Norway Doesn’t Believe That A Husband Can Rape His Wife

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Norway, a country always revered for having a 13-month maternity leave, mandatory 12-week paternity leave, and ranking the number one country for mothers globally apparently isn’t that great for wives and mothers after all. The country does very little to protect women who are raped by their husbands, primarily because they happen to be married to their rapists.

Norway remains one of the 127 countries that do not recognize rape within a marriage to be a crime. Most western nations have managed to criminalize marital rape, but the notion that marrying a woman obliterates the need for consent remains intact in many parts of the world — even allegedly gender-egalitarian Norway.

Similar to rapes in the United States, Norwegian women are more likely to be raped by someone they know rather than a stranger. And the majority of the rapes happen in the home which for Norwegian women means that the safest place for them is actually outside on the street — not with their partners and families. One in 10 Norwegian women over the age of 15 has been raped in Norway and at least 80% of those cases are never brought to official attention. Only 10% of those even end in a conviction.

Liz Kelly, director of the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University, speculates that despite women’s renowned progress in Norway, their advancement has left many men feeling threatened:

“As women gain in status, earn more money and take their rightful place in society, some men may resort to their physical strength,” Ms. Kelly said, noting that most couple rape is ultimately based on a feeling of emasculation.

Laura Turquet, chief author of the U.N. 2011 Progress of the World’s Women report, also noted that rape is “rarely what our societies make it out to be: a random act by a stranger jumping out from hiding.” As many wives and mothers of Norway know, the most dangerous person in their lives is actually the person with whom they have established a family.

(photo: Shutterstock)