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President ratifies amendment to Sexual Offences Act, criminalises marital rape

Lamya Abdulla
07 December 2021, MVT 12:34
(FILE) The 'JaagaEhNeh' protest held against rape and all forms of sexual violence, on July 12, 2020: As per the amendments ratified by the President on Monday to the Sexual Offences Act, no exemptions are now provided to married couples when it comes to non-consensual sexual acts or acts of sexual violence -- Photo: Ahmed Awshan Ilyas / Mihaaru
Lamya Abdulla
07 December 2021, MVT 12:34

President Ibrahim Mohamed ratified the first amendment to the Sexual Offences Act, defining and then criminalising non-consensual sexual intercourse as marital rape on Monday.

The amendment additionally re-defines sexual injury, and sexual assault to extend to married couples as well, criminalising these acts as well.

The amendment was passed by the parliament in on November 29, 2021.

The amended act also mandates all government hospitals and healthcentres to provide and use rape kits and to ensure their staff are trained to provide "vitim-centred and trauma-informed" approach.

It has also removed the exemption provided for married couples for cases regarding sexual injury and sexual assaults previously stated in the Act.

Prior to the amendment, rape was defined as "penetration of one's sexual organ into another sexual organ or another organ without consent, even for a short period of time, between two people who are not married."

With this change, non-consensual sexual intercourse between married couples are now considered as rape according to the law. This is applicable to sexual assault and sexual injury as well, which previously did not apply to married couples.

Furthermore, attempted rape has also been criminalised now. Married couples are not exempted from this addition to the Sexual Offences Act as well.

If a person is found guilty of rape they may receive a jail sentence of 7-15 years.