By Arthia Nixon
I had Sunday brunch with a new but true friend today and as domestic violence survivors, we found ourselves talking about our pasts and how we got through what should have killed us emotionally and physically. Somehow, the topic of marital rape came up. She asked me how as a citizen of The Bahamas, our women were not demanding a change in the law to recognize marital rape. Here’s what I said.
“I don’t have a clue, and my heart goes out to those who have been trained to think that marital rape is impossible and I am distraught to see the men I once respected go off on social media rants downplaying it because that tells me a lot about what goes on in their homes,” I replied.
I did not have an answer for her because I do not speak for a majority of women. Instead, I spoke for myself and said that I felt some people are conditioned to interpret the bible to their own benefit and one of those things is that the wife is subject to her husband in every way.
As a journalist, I have observed the conversations among politicians who were voted to represent their constituents and who speak with a voice that is better heard when their feet are shoved in their mouths.
It’s amazing that some people, many of whom will use religion as their validity, will recognize that date rape is a thing but marital rape cannot exist because the body belongs to the spouse. Courts will allow a son to appear for killing his mother, a parent to appear for abusing their child, a father to appear for molesting his daughter, but for some reason, a husband cannot appear for raping his wife. However, had the rape occurred a day before the marriage, it would be considered date rape. If domestic violence exist, why not domestic rape?
There are people who are extremely selfish and outright horrible and will do whatever they wish for their own sexual gratification. There are so many factors in relationships that exist without the court having to come in to make things a bit more difficult.
The thing is whenever the topic comes up, I realize that I am no longer blind based on what used to be my societal norm and that by living in a different culture, I now saw things differently. I went back into a relationship I was in where I later learned that it was not normal to do things I didn’t feel like doing. Where when my period was on, I was reminded that I had a mouth. Where when I was feeling sick I was told it was my duty as long and a doctor never signed a form saying I couldn’t have intercourse, never mind the garbage pail beside me filled with vomit and the mucus soaked towel nearby. And those times when I confided with a friend and relative that I endured another night of tears as I told him to stop it, he reminded me that I just enjoyed it rough and I wondered how to end the relationship, they would remind me that I was having all my material needs met and it’s not a time for a woman to be by herself in this big bad word. Years later, when I saw a therapist for something else, she called it out for what it really was – domestic rape.
So the question is, why is marital rape not considered rape by many? Talk amongst yourselves and feel free to leave a comment as we ponder on this for a while.