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927-939) where upon the law holds that even "were the party of no chaste life, but a whore, yet there may be ravishment: but it is a good plea to say she was his concubine".The lawfulness of the conjugal act itself was understood as a logical consequence of a lawful marriage.
In the US, the wife's legal subordination to her husband was fully ended by the case of Kirchberg v. English common law also had a great impact on many legal systems of the world through colonialism. Marriage was traditionally understood as an institution where a husband had control over his wife's life; control over her sexuality was only a part of the greater control that he had in all other areas concerning her.
Marriage created conjugal rights between spouses, and marriage could not be annulled except by a private Act of Parliament—it therefore follows that a spouse could not revoke conjugal rights from the marriage, and therefore there could be no rape between spouses.
The principle was repeated in East's Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown in 1803 and in Archbold's Pleading and Evidence in Criminal Cases in 1822.
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.
Criminalization has occurred through various ways, including removal of statutory exemptions from the definitions of rape, judicial decisions, explicit legislative reference in statutory law preventing the use of marriage as a defense, or creating of a specific offense of marital rape.
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.In many countries, it is still unclear whether marital rape is covered by the ordinary rape laws, but in some it may be covered by general statutes prohibiting violence, such as assault and battery laws.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.However, if another man raped someone's wife, this was essentially stealing property (a women's sexuality) (Bergen, 2016).In English customs, "bride capture" (a man claiming a woman through rape) was thought to be stealing a father's property by raping his daughter.Following this logic, if consent is not part of marriage, then it is not necessary for intercourse.