Last year Priyali Sur was brutally beaten and raped with a flashlight by her husband on his birthday in India. She bled for more than 60 days. This year, she petitioned India’s Supreme Court with a plea to declare marital rape a criminal offense as it is still legal to rape your wife in India. According to the Huffington Post, the court said that it couldn’t change the law for just one person and dismissed her request.

In 2010, figures released by the Medical Research Council showed that 18.8 % of South African women admitted to being subjected to marital/partner rape. Similarly, 18.2 % of men who were studies admitted to forcing their current or ex partners/wives to have sex when they refused.

A similar study by the Council showed sexual violence by an intimate partner was only reported by 2.1 % of women experiencing this form of violence.

South Africa only criminalised marital rape in 1993. But even in countries where it has been made illegal, laws are not always reinforced by communities, for example: Nepal passed a law in 2006, making marital rape a criminal offense. Yet, the World Health Organization found in 2007, that in practice, this law is not enforced strictly, owing to a lack of support for it by law enforcement agencies, as well as the prevalence of victim-blaming.

Here are the 38 countries where marital rape is still legal:


Infographic: Women24

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