I can’t rape my wife
GOVERNMENT officials, the church and lobby groups are at loggerheads over the ongoing Parliamentary committee review of the country’s Sexual Offences Act, particularly as it relates to the issue of marital rape. Human rights advocates have urged the committee to apply the established law governing rape to marital cases, while six major church groups have insisted that the current law is adequate, as in marriage there is presumed consent to sex by both parties.
The current marital rape provision stipulates specific circumstances under which rape can occur in marriage, such as if the couple is separated. The church groups have held that any adjustment to the law would interfere with the sanctity of marriage, sparking much debate on social media about whether the church was sanctioning abuse, and even more when married men took to the internet to support the church’s views.
“Yes, she can say no [to sex] and I can either accede to her request or not,” one Twitter user wrote, much to the chagrin of others. But interestingly, many women shared similar views, saying if a husband has sex with his wife even when she isn’t in the mood, it’s not rape, as he has the legal right to demand sex.
One woman said a wife shouldn’t even allow her husband to ask twice for sex, and if there is no logical reason for not wanting sex, the man has every right to divorce the woman and fight her in court for division of assets.
She further argued that she could never walk into a police station and report that her beloved husband had raped her, adding that some women are spiteful, wicked and wear a ring but are not “wives”.
But Reverend Karl Johnson, general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, has a different view. He believes that rape can occur in a marriage.
“Rape is a forceful sex act. Marriage is not a transaction between superior and inferior owner and tenant, neither is it bakra master ruling over slave, and any time you ready you get a piece,” Johnson said. “Now if you’re following Christian guidelines and principles of self-giving, putting others before yourself, then there’s no scope for rape or abuse. But understand that marriage is a human relationship, and sadly, human relationships may break down. As a result marital relationships may bear the trappings of abuse. In that case, yes, a man can rape his wife.”
He added that even if the relationship has not broken down, it is hypocritical to endorse any relationship where force and violence become a feature.
“Everyone has a right to say no, and if you say no, it’s no,” he said.
We asked a few married men and women to share their views on whether a wife is obligated to provide sex to her husband on demand, and whether it is rape if he has sex with her when she doesn’t want to.
Jermelia, 41, female taxi driver:
Yes, it’s rape without consent, marriage or not. The same goes for the wives who want it without consent.
Kirk, 44, health coach:
Sex is an understood part of being married. This rape argument is foolishness. It is wrong to mortgage one’s marriage on sex. When the woman wants sex she always gets it, so what happens if he wants it?
Julian, 43, trainer:
I can’t rape my wife. The Bible tells me she must run @#$!% on me and vice versa. Even if she’s resisting I would still take it. She must do her duty and I must do mine too when she wants it.
Alfred, 36, doctor:
Whose body is it? It’s her body. I didn’t sign a lease agreement.
Jordan, 39, doctor:
Wives are not obligated to provide sex to their husbands, and any man who has sex with a woman against her consent is a rapist.
Donovan, 50, accountant:
No, because they are joined as one. If she is resisting and I still take it I wouldn’t call it rape, though I can admit that we men can give our wives a break at times. That’s why sweethearts are important. To avoid rape with wifey, have a sweetheart who’s often more willing. Also, what if I’m tired and she forces me, is that rape? There are blurred lines.
Hugh, 45, policeman:
Wifey fi send on and she should not resist either. Send on!
Suzanne, 24, clerk:
Based on the definition of rape, any unwanted penetration should be classified as that. Personally, if I am not in the mood, I prefer my husband to respect that. If a man forces himself on his wife I believe it is rape.
Andre, 40, technician:
My wife is not obligated to provide sex on demand, and that’s the operative term — on demand. It should be agreed upon for want of a better term. Sometimes I guess if she’s tired she can just say, “You can go ahead.” She probably won’t be involved in it, but there’s some form of agreement there.