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Bangladesh: Outlaw marital rape says Editorial in Dhaka Tribune

8 September 2014

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Dhaka Tribune, September 8, 2014

Outlaw marital rape

Tribune Editorial

The law needs to be clearly on the side of victims, not provide loopholes

We call on the government to make marital rape an offence under the law.

Married people who are raped by their spouses suffer severe physical and psychological trauma, but the law fails to acknowledge their suffering. It is shameful that we still leave the Victorian Penal Code un-amended to provide a loophole for marital rape.

Efforts to curb sexual abuse in the country, such as the Women and Children Repression act in 2010, are badly undermined by loopholes and misogynist attitudes embedded in old laws.

Marital rape is a case in point. It is outrageous that women who are raped by their husbands are not allowed to label their sufferings as rape, and are prevented from seeking redress.

Over the past two decades, many countries around the world have moved to expressly outlaw marital rape. This has not only directly helped victims, but by raising awareness of the problem, it has acted as a deterrent and improved the availability of assistance available to vulnerable people.

It is a harmful oversight that legal reforms have failed to address this issue and have left untouched similar discriminatory and offensive rules which brings a victim’s character into question.

The persistence of such rules is contrary to the High Court’s directive to the government last year to create a civilised and sensitive environment for victims of rape.

We must reform such rules. For efforts to curb sexual violence to have more impact, the law needs to be clearly on the side of victims, not to provide loopholes.
- See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/editorial/2014/sep/08/outlaw-marital-rape