have also read a couple of arguments for and against spousal rape, of course, on social media. Where else can one find a jumble of unblemished and raw thoughts and views, if not on social media?  For the protagonists, there is no such thing as “spousal rape”. Why? Married people are bound by oath to give their bodies any day, anytime to their spouses. This is the faulty construction I would like to deconstruct.

Marriage does not mean an erosion of the individuality of spouses. Each party in a union is first an individual with inalienable rights of which that of consent is one. The problem, I think, is the age-long patriarchal conceptualisation of women in marriage. Wives are seen as chalets of their husbands and must submit to the commands of their libido without compulsion. Let us get this straight, a man or woman in a marriage has a full right to his or her body. Without consent sex becomes violence.

Sadly, spousal rape is considered as normal in this axis of the world. I dare say, many married women are raped by their husbands daily, but this goes unreported. They cannot cry out because it is “weird” to do so, and because it is taught from the pulpit that a wife must always “submit” to her husband as if marriage was only made for women.

I knew a man years ago in Abuja who bragged about “physically disarming” his wife before having sex with her. According to him, sex is sweeter when a woman is subdued. He acquired this perversion from watching violent pornography.  He also often complained about how unadventurous and “smelly” his wife was. And one day, he left without returning. Just like that. Perhaps, he needed a willing object to cure his perversion.

At this point, I would like to say that rape is rape no matter who does it. We need new thinking in marriage and relationships, and this should start from the basic unit of society – the family.

In conclusion, I urge civil society to raise its voice for women who endure spousal rape, it is equally a social menace, though we do not realise it. One does not need to be a feminist to know that women bear the crushing weight of an unequal world.

Again, I do not wish to be subsumed under the categorisation – feminist. I am just a citizen who believes humanity should speak to and for humanity.


Ronke Ojo’s “if I am a breadwinner and I cannot cook”

Ronke Ojo, a Nollywood actress, drew the ire of patriarchal Nigerians when she said if she was the breadwinner in her home she would not cook. Though she recanted, I would have preferred that she maintains her position despite the caustic criticism. It is man’s world here. But seriously, how many men who are “breadwinners” cook?

The patriarchal Senate

The eighth Senate has shot down every bill which seeks to give women some semblance of equality with men.  From the gender equality bill to the recent “35 percent affirmative action bill”, none survived at the upper legislative chamber. It is my belief that this senate is not attuned to the wishes of women.

Twitter: FredrickNwabufo; Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo; Emai:fredrick.nwabufo@thecable.ng