Husbands can be charged for rape for inappropriately touching their wives according to the new Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law, says a lawyer, Douglas Ogbankwa.
Mr Ogbankwa, a former spokesman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Benin Branch noted that prior to the domestication of the VAPP Law in some states of the federation, it was legally impossible for a husband to be accused of raping his wife.
He said this on Wednesday in an interview with NAN.
The legal practitioner added that this development has also led to a reduction in the standard of proof required to prove rape.
“Before the coming into fruition of VAPP Law in some states, a husband was (legally) incapable of raping his wife.
“This was due to the exceptions created by the Criminal Code Law in southern states and the Penal Code Law in northern states.
“The law stipulated that rape can only be done against persons other than ones’ wife.
“In the same law, a woman was incapable of raping a man, which was a lacuna that worked against men who in fact had become victims of rape.
“The VAPP law has now made provisions for what is considered spousal rape, which can either be a rape of either a husband or a wife by the other spouse.
“This has now been categorised as violence against persons,” he said
The former NBA publicist noted that there was also an expansion of the law, which had also expanded the meaning of rape to now include any kind of touch on any part of the body considered inappropriate.
“You find that what was ordinarily referred to as sexual harassment or assault in the criminal and penal code, has now assumed the appellation of rape.
“This has thus reduced the standard of proof of rape, from producing a cogent medical report from a medical professional with proof of penetration, to now a voice evidence depicting inappropriate touch of a man by a woman and vice versa,” Mr Ogbankwa said.