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Marital Rape: Is it a Crime or a mere mindset?


Being a taboo topic, the criminalization of marital rape continues to be the most controversial debate up till today. According to the norms of the society, the words “Qubool Hai” mark a wife’s duty to meet all the demands of her husband unquestionably. Whether a woman is in her stable health or not, she is taught to submit to her husband’s physical and emotional needs at any cost.

Due to this reason, the victims of marital rape fail to realize that their own rights have been violated. Commonly justified under the banner of religion, it is often ignored that women’s consent is her right and physical abuse against wife is strictly prohibited under all religions. 

According to numerous interview reports, it is the general belief of a woman to comply with her husband’s forceful advances otherwise ‘he will go elsewhere to fulfill his desires.’  A survey conducted in the twin city shows that approximately half of the women in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been forced into sexual activities by their husbands while no such case was reported legally. 


Despite the fact that marital rape is still legal in some of the advanced countries, women in Pakistan are bringing this issue on the table. Up till 2006, the inclusion of the clause A man is said to commit rape who has sexual intercourse with a woman, who is not his wife” in the law made it impossible for a woman to accuse her husband of marital rape.  With time, the progress of the Women’s Protection Act led to the criminalization of marital rape. This was marked by the removal of the last four words of the above clause. 

However, even with the change in the law, cases still remain unreported due to social biases, and the amount of stress women face regarding marital rights. 

“There is so much silence around the issue”- women’s rights activist, Maliha Zia Lari

In the case of a marital rape victim, Naila, her husband used to put her through emotional and physical torture on a regular basis. She was forced to indulge in inappropriate behavior regardless of her deteriorating mental or physical health. ‘He never cared about what I wanted or needed. He did not care about whether I was unwell or pregnant or had recently given birth to a child.’

Another incident was discussed at a local event where the girl shared, “My phuppo was the victim of marital rape and lost her life in the aftermath. She was in constant physical abuse and despite her weak medical condition, she was being forced to intercourse, in result – she couldn’t survive the injuries.” 

Another woman, a local resident of Gulshan e Iqbal shared that her husband was a medical doctor and was fully aware of the medical implications, used to give her cigarette burns to make her vulnerable during the process. Sometimes, he used to spit alcohol to tighten her vagina. The relationship ended up when the victim got her khulla.


Marital Rape In Islam: 

While the dialogue was active within different online and offline communities, a video by a very renowned religious scholar, Farhat Hashmi surfaced and fueled the fire. According to her statement, “Islam mein marital rape jaisi koi cheez nahi hai.” It made several rounds on the social media condemning the concept of Marital Rape in Islam as women are bound to satisfy their husband’s desires. The statement got her severe backlash and the majority seemed discombobulated by the event. 

Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ ۗ

“… And women have rights similar to the rights of men in a just manner, and the men have a degree (of advantage) over them…” (2:228).

This clearly shows that Allah has commanded spouses to be good to each other and men having a degree of advantage over women doesn’t direct or give authority to men to fulfil all desires irrespective of women’s health and wellbeing.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) of Allah (S) also states: ‘None would respect women except the magnanimous ones, and none would insult them except the ignoble ones.’ In addition, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) of Allah (S) stated: ‘Whoever insults his family, would lose happiness in his life.’

It could be the case that Islam doesn’t highlight the word ‘Marital Rape’ because the intimacy is under halal conditions but the force, humiliation and abuse that comes along by the psychologically challenged men need to be addressed and should be brushed under the rug.


Victims of marital rape go through immense pain, distress, and humiliation. The vaginal tears and infections result in a number of complications which require a rest of minimum six weeks by a woman to fully recover.

At times, marital rape is also accompanied by various forms of violence that result in physical injuries. According to the results of a handful of studies, post-traumatic disorder, anxiety, depression and sexual dysfunction are the most likely consequences that the victim suffers. In the case of child marriages, young girls often die because their bodies cannot withstand multiple abortions.

With the rising no. of incidents, it’s high time when government authorities and women rights organisations must assure that the present legislation is devised to safeguard women’s private and public affairs. Furthermore, it is duly important to ensure that registered cases are mindfully watched and executed with honour and transparency.

It is important to create awareness in men and women both about the basics of human dignity and stature. Women in any status are not sexual objects. It is necessary for every woman to be well-aware of her rights to not only protect her dignity but to also correct the mindset of those around her.

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Areeba Sabir
Areeba Sabir
Areeba Sabir is a passionate reader and writer. She has been spilling poetry from her heart from a very young age. She tends to notice the smallest of things and spreads awareness about them. Currently, she is working as a freelance writer and looking for interesting platforms to further enhance her skills.

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