CAIRO - 20 June 2021: When the ex-wife of Egyptian comedian and singer Tameem Youness revealed on an Instagram video on Friday that she has been subjected to “marital rape” for a year, the issue of the non-criminalization of ‘marital rape” became a hot topic on social media again.
Crying out in pain, she added that the law and Islamic Shariah in Egypt do not see that marital rape is a problem at all, so she decided to speak up about this social taboo in hope that decision-makers can take a step to solve such a major problem for many women in Egypt.
Social media users denounced the act and thoroughly discussed how the law and the Islamic Sharia see “marital rape”.
Amr Sabry, on his Twitter account, says, “There is no such thing as #maritalrape in Islam and Egyptian law. Rather, it is forbidden for a woman (to refrain from her marital duties) as long as she does not have a great health excuse. And, a man should be MERCIFUL with his wife when she is tired.” Amr also published old fatwas by late female preacher Abla El-Kahlawy saying that Islam prohibits marital rape as it is forbidden by Prophet Muhammed in his Sunna (The prophet’s teachings). He also published an old fatwa by former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa that a wife has the right to not have sex with her husband if she is subjected to violence by him during intercourse.
There is no such thing as #maritalrape in Islam and Egyptian law. Rather, it is forbidden for a woman as long as she does not have a great health excuse. A man should be MERCIFUL to his wife when she is tired. #الاغتصاب_الزوجي pic.twitter.com/qStshqWrPv— Amr Sabry (@sabryamr_11) June 19, 2021
The debate on the non-criminalization of marital rape heated after Sheikh Abdullah Rushdy, an Egyptian scholar in Islamic affairs, said on his Twitter “Some Westernized people are still promoting the so-called crime of marital rape! If a woman abstained from the husband without an excuse is forbidden.. and the woman who does that is cursed, and her husband has the right to discipline [punish] her for that after advicing and deserting her. If she responded, it is welcomed but if she refused, she should give him her dowry and be divorced.”
Rushdy faced a barrage of criticism on social media platforms; for instance, Amin tweet “Abdulla roshdy is psychopathic rapist, he needs psychiatric treatment ASAP.”
Mai El-Sadany said on Saturday “Today is the Intl Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. #IDESVIC2021. While not a conflict setting, there's something so painful about #الاغتصاب_الزوجي trending in Egypt today, w trend filled w tweets denying or justifying marital rape & gaslighting survivors.”
Today is the Intl Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. #IDESVIC2021— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) June 19, 2021
While not a conflict setting, there's something so painful about #الاغتصاب_الزوجي trending in Egypt today, w trend filled w tweets denying or justifying marital rape & gaslighting survivors.
The issue of marital rape was sparked in May 2021 when Abdullah Rushdy said that women have no religious right to abstain from having sex with their husbands after this issue was tackled in the 2021 Ramadan T.V. series “the Game of Newton.” However, the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa, which is concerned with issuing Fatwas (Islamic decisions), said that the relationship between a husband and wife is based on love and compassion and the spouses should respect each other's feelings.
“If the husband uses violence to force his wife to sleep with him, he is legally a sinner and she has the right to go to court and file a complaint against him to get punished. The woman also has the right to refuse to engage in sexual relationship with her husband if he has a contagious disease or uses violence which hurts her body during the sexual intercourse,” Dar al-Iftaa said in a fatwa on its official website.
Legally, “there is no provision in the Penal Code for marital rape. Therefore, marital rape is not considered a crime under the constitutional principle that there is no crime and no punishment except as authorized by a legal text. However, some opinions view that legislators should indicate a special punishment for this crime,” said the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in a report titled “Egypt Gender Justice: Assessment of laws affecting gender equality and protection against gender-based violence.
"Legally, marital rape of the wife is one of the forms of sexual abuse, as the husband uses violence without taking into regard the wife's psychological condition or health status," Rasha Omar, an expert at a family court, told Egypt Today on Saturday.
“This [marital rape] causes psychological and health damage to the wife. Psychological damage comes in the form of a feeling of humiliation, low self-esteem, in addition to entering into bouts of depression, which may lead the wife to post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said.
"As for the health damage, the sexually abused wife could suffer from diseases of the reproductive organs, dysmenorrhea, and urinary incontinence," Omar continued, adding that if the abused wife is pregnant, she could be subjected to miscarriage or premature birth.
Omar further revealed that over the last 5 years, the number of wives, who resorted to family courts to request divorce or khula from the husband due to “marital rape” increased to about 50 percent in the court she is working at in downtown Cairo.
However, there is no explicit text called “marital rape,” but this act falls under the term “the wife’s request for a divorce for harm,” as there is a form of psychological and physical harm inflicted on the wife.
She also revealed that in some cases husbands ask for irreligious practices with the wife during the intercourse -such as anal intercourse, and in case of refusal, he deliberately uses force. “Unfortunately, this was not considered as legal evidence of an incident of damage to the wife.”
"The wife is unable to disclose what she is exposed to due to the culture of the society, as it is a matter of the intimate marital relationship, or due to the misconception of religion," Omar noted.
“This leads to psychological distress to the wife,” she said.