Marital Rape Exemption in Nigeria: Time for a Departure?

Publication Information

Journal Title: Commonwealth Law Review Journal
Author(s): Izunwanne Lights Uwaegbulem
Published On: 29/08/2023
Volume: 9
First Page: 415
Last Page: 442
ISSN: 2581-3382
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher

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Izunwanne Lights Uwaegbulem, Marital Rape Exemption in Nigeria: Time for a Departure?, Volume 9, Commonwealth Law Review Journal, 415-442, Published on 29/08/2023, Available at


Of all crimes that could possibly be committed against a woman, rape is arguably the most brutal, more brutal than murder itself because in the latter, she is not alive to relive the horror. Rape leaves on the victim a perpetual dent; it is like an act of terrorism on a female. It skins the victim of her dignity as a human, leaving her sorrowful to nurse the remnants of her violated self. That dignity, that wholeness of the female cannot be propitiated by apologies, monetary compensation, not even by the imprisonment or death of the perpetrator. The heinousness of the crime is so extreme that some have advocated for the penalty of death for rapists and as the crime continues to be on the increase, it will be such a candidate for long. Sexual exploitation of females within the African continent is rife. But the failure to effectively address the problem may have something to do with the deep-rooted condescending view of women in traditional African society, not even civilisation can come to the rescue. One aspect of sexual exploitation that men by all means tend to always escape is the one perpetrated against women under the umbrella of marriage. Nigeria as the most populous African country comes to the fore in this discussion.

Keywords: Marriage, Rape, Marital Rape Exemption, Nigeria

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