By: Marie Anne Dushimimana
Aline (not her really name) 28, had a fiancé whom she was planning to get married to but it never happened because another man married her by force.
It was on Sunday when she passed to her single pastor’s home, and he immediately closed the doors and raped her, and she stayed as her wife, she said in her testimony to Isimbi TV.
“I passed two weeks locked in his house, and I thought it was better to cool down and become his wife. After all, a forced marriage happened to many girls, I was not the only one,” she said.
However, things get worse during her days of marriage: she was raped repeatedly.
“People often ask if a husband can rape his wife. It happens and it is the worst thing that ever happened to me. I always remember that scary scenes,” she said.
“Most of the time, my husband had sex with me without my consent. He often did it in my sleep, and when I woke up, I was obliged to keep silent and let him finish,” she sadly added.
Aline believed that every woman lives the same marital life, and she would keep it as the secret of marriage, she narrated.
“He would not wait for me to recover from Cesarean delivery. He would be patient when I was still at the hospital, but when I came back home, I was supposed to have sex with him no matter the health status I was in. it was sad,” she said.
Cesarean delivery (C-section) is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus.
After talking to other women, she learned that not every woman was living the same ordeal, and she decided to file for a divorce, after seven years of marriage.
Some men still controversial over marital rape
Kajyambere (not his really name), a husband and a father, told Integonews that when he exchanged the vows with his wife, it was a sign of allegiance and the full acceptance of every sexual intercourse between them.
“She knew her principal role as a woman, and I know mine as a husband. She is my wife, after all, I think I can have her whenever I want and it must not make a crime. The same to me, she can have me whenever she desires, and I cannot complain,” he says.
According to him, criminalizing marital rape can destroy families, rather than bringing positive impacts.
“In nowadays we have an increasing number of divorces. Most of all are resulting from these new rights of women which are being created and children suffer from it,” says Kajyambere.
Kalisa, 35, told Intego News that some women wrongly accuse their husbands of marital rape, especially when they have problems in their marriage.
“Justice institutions have to be extremely cautious about these kinds of accusations, because sometimes they are pure lies and once somebody’s reputation is destroyed, it’s hard to repair it,” he warned.
Marital rape or spousal rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent. The lack of consent is the essential element and need not involve physical violence. Marital rape is considered a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
VenusteKagabo, a senior Lawyer told Intego News that women started to file cases of marital rape and many of them are won.
It is not enough to be legally married to a man or a woman, there is need of consent for every act of sexual intercourses, said Kagabo.
In most cases, it is committed by men who cannot tolerate their wives in their “bad” biological conditions like menstruations, illnesses, and even after giving birth.
“It is better to file a case immediately after being raped when proofs are still fresh. However, in this digital era, criminal laboratory technologies are developing so fast, and some old proofs can be tested,” he said.
Among the proofs of marital rape include injuries on the body, sperms, and in the worst cases, phone records, he said.
In the current penal law, Article 133 states that any person who is convicted of rape shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years and not more than fifteen years, and a fine of not less than one million Rwandan Francs and not more than two million Rwandan Francs.
The article states that if the act of rape is committed among spouses, it shall also be considered to be rape, hence making no distinction of the crime.
According to Rwanda Health Survey 2015, 31% of ever-partnered women aged 15-49 years experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.
Intimate Partner Violence is domestic violence by a current or former spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner. It can take a number of forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, and sexual abuse.