Sunday, December 4

Criminalizing marital rape is long overdue – Fallu Sowe

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By: Nyima Sillah

Fallu Sowe, the National Coordinator of the Network against Gender-Based Violence (NGBV), has said the criminalization of marital rape is long overdue.

In an exclusive interview with The Voice, Mr. Sowe said “My stand and the stand of my organization Network against Gender-Based violence have always been pushing forward to ensure that we have to criminalize marital rape.

“Our reason is that we have seen so many cases of women who have been raped or forced to have sex by their husbands a few weeks or months after their giving birth and this causes them great harm. Some women might also get sick or angry when their husband forces them to the extent of beating them.

“We don’t think that is right and even Islam does not encourage that. So, based on that, we also argued that no husband should take advantage of the weakness of their wife to force them to have sex when they are not ready. Looking at it in that aspect, I think forcing someone to have sex whether married or not married is wrong and should be criminalized,” he enunciated.

According to him, when the sexually offensive act was reviewed, they argued that it should be criminalized and it was put in the bill. When it went to the National Assembly, the National Assembly decided not to only remove the provision that criminalizes marital rape but replaced it with another provision that states that rape cannot happen between a married couple.

“When we went to a consultative meeting with the National Assembly it was again kicked out because they feel it will cause more harm than good because a lot of women would then take advantage of that provision and take their husbands to court which will not be good for the society

“They also argued that Islamically once you get married you have signed a contract with your husband that you should have sex at any time therefore, sex in marriage is consensual and cannot be raped and because of that, they decided that it should not be included in the bills of the sexual offensive act,” Mr Sowe explained.