The Influence Of Proneness To Spousal Rape On Marital Stability Among Couples
The study investigated the influence of spousal rape on marital stability among couples in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. The study employed the descriptive research survey for the assessment of the opinions of the respondents. The questionnaire was used to collect vital information for this study. A total of 120 (one hundred and twenty) respondents were sampled for this study to represent the entire population of the study. Four null hypotheses were tested and the following results emerged at the end of the analysis of data:
- Hypothesis one found that there is a significant influence of spousal rape on marital stability among couples.
- Hypothesis two found that there is no significant influence of socio-economic status on spousal rape among couples
- Hypothesis three found that religious impact spousal rape on marital stability was significant
- Hypothesis four found that there is a significant ethnic impact in spousal rape on marital stability among couples.
Based on the above results, it could be concluded that spousal rape influences marital stability among couples. Also, it could be concluded that religion, ethnicity and socio-economic status are one of the important factors that determine stability in marriage.
Based on the conclusions, it is recommended that for marriages to work well, couples should ensure that they abstain from those things that would make them to face marital conflicts, separation or divorce. Such things as rape, should not be mentioned amongst couples, because it is capable of derailing the marital tie between man and woman in a conjugal union, called marriage. Rape is evil, and therefore, no sane human being, man or woman should think or nurse the idea of going into it.
1.1 Background to the Study
When people hear the word ‘rape’, it often conjures a mental image; perhaps a stranger with a knife jumping out of the bushes at night, and forcing a woman to engage in sexual intercourse. Defining rape is not an easy task. Definitions come from various perspectives: from the law, the media, research, and political activism. Even within one of these domains, definitions vary (Arsworth, 2004). Mundidi (2005) sees rape as a crime which affects all members of society both as its victims, and as those close to them. Rape, according to him, is the threat, or use of force to compel one individual to engage in a sexual act with another. It is any sexual intercourse with a person by forcible compulsion or threat of forcible compulsion. It is a sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of giving consent.
Marital dissolution, though not quite ubiquitous has become common place in many societies. Over the course of the past decades, the rate of desertions, separations or even divorce in Nigeria alone, has risen up tremendously. The number of children affected with the disruption had kept on increasing (Social Welfare Record and Data, 2000). There is need to take into account that in a marital relationship, two separate personalities are interacting, two relatively heterogeneous values and need systems confront each other and that two different behavioural systems are present (Hassan and Sotonade, 1993).
Research carried out by Sotonade (2001), has indicated that the greater the discrepancy between individual characteristics in marriage, the less stability the marital dyad is likely to have. Whether the differences between the parties have to do with age, socio-economic backgrounds, education, sexual compatibility and so on, they portend a lower degree of dyadic adjustment prior to marriage and a greater instability in the marital relationship itself. According to Zartman (2003), marital conflict is an inevitable and at least sometimes valuable component of intimate relationships. Interpersonal relationships require a continual process of negotiation and exchange which permits spouses to maximize their individual outcomes and maintain an equilibrium that satisfies both spouses. Most times, Hassan (2002) and Adeleke (2004) observed that, sexual activity solidifies marital union, and a situation where sexual activity between man and his wife is done by force and without consent, tends to yield conflict, separation and divorce among couples in marriage.
In many cultures the stigma associated with rape is extremely damaging to victims. In some cultures, women are driven to suicide or are killed by family members in order to relieve the family of their shame (Heise et al, 2004).
In marriage, many factors tend to bring about stability or instability among couples. Factors such as in-laws interruption, religion, socio-economic status, communication, sexual compatibility, etc are some of the factors that stabilize marriage among couples. Also, spousal rape, is one of the causes of instability in marriage. Due to the fact that many couples are not sexually compatible, not communicating at the same frequency sexually, the incidence of spousal rape, that forceful sexual intercourse can occur. According to Ibegbu (2004), sex without consent of the spouse, especially the woman, has caused marital conflict, separation and divorce among the married couple. He opined that in some homes, couples do not have good relationships, and in a home where there is lack of effective sexual communication, abuse of sex usually occur.
Historically, in English common law, Arsworth (2004) observed that rape was defined as a man engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman other than his wife against her will and without her consent by using or threatening force. Today, legal definitions of rape differ widely across nations.
Rape victims often suffer from depression, feelings of betrayal and humiliation, problems with trust and intimacy, guilt, anxiety, fears, anger, physical problems, sexual difficulties, and lowered self-esteem in many areas of their lives (Muechlenhard; Goggins; Jones; and Satterfield 1991; Shapiro and Schwarz, 1997).
Additionally, rape often results in physical injury to the victim or leads to medical difficulties (RAINN, 2001; Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000). For example, rape victims can contact sexually transmitted diseases from rapists. Female victims may also become pregnant (Hiese et al., 1994).
