Subscribe to SIAWI content updates by Email
Home > impact on women / resistance > Egypt: “Not by Force” - Marital rape is a crime.

Egypt: “Not by Force” - Marital rape is a crime.

Thursday 29 November 2018, by siawi3

Source:CEWLA, Nov 25, 2018, 3:57 AM

“Not By Force”
Marital Rape is A Crime

The center for Egyptian women’s legal assistance (CEWLA) is delighted to announce the launching of its 16 days of activism campaign on “Marital Rape”

“Not By Force, marital rape is a crime” will tackle this issue of marital rape as a form of violence that goes un-discussed from legal, social, and psychological aspects.

Launching statement

On the 25th of November every year, the world celebrates the international day of combating violence against women and the beginning of the 16 days of activism. This year, the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) is launching its campaign on combating marital rape a form of violence against women that to this day still goes undiscussed.
Shedding the light on women’s reality in the Egyptian community, we find that there are several forms of violence that women are subjected to within or outside of the family. These numerus forms of violence are encouraged by negative cultural heritage, customs, and traditions, in addition to the deteriorating economic situation. Furthermore, the absence of laws to protect women from domestic violence is a crucial factor in the prevalence and increase of this violence against women. This gap in the legal system has lead to the spread of different forms of violations and violence, And while some of these have started to enter the public sphere of discussion, many still remain taboo. Sadly, violence committed by husbands within the sanctity of the home, is still a taboo subject, shied away from by the public, even when it reaches the level of rape.

Why is CEWLA conducting this campaign?

Throughout CEWLA’s work providing women with various support services, we have documented several complaints involving sexual violence where the husband is the aggressor / perpetrator. Many of those women were ashamed to complain. Even if the violence exacerbated enough to lead to divorce or Khul’, the women still would not cite sexual violence as the cause. Many also felt compelled to forgo most of their rights to escape this form of violence via divorce. In multiple cases, suicide was the last resort for some when they succeed in their pursuit of divorce. According to the prevalent patriarchal mindset that many people believe in, marital sex is considered a private issue and a taboo that women are not allowed to speak about. They are also not supposed to complain about the pain they endure even if their husbands coerce them into sex without their consent, sometimes even during sickness or weakness. Many of the women who talked to us used the expression “I feel he is raping me” to describe the level of suffering and psychological pain resulting from this oppressive relationship; hence, the expression “Marital Rape”.

Based on that, we find that the expression used by women to describe this harsh reality they are facing is compatible with the international definitions of forced and coercive sex. Martial rape is defined internationally as “the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent”. The international criminal court defines rape in article 7 of its statute as “Physical abuse of a sexual nature committed against a person in coercive circumstances”, its conditions are specified as absence of consent, violence, and threats even if psychological. All of these conditions exist in marital rape.

Despite the numerous cases we’ve spoken to, we’ve found no statistics of marital rape. The reasons might be lack of awareness or embarrassment of women to speak about such a problem. However, in 2014, the Population Survey under the Ministry of Health documented that 267 married women in the study sample of 6693 women were subjected to sexual violence from their husbands. It also found that 30% who had separated from their husbands had previously been subjected to violence at least once. This is similar to what was reported by the World Health Organization in 2013. This report was conducted in several countries including Egypt and documented 35% of women are subjected to physical or sexual violence from their husbands.

The lack of statistics might also be the result of the culture and That consider sex as a proprietary right for men, and men alone; they decide when, where and how it will happen without taking into consideration women’s psychological and health needs or desires. This perception is widespread despite the fact that religion supports a mutually agreeable and healthy relation based on love, mercy, and peace.
Driven by the above, and in conjunction with the UN General Assembly’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, our campaign, “Not By Force”, on marital rape discusses it as a form of violence against women, with the aim of breaking the taboos of the culture of silence and shame. These taboos have already affected and destroyed the lives of many families in general and women in particular. The time has come to discuss and combat such crime.

The campaign’s program:
-  Real life stories of women who have been subjected to marital rape.
-  Psychological and social analysis of the results and effects of this form of violence.
-  The cultural aspect of the issue and why we need to raise sexual awareness and education for couples-to-be
-  Arguments on marital sex based on religious texts.
-  International conventions and protection mechanisms.
-  Legal view on protecting women.
-  Info-graph of marital rape