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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

MARITAL/SPOUSAL RAPE: CAN A HUSBAND RAPE HIS WIFE? What does the law say?



I’m sure this question might not be new for you however its answer may amuse you. One may think that once married he cannot rape his spouse since she consented to the marriage. Does consent to marriage entails to consent to sexual intercourse? Let’s review the law

I’m sure this question might not be new for you however its answer may amuse you. One may think that once married he cannot rape his spouse since she consented to the marriage. Does consent to marriage entails to consent to sexual intercourse? Let’s review the law


In Tanzania, as a general rule, a husband can’t rape his wife except


        i.            There is a separation then if a husband has sexual intercourse with her he may be convicted of rape. The law recognizes even separation arranged by the family or clan members.


      ii.            There is a decree nisi of divorce. See Section 130 of the Tanzania Penal code {CAP 16]


Tanzania law assumes that once a wife consented to the marriage, she consented to sexual intercourse.


Marital Rape/Spousal Rape in other countries




Apart from that position in Tanzania where sexual intercourse within marriage is regarded as a right of spouses, from the 20th Century in many societies around the world, sexual intercourse without the spouse's consent is not only take the form of sexual assaults and domestic violence but also recognized by law as RAPE.  

This position has been insisted by international conventions, domestic laws and increasingly criminalized by different nations. Criminalization has occurred in various ways, including removal of statutory exemptions from the definitions of rape, judicial decisions, and explicit legislative reference in statutory law preventing the use of marriage as a defense, or creating of a specific offense of marital rape. Countries that accept marital rape include U.S.A, Russia, Sweden, Austria Canada, Burundi, Cameroon, and South Africa. See the list of all countries here.


Final remarks

Traditionally before the 20th century, a husband cannot rape a wife however with some movements now in some jurisdictions a husband can rape his wife. Therefore you have to satisfy yourself with the law of your land on this issue to avoid unnecessary concerns.

Read also Can a female rape a male?


What is the marital rape status in your country? Comment below

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