The consequences of rape have been conceptualized as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which focuses on the victim’s repeatedly re-experiencing the rape (e.g. in dreams or flashbacks); feeling numb and attempting to avoid stimuli associated with the rape;; and experiencing increased physiological arousal (e.g. difficulty sleeping or concentrating, outbursts of anger, or an exaggerated startle response). This in any case causes set back in marriage. For instance, many marriages have hit the rock due sexual abuse or rape incidence. According to Adamson (2005), men are more prone to raping their wives. When couples are sexually not compatible and a situation where the man is into drug addiction or drunkenness, spousal rape usually occurs among couples.
Male and female rape victims experience many of the same consequences (Mezey and King, 2005). Although both genders may have difficulty seeking help from crisis intervention services or the police, men may have more because being a rape victim is inconsistent with the male stereotype. Gay and lesbian rape victims may have greater difficulty than heterosexuals obtaining help from social service agencies, which are often not publicized for or geared toward gay and lesbian clients (Waterman, 2004; Dawson and Bologna, 2006).
Several studies carried out by Yarrow (2000); Arnolds (2003) and Adamson (2005) have provided estimates of rape incidence and prevalence. The National Institute of justice and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) survey. The survey consisted of telephone interviews with eight thousand couples; four thousand women; and four thousand men in the United States regarding their experiences with various forms of violence. In this study, rape was defined as “an event that occurs without the consent of the victim and involves the use of force or threat to penetrate the victim’s vagina or anus by penis, tongue, fingers or object; or the victim’s mouth by penis”. This definition includes both the attempted and completed rape (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000). The researchers found that 7.7 percent of married women and 0.3 percent of married men over age thirty had experienced such an event.
According to Dally and Wilson (2003), marriage is a socially sanctioned long-term mating arrangement that typically involves economic, social, and reproductive cooperation between the spouses. Although the norms that govern selection of a marriage partner and the customs surrounding the marriage ceremony vary from culture to culture, all known societies practice this long-term pairing.
As Onuoha (2005) puts it, different rapists commit rape for different reasons, and any one rapist may rape for different reasons at different times. Thus no one theory can explain all rapes. However, many cultural factors seem to contribute to rape. Commonly held myths such as these, can contribute to date and marital rape: a man must have sex to prove his masculinity; when women say no to sex, they really mean yes, so men should ignore women’s refusals; if a woman engages in kissing or petting, she is obligated to engage in sexual intercourse; what goes on between husband and wife is no one else’s business; and the man should be head of the household. These are dangerous myths that can lead to rape and marital instability in the family. Burth (1991) is of the opinion that rape causes conflict, bad blood between husband and wife. He opined that the traditional gender roles prescribing female submission and male dominion are linked to rape.
Characteristic of culture and gender role socialization, however, do not explain why most men do not rape their wives, and why most women even rape their husbands, or why rape occurs among the gays and lesbians in which both people have experiences similar gender role socialization. Individual differences are also important.
Some people hold beliefs justifying rape more strongly than others. For instance, men who rape more strongly than others. For instance, men who rape tend to believe more strongly in myths about rape and they are more likely to engage in fantasies about coercive sex (Lange, 2006). Compared with other men rapists drink more heavily, begin having experiences earlier, and are more likely to have been physically or sexually abused as children (Ullman, 2000; Koss, 2002 and Karabastos, 2004).
1.2 Theoretical Framework
Abraham (2000) theorises that victims of rape can be severely traumatized by the assault and may have difficulty functioning as well as they had been used to prior to the assault, with disruption of concentration, sleeping patterns and eating habits, for example. They may feel jumpy or be on edge. After being raped it is common for the victim to experience distress. In the months immediately following the assault these problems may be severe and very upsetting and may prevent the victim from revealing their ordeal to friends orfamily, or seeking police or medical assistance (Thornhill and Palmer, (2001).
According to Marnie (2005), additional symptoms of rape include:
dissociation (feeling numb and detached, like being in a daze or a dream, or feeling that the world is strange and unreal)
- Difficulty remembering important parts of the assault
- Reliving the assault through repeated thoughts, memories, or nightmares
- Avoidance of things, places, thoughts, and/or feelings that remind the victim of the assault
- Anxiety or increased arousal (difficulty sleeping, concentrating, etc.)
- Avoidance of social life or place of rape
- For one-third to one-half of the victims, these symptoms continue beyond the first few months and meet the conditions for the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder.
According to Adamson (1990), some of the psychological and health effects that can occur in someone who has been raped: depression, anxiety and/or panic attacks, sleeplessness and/or nightmares, shame and guilt, difficulty concentrating, headaches, fatigue or loss of motivation, stomach problems, eating disorders (weight loss or gain), alcoholism, feeling betrayed and/or violated, feeling angry or violent towards the perpetrator, feeling powerless or out of control, increased blood pressure, loss of confidence and self esteem, withdrawal and isolation, overall loss of trust in people, traumatic stress.
In both rape and sexual harassment, one person has more power than another. In contrast, consensual sexual interactions are defined as participation in sexual relationships by people who freely choose to engage in that interaction (Allgeier, 1987). When two mature people respect each other (and when neither feels guilty about the relationship), sexual interactions can offer uniquely positive pleasures. Everyone will be making and have made decisions about sexuality. The decision must take into account the possibilities of both life-threatening disease and pregnancy. However, as Allgeier (2002) writes, “Humans are blessed with a potential capacity for experiencing intense intimacy and connection, not to mention exquisite sensations, in the context of their sexual interactions with one another.”
