Alternative Strategy to Prosecuting Marital Rape

This may be particularly relevant for activists in jurisdictions where marital rape has not been criminalized. It may be an alternative strategy to take.

In Meera Dhungana for FWLD v. Ministry of Law an Justice (Nepal) 509 the Public Interest Litigation was filed with the Supreme Court stating that Section 1 of the Chapter on Rape did not include marital rape and therefore failed to criminalize marital rape. Stressing the implication of “free” and “full consent” as a recognized ground of conjugal life, the court ruled that there must be mutual consent between husband and wife for the sexual intercourse after marriage. The court issued directive order to introduce a Bill for making complete legal provisions with regard to marital rape taking into account the special circumstances of marital relationships and the position of husbands.”510

The result was the outlawing and punishment of marital rape in the Gender Equality Act, 2006.511 Failure to legislate sends out the message that rape within marriage is acceptable.512

Fareda Banda ’ Project on Laws that Discriminate Against Women’ OHCHR Publication p. 88

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