This concept of women as property permeates current marital rape ideology and laws throughout the globe.
In some cultures, marriage is arranged for the purpose of creating access to procreation (Yllö, 2016).
Still, in many countries, marital rape either remains outside the criminal law, or is illegal but widely tolerated.
Laws are rarely being enforced, due to factors ranging from reluctance of authorities to pursue the crime, to lack of public knowledge that sexual intercourse in marriage without consent is illegal.
One of the origins of the concept of a marital exemption from rape laws (a rule that a husband cannot be charged with the rape of his wife) is the idea that by marriage a woman gives irrevocable consent for her husband to have sex with her any time he demands it.
The reluctance to criminalize and prosecute marital rape has been attributed to traditional views of marriage, interpretations of religious doctrines, ideas about male and female sexuality, and to cultural expectations of subordination of a wife to her husband—views which continue to be common in many parts of the world.
These views of marriage and sexuality started to be challenged in most Western countries from the 1960s and 70s especially by second-wave feminism, leading to an acknowledgment of the woman's right to self-determination (i.e., control) of all matters relating to her body, and the withdrawal of the exemption or defense of marital rape.
Most countries criminalized marital rape from the late 20th century onward—very few legal systems allowed for the prosecution of rape within marriage before the 1970s.
Marital rape is more widely experienced by women, though not exclusively.
Marital rape is often a chronic form of violence for the victim which takes place within abusive relations.