Some negative aspects of sexuality has been noted. An additional problem is that many people are harmed by sexual aggression. Rape is defined as vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, without the individual’s consent. This penetration may be obtained by force, or by threat of physical harm, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent (Koss, 1993). Rape can be committed by a stranger, but data show that people who have been raped are likely to know those who raped them (Bridges, 1991). Unfortunately, most cases of rape go unreported. However, estimates in the United States and Canada suggest that between 14% and 25% of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime (Calhoun and Atkeson, 2001).
Whereas rape typically involves physical violence or threatened violence, other kinds of sexual exploitation involve different threats, such as “Sleeping with me is the best way to get the promotion”. This is an extreme example of sexual harassment, an activity that involves ‘deliberate or repeated comments, gesture, or physical contacts of a sexual nature that are unwanted by the recipient” (American Psychological Association, 2000).
In both rape and sexual harassment, one person has more power than another. In contrast, consensual sexual interactions are defined as participation in sexual relationships by people who freely choose to engage in that interaction (Allgeier, 1987). When two mature people respect each other (and when neither feels guilty about the relationship), sexual interactions can offer uniquely positive pleasures. Everyone will be making and have made decisions about sexuality. The decision must take into account the possibilities of both life-threatening disease and pregnancy. However, as Allgeier (2002) writes, “Humans are blessed with a potential capacity for experiencing intense intimacy and connection, not to mention exquisite sensations, in the context of their sexual interactions with one another”.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
Marital dissolution, though not quite ubiquitous, has become common place in many societies. Over the course of the past decades, the rate of desertions, separations or even divorce in Nigeria alone, has risen tremendously. The number of children affected with the disruption had kept on increasing due to sexual incompatibility and rape incidences.
The causes of rape are as follows: poor communication between husband and wife; drug abuse and addiction of either of the spouses; tiredness; financial problems, for instance, when the man could no longer finance and cater for the family; unfaithfulness; stinginess and so on.
The consequences of rape have been conceptualized as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which focuses on the victim’s repeatedly re-experiencing the rape (e.g. in dreams or flashbacks); feeling numb and attempting to avoid stimuli associated with the rape;; and experiencing increased physiological arousal (e.g. difficulty sleeping or concentrating, outbursts of anger, or an exaggerated startle response). This in any case causes set back in marriage.
Rape victims often suffer from posteassault depression, feelings of betrayal and humiliation, problems with trust and intimacy, guilt, anxiety, fears, anger, physical problems, sexual difficulties, and lowered self-esteem in many areas of their lives (Muechlenhard; Goggins; Jones; and Satterfield 1991; Shapiro and Schwarz, 1997).
For instance, many marriages have hit the rock due sexual abuse or rape incidence. According to Adamson (2005), men are more prone to raping their wives. When couples are sexually not compatible and a situation where the man is into drug addiction or drunkenness, spousal rape usually occurs among couples.
This study sets out to examine the influence of proneness to spousal rape on marital stability among couples in Lagos Metropolis.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of proneness to spousal rape on marital stability among couples.
Other objectives of the study include to:
- Examine whether spousal rape influences marital stability among couples.
- Determine whether socio-economic status influences spousal rape among couples.
- Examine whether religious impact on spousal rape affect marital stability.
- Find out whether ethnic impact on spousal rape affect marital stability.
1.5 Research Questions
The research questions raised in this study include:
- Does spousal rape influence stability among couples?
- To what extent will socio-economic status influences spousal rape among couples?
- Does religious impact on spousal rape affect marital stability?
- Does ethnic impact on spousal rape affect marital stability?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
These research hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study:
- There will be no significant influence of spousal rape on marital stability among couples.
- Socio-economic status difference on spousal rape among couples does not significantly influence their marital stability.
- There will be no significant religious impact of spousal rape on marital stability.
- There will be no significant ethnic impact of spousal rape on marital stability.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study will be beneficial in the following ways or areas:
The findings and recommendations of this study will be of great benefit for couples; both the already married and those intending to marry. This is because they would learn the factors that contribute to marital stability, especially, they would learn that spousal rape does not promote marital bliss among couples. The study will help couples learn how best to avoid rape because it brings about instability.
They would learn from the study, especially those who are of marriageable ages. This is because they would get to understand that there are some factors that can help marriages to grow and develop instead of dying down. They would also learn that spousal rape is one of the factors that can contribute to marital disunity among couples. The information adolescents would derive from this study will enable them to avoid rape either in marriage or out of it.
3. The Society:
The society will learn through this study, the role of spousal rape on marital stability among couples. Not only that, this study will help members of the larger society to understand that spousal rape is one of the contributing factors towards the broken homes in our society today. Marital conflict is rampant these days among couples. The society will be enlightened on how best to avoid rape, especially among couples.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The study covered the influence of spousal rape on marital stability among couples in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.
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