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Marital rape and intimate partner sexual violence constitute acts of gender-based violence prohibited under international human rights law. Sisters For Change is calling on governments across the world to criminalise marital rape as a crime of sexual violence. Almost half of all Commonwealth countries require legislative reform to remove the marital rape exemption – a colonial era law which makes it lawful for husbands to rape their wives.

Sisters For Change, a member of the Equality & Justice Alliance, calls on all Commonwealth governments – specifically those in South and South East Asia – who still have not criminalised marital rape to reform their laws to remove the marital rape exemption. 

The map below illustrates the chronology of countries which have repealed the marital rape exception and adopted laws that criminalise marital rape as a crime of sexual violence.  Click on the timeline from left to right to see when countries reformed their laws. All dates given are when legislation was passed which fully criminalised marital rape.

To find out more, download our comprehensive legal review of the criminalisation of marital rape and intimate partner sexual violence across the Commonwealth here

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not those of the Equality & Justice Alliance Consortium or its partners.