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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Marital Rape Exemption in the United States and Possibility of Reform in Liberia
Author:Brumskine, Margaret D.
Periodical:Liberian Studies Journal
Geographic term:Liberia
Subjects:married women
sexual offences
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Abstract:In Liberia, the legislature has acted forcefully against rape, and has given courts the means to punish the crime. However, under the marital rape exemption, the law affirms society's view that forced sexual intercourse is not a crime if the female is the wife, the live-in companion or the voluntary social companion of the perpetrator. Under this law, which is archaic and obsolete, a husband not only may demand that his wife consent to sexual intercourse, but he can even use physical violence to secure his wishes. In the USA, reforms have been enacted in many jurisdictions to eliminate this exemption. This article analyses the rationale underlying the exemption, case law addressing the subject of marital rape in the USA, and the need to address the issue in Liberia. The paper also makes some recommendations for statutory or judicial reform in Liberia. It argues that, considering that the marital rape exemption contained in the Liberian Penal Code of 1976 has its origin in the common law of England and the USA, the arguments used to eradicate this exemption in most States of the USA can also be used in Liberia. The Liberian Penal Code definition of rape containing the marital rape exemption could and should be declared unconstitutional in that it discriminates against women who are married because it does not protect them against rape by their husband. Notes, ref.