Rape is Rape: The Need to Criminalise Marital Rape in Tanzania
It is obvious that marriage in a patriarchal community is the backbone of society on which the whole definition of society lies. The desire to get married and stay married often overrides the risks of gender-based violence a woman faces in the marriage institution. A married woman is instructed to stay married, be obedient to her husband and never say no to his sexual demands regardless of his behaviour. Generally, women are taught to tolerate and accept acts of domestic violence (including marital rape) perpetrated against them. On the other hand, a man’s conjugal rights included his right to have sexual intercourse with his wife when he pleased. The equal treatment of women and men under the law is vital to ensuring the recognition of women as full citizens and ensuring their freedom from violence. Therefore, the criminalisation of marital rape in Tanzania constitutes a significant opportunity to enact laws which effectively proscribe marital rape specifically and violence against women generally.
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