Under customary law in certain parts of Africa, forced sex in marriage was not prohibited, although some specific circumstances, such as during advanced pregnancy, immediately after childbirth, during menstruation, or during mourning for a deceased close relative, were recognized as giving the wife the right to refuse sex.
Rape has been, until recent decades, understood as a crime against honor and reputation - not only in domestic legislation, but also in international law; for example according to the Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, "Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault". This can be seen in English common law, in force in North America and the British Commonwealth, where the very concept of marital rape was treated as an impossibility.
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).
In some cultures, marriage is arranged for the purpose of creating access to procreation (Yllö, 2016).