Marital Rape: Marriage is not consent

It’s not inconceivable that most people cannot reconcile marriage and rape. To them, a husband cannot rape his wife. But guess what? Marriage is only a social contract that does not include perpetual consent to sex! The fact that you got married does not mean you’ve acquired unrestricted access to your spouse’s body. Marital rape happens when you have sex with your spouse without his or her consent.

The issue of whether ‘marital rape’ is a thing or not shouldn’t pop up in conversation because one should understand that marriage is marriage and consent is consent – two separate ideas. Unfortunately, people don’t understand that which is why statements like ‘my husband raped me’ is either greeted with laughter or dismissed as unserious.

In cases like this, people ask silly questions such as, ‘how is it possible for your husband to rape you?’ Should we call this an act of ignorance? Even in dating relationships, people find it hard to believe that you can be raped by your boyfriend or girlfriend.

About two weeks ago, a popular couple on Twitter Nigeria broke up. They had been the Twitter Nigeria love-relationship sensation for like 6 months before the breakup happened. Then, they started throwing shades at themselves online and things got really ugly when the now ex-girlfriend accused her ex-boyfriend of rape. Now, the story, whatever went down during and after their relationship, or whether the accused was guilty or not isn’t the most interesting part.

The most interesting part was what some social media users including the guy had to say in a statement he released afterward. He said: “How could you claim I raped you when we had been having sex 5 months prior to the day you claimed I raped you”. His supporters were quick to jump on that saying that it wasn’t possible for rape to have happened when they had previously been having sex. I was amazed that people did not even understand what rape meant, let alone what it means to get consent or even have consent revoked.

The lady had, prior to sex, agreed to have sex with her boyfriend but during the act, she felt sore and asked him to stop and he ignored and continued thrusting her. Guess what? He raped her if that was the case. Consent can be revoked at any time even if you’re at the point of ejaculation, STOP means exactly what you were taught in primary school and NO equally means NO. The fact that you are dating or married to a person does not give you the right to their bodies.

Why would you even think because you married her, you are entitled to her body whenever you want it. Everyone deserves the autonomy of their bodies. More often than not, it is the woman in a marriage who is compelled to submit to sex, whether she wants it or not at that moment, just because she is married to the man. Many women are brought up on the socio-cultural ridiculous idea that refusing their husband sex is the most terrible thing they can do in marriage regardless of whether they want it or not.

A husband refused sex is a husband wronged. If a man is unfaithful, the woman is often asked, did you deny him sex, because what other reason could there be for a man to stray, except the lack of an outlet for his excess sperm.

We need to unlearn the notion that rape is always violent and relearn that rape is not always violent and that intercourse without consent, whether married or not, is always rape. 

Would you like to anonymously share your thoughts or experience on marital rape? Visit our anonymous and interactive forum to sign up. Sign up is free!

About author: Amarachi Ezeibekwe is the content lead at