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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.

Following this logic, if consent is not part of marriage, then it is not necessary for intercourse.

The autonomy of the wife is also often compromised in cultures where bride price is paid.

A husband's control over his wife's body could also be seen in the way adultery between a wife and another man was constructed; for example in 1707, English Lord Chief Justice John Holt described the act of a man having sexual relations with another man's wife as "the highest invasion of property".

For this reason, in many cultures there was a conflation between the crimes of rape and adultery, since both were seen and understood as a violation of the rights of the husband.

In some cultures, marriage is arranged for the purpose of creating access to procreation (Yllö, 2016).

In these situations, the parties do not necessarily consent to marriage (in the case of forced marriage) (Yllö, 2016).

Following this line of logic, a woman was (and still is in many cultures across the globe) first the property of her father, then, upon marriage, the property of her husband (Bergen, 2016).

Therefore, a man could not be prosecuted for raping his own wife because she was his possession (Schelong, 1994).

Rape as a crime was constructed as a property crime against a father or husband not as a crime against the woman's right to self-determination.

The property to be withheld in a female was her virginity; this was the commodity (Bergen, 2016).

This view was described by Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) in History of the Pleas of the Crown, published posthumously in 1736, where he wrote that "The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract"." Also, American and English law subscribed until the 20th century to the system of coverture, that is, a legal doctrine under which, upon marriage, a woman's legal rights were subsumed by those of her husband. 455 (1981), a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held a Louisiana Head and Master law, which gave sole control of marital property to the husband, unconstitutional.