“He abuses me but I cannot refuse him. My family told me that it was my religious duty to do as he demanded and if I refuse, the angels will curse me all night.”
To highlight this way of misguided thinking, I’m sharing certain extracts from this article.
The writer correctly states that, ‘due to this attitude, women are unaware that it is their right to say no to sex if they want to.’
‘There are some individuals who believe that there is no such thing as rape within a marriage whereas some claim that there is nothing wrong with a man forcing himself on his wife.’
Just an example of such thinking i.e. that there is no such thing as marital rape (for me, the same as saying there’s nothing wrong with marital rape), can be seen in the comments to the article.
See below for an example and feel free to see for yourselves.
One commenter posts:
‘Pointing out a few instances of where a husband has shown undesirable attitude towards his wife does not justify creating an entire provision in law for marital rape.’
‘Undesirable attitude’? Are you freaking kidding me!? If a man forcefully penetrates a woman who is his wife, it is assault causing harm. The degree of harm may vary but it is still HARM. Hence, it is not ‘undesirable attitude’ but rape. Rape which is forceful penetration without consent. Since it occurred within a marital contract, it is Marital rape.
He continues with:
‘That will open a whole Pandora’s box and will result in an unprecedented level of divorces in the society.’
So what he means is that ‘forceful sex within marriage’ (I call it that since the commenter refuses to term it as Marital Rape) is such a widespread phenomenon in our society so that if termed as such, will cause divorces? As it should! If this is how most men get sex in their marriages, they shouldn’t be married in the first place. That kind of marriage is simply harmful to the abused partner – psychologically as well as physically.
Then the commenter ends with:
‘How can you prove when sex was with the consent of the wife and when it wasn’t? So basically all you have is the word of the wife? Not that I am agains’t women’s rights in this society but this is just taking it a bit too far.’
And the word of the wife is not good enough? It should be given weight-age and the raped woman should know that. So that such accusations are not made lightly. Such allegations should lead to a divorce as well as criminal punishment for the abuser. Rape is rape. Period.
As for the Hadith quoted:
“If a husband calls his wife to his bed (ie to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.”
(Bukhari v.4, b.54, no.460)
The misunderstanding, that I’m noticing with those who think of this Hadith and lash out against suggesting that there is such a thing as marital rape, is that in these situations, the wife always says “no”; and hence it is okay for the man to force himself since she’s going against the marriage and everything it encompasses. WRONG. It isn’t about the wife always saying “no”. If the wife does not want to have sex with her husband ever, how about instead of just forcing himself and violating another human being’s body, he should just tell her to get Khula (women’s right of divorce in Islam) – since obviously she does not want to be married to him. If she does not want Khula, he has the option of Talaq (men’s right of divorce in Islam) – he is not required to give reasons. Or he can marry again (polygamy is allowed in Islam), someone with whom he can have a fulfilling marital relationship where his desires are not denied nor is he violating another.
All in all, it still comes down to the same thing. Marital rape exists. It is NEVER okay.
“The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife”
(Hadith – Muslim, #3466).