Indian perspective on Marital Rape

“Namaskar Nari! Shadishuda zindagi me aapka swagat h. Niyam anusar aapko har uss chiz ki han me han milani hogi jo aapke Pati aapse krne ko kahenge, chahe aap wo na bhi krna chahte ho. Ab aap iss zindagi me kadam rakh chuke hain aur yahi bhugatne wale hain. Dhanyavad!”

In our country, Marriage is considered as a legal agreement between two parties to spend their entire life together, willingly or unwillingly. Indian marriage system, usually a family drama, is highly influenced by our orthodox society. Even in modern era, wherein everyone considers it cool to be open minded, love marriages are still not accepted. A woman and a man who love each other can’t get married but two unknown personalities who have never seen or known each other are allowed to marry and moreover compelled to fall in love with each other. A girl who loses her virginity before marriage is considered as promiscuous woman, but if loses virginity after marriage with her husband whom she doesn’t even know, is accepted by our society. What kind of hypocritical world we live in???

In section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a girl getting raped by an unknown man without her consent is considered as a criminal offense and the criminal gets a severe punishment. But what about a girl getting raped by her husband? Why it isn’t considered as a criminal offense? Why isn’t there is any law for Marital Rape? Well, I presume that either our society doesn’t consider it as an offense or they are just ignorant about the very existence of the term, ‘Marital Rape’.

Before I talk about all this further, to clarify any doubts regarding this, Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. If any person indulges in sexual intercourse with you without your consent, it is considered to be rape. I find absolutely no reason for this to become inapplicable when it comes to marital rape. Any time a husband forces himself on his partner to engage in a sexual intercourse without her consent, the act should be considered as marital rape. Everyone has the right to say NO. They don’t give up their sexual rights as soon as they are married. I am obviously not tying my consent with my mate’s consent when I tie myself in the so-called ‘marital bond’. Sometimes a girl can’t even file a complaint against her husband because of lack of support from her family as they think their reputation will go down or because ’arre… Log kya sochenge’. You know this ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ concept is extremely famous in India. Forget ‘Tum kya sochte ho’, and accept something which is wrong because of the perception of these people who don’t even matter to you. You still won’t give a damn about your own daughter or sister and won’t stand up against the society for them. Why are women always told to adjust and suffer to save a relationship? Why can’t someone just hold her hand and be a support, stand beside her and tell her to do what is actually right????

During the amendment in criminal law, the official reason for not making any changes in law regarding marital rape was that it would “weaken the institution of marriage”. The only sense I can make from this is that a woman has to continue to try and make her marriage work even when her husband is a rapist and a willful brute. Bluntly, it is the woman who has to leave her own home, a woman who has to serve the husband’s home, a woman who has to raise the child, a woman who has to earn and handle the house and at the end of the day still consent to the sexual urge of her husband even when she doesn’t want to. Or I should simply say if you are a woman, you ought to suffer. Rape is Rape, adding the word ‘Marital’ before it doesn’t reduce the gravity of the crime. The misconception that sexual violations can’t take place in a marriage is extremely misconstrued, and must be revised. How about you begin by not treating women as objects? How about each and every woman adopts this ‘I will decide for myself attitude’ and become absolutely fearless about what ‘people will say’? Think. Rethink. Act!

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