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To be completley flabbergasted that rape within marriage wasn't a crime for so long?

(126 Posts)

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user1483314270 Sun 01-Jan-17 23:54:12

It was made illegal in 1991. I was born in 1988 so it was still legal in my lifetime.

I actually only found this out recently as I'm doing an access to law course at college and I'm still completely shock that it was legal for so long and within my lifetime.

I actually have an essay to write and I have to talk about the case which resulted in it becoming a criminal offence and it got me thinking about it again.

Seriously though, wtf! Why was it made illegal earlier? I think if someone had asked me prior to starting my college course when it was made a illegal I probably would have assumed the 1960's or the 70's at a push but the 1990's! Seriously!

<Goes back to essay>

user1483314270 Sun 01-Jan-17 23:56:04

Why wasn't it made illegal earlier, not why was it...

MLGs Sun 01-Jan-17 23:57:42

I remember when it happened (unhelpful)

RebelRogue Sun 01-Jan-17 23:57:51

Because mysoginy and sexism is that deeply integrated in society. Hell even today you will find men and women that will say there's no such thing as rape in marriage. "It's my right as a husband/i eatn money/i did the dishes" "I have to put out or he will cheat" that type of bs. Bleurgh

Pineapplemilkshake Sun 01-Jan-17 23:58:02

Shocking isn't it?! I only recently found out that homosexuality was a crime in Ireland until 1993 shock

RebelRogue Sun 01-Jan-17 23:58:18

But you did make me want to research the case file.

Ferventfeminista Mon 02-Jan-17 00:00:32

I remember hearing about it on the radio when it became illegal, I was a teenager.sad

TheGruffaloMother Mon 02-Jan-17 00:01:59

Yep, I'm an 88 baby too and it disgusts me that it was legal in my lifetime.

I've pointed this out to family before during debate and they just tell me I "can't be right" and continue on with their sexist bilge. angry

AVirginLitTheCandle Mon 02-Jan-17 00:09:26

This might sound strange and I don't know if this is just me but I think when big changes like this happen in your lifetime it makes it feel more shocking and real iyswim?

I was born in early 1991 and when I hear about progress that was made in the 60's, 70' doesn't really "hit" me fully iyswim. However rape within marriage was made illegal in my lifetime even if it was a very small part of it and just really hits then and I just think "wow, that's fucked up."

Does that make any sense at all?

Callipygian Mon 02-Jan-17 00:09:33

It's still legal in a lot of countries.

Afganistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan etc

AVirginLitTheCandle Mon 02-Jan-17 00:10:44

blush Think I may have missed a few words out there but hopefully it still makes sense...

AVirginLitTheCandle Mon 02-Jan-17 00:12:51

It's still legal in a lot of countries.

And it was even legal in some western countries for longer than it was in the UK. In Germany it wasn't made illegal until 1997. It even took until 1993 for it to be made illegal in all US states.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 02-Jan-17 00:12:57

And until it was made illegal there wasn't a great deal of fuss made. You would have thought people wouldn't have married. I bloody wouldn't.

AVirginLitTheCandle Mon 02-Jan-17 00:17:30

I have a few questions (again blush) for those who were old enough to remember it being made a crime.

What was the general reaction like? I've heard that a lot of people disagreed with the change in the law and thought women were getting too uptight but surely that can't be true. Apparently the general consensus was that the only people who thought it should be illegal and that a husband could rape his wife were "crazy feminazis"...

crashdoll Mon 02-Jan-17 00:18:25

YANBU, it's totally fucked up. sad

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 02-Jan-17 00:20:25

I teach medieval studies and every year I mention this (because otherwise students end up with a misconception of medieval 'barbarity' in terms of rape laws). And every year, my students are shocked. So it's not just you.

Last year, an American woman was especially shocked at how backwards we were ... until she checked the legislation in her own home state.

Birdsgottafly Mon 02-Jan-17 00:32:59

""What was the general reaction like""

Politicians, both male and female, were saying things like "well you can't rape your wife, it's her duty".

"Marital duties" was thought of by many as a moral obligation and many thought that it was written in law.

It was something that a man could go to the Priest, or Vicar about and they come out and have a word.

It was a very different time and I wish some people would be kinder to older Women, when they seem concerned about Women going out on their own etc. If you were raped, the attitude was that you shouldn't have been out. Women couldn't move freely in Society and expect protection, in my lifetime, I'm 48.

Birdsgottafly Mon 02-Jan-17 00:36:07

For those saying that you wouldn't have got married, LPs were still having children removed or having to give them up, because they lived in Poverty, in the 80's.

You didn't have protection from "domestic incidents" and if you were living in sin, then you were probably getting what you deserved.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 02-Jan-17 00:39:05

And you would, until recently, have needed a male guarantor if you rented or bought a house as a single woman.

Besides which, many women still do believe marital rape is an impossibility, effectively. I've read arguments made before the law changed, where people pointed out that undue violence was illegal, so a husband who battered his wife was on the wrong side of the law anyway, and criminalising rape would be unnecessary.

And there are still plenty of people who think that if your partner doesn't physically coerce you into sex, it's not rape.

caroldecker Mon 02-Jan-17 00:39:24

Germany may have illegalised marital rape in 1997, but until 2016 rape only counted if the women physically fought back.

Isadora2007 Mon 02-Jan-17 00:40:30

I'm not sure why you think you wouldn't get married though as if assume you know your husband well enough to know that whether he thought it was a right or not he wouldn't force you to have sex?

It is shocking that it was legal. But It is still illegal to have an abortion in Ireland now... which is also shocking. And in years to come out kids will be astounded at that I'm sure.

TitaniasCloset Mon 02-Jan-17 00:41:22

That's why it shocks me now when women are anti feminist, don't people realise how fragile these rights are and that it still could all go backwards again? Look at what's happened this year in politics in the US, and check out some of the reality TV shows end most videos on MTV. In some ways we already are going backwards. Scary.

RebelRogue Mon 02-Jan-17 00:43:02

Yup plenty of women who still believe that having sex is their duty,and the magic elixir to keep the marriage alive,keep the husband from straying and curing cancer.

Birdsgottafly Mon 02-Jan-17 00:47:32

I can remember a thread on here and it was asked "surely all men weren't rapists", but you've got to have an understanding of what constitutes rape and sexual assault, which people didn't.

You've only got to watch "it was all right in the 70's", television program.

It's the other side of the coin, to Abusive behaviour. Men were Gods whose needs and wants came first.

OutToGetYou Mon 02-Jan-17 00:50:01

It's not quite right to say "rape within marriage was legal", it was more that it just didn't exist as a concept.

It was made illegal by case law, rather than new legislation. R v R was the case. It was very controversial at the time. However, senior judges very much felt that in fact they were putting the law right rather than overriding written law (hence the comment about it not being 'legal' as such before the case, there is no specific law about it).

The reason there was no such concept is as has been mentioned - patriarchal society, women as chattels etc.

Op - if you carry on with the law more will shock you. I did a law degree with the OU and some things really do make your eyebrows rise. So, yes, you are being unreasonable to be flabbergasted smile

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