Spousal Rape Rampant In Fiji

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SUVA – Marital rape or spousal rape is rife in Fiji as tradition and religion do not recognise the crime for what it is, says the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.

FWCC co-ordinator Shamima Ali said most domestic violence cases included forced sex. “We often see terrible sexual assault of women by their husbands,” Ali said.

“In many instances the people, including service providers, religious institutions and sometimes law enforcers as well as the courts, do not recognise marital rape for the crime that it is,” she said.

Ali said: “There is a cultural belief that a man has all the rights over his wife and women providing sex is a privilege for the man; his right to do whatever he wants with his wife, sexually or otherwise.”

FWCC believes this is a great obstacle to men being charged for marital rape.

Ali said the Domestic Violence Decree aimed to ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice and that women were protected from this crime.

“It should make women’s access to justice easier. Unfortunately for effective implementation a lot more work needs to be done ù training of police, the courts, social welfare; other service providers,” she said.

“The trainers themselves should understand the issue of gender-based violence. If we all work together we can make the Domestic Violence legislation work,” said Ali.

Last week, in the High Court in Suva, a man was on trial for the rape of his wife.

Ali said most cases of marital rape were unreported.