Rape

Need for Criminalising Marital Rape

While we applaud Supreme court’s landmark judgement in case of Triple Talaq, it is disheartening to know that, in our country, something as heinous as Marital rape is brushed under the carpet. It isn’t even considered an offence. A rape is a rape irrespective of age, gender or marital status. Intercourse with consent is sex and without consent is Rape.

Last month, a 25 year old school teacher tried killing herself after she was brutally raped by her husband. In 2015, a woman was hospitalized due to severe injuries but her husband was not prosecuted because unfortunately the law does not consider Marital Rape an offence. These are just a few cases which hit the newspapers. Most of them do not even get reported. Does Marraige give a man permanent license to have sex with his wife, without her CONSENT? Should the wife always be willing to establish physical relationship on any day or time, just because he wants to? Among 106 countries, 32 consider Marital Rape as a Special Criminal Offence while the remaining include it in general Rape provision. There are only 36 countries where it is not even considered a crime and sadly, India is one among them .The mental agony and trauma that a woman faces after being Raped is Unbearable. Just imagine, she has to live with the rapist forever with NO Laws to protect her. Marital Rape is monstrous, humiliating and leaves an everlasting scar.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code states an exception to the definition of Rape,”Intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife (the wife not being under 15) is not rape”. This was recently modified as according to POSCO (Protection of children from sexual offences), the age of consent is 18. That means if a married woman is above 18 years of age and is raped by her husband, it won’t be considered a Rape. Does that mean laws are only meant to protect minors ? What if a woman above 18 is raped? The male is liable to be prosecuted for Rape even if two individuals below 18 have consensual sex, but if the wife is above 18 and the man forces himself on her without her consent, it’s NOT a crime according to the Law !

The Justice Verma Committee in 2013, suggested the removal of the exception under Section 375 and to make Marital Rape an offence regardless of wife’s age but the committee’s recommendation was not accepted. Though the law was modified and the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 raised the age to 18 but Marital rape is still not considered a crime. According to National Family Health survey, 31% of women are subjected to emotional or sexual abuse by their spouse . Whenever we raise this issue, it is brushed aside by the government, as they feel criminalising marital rape will destabilise the institution of marriage. Why are we not ready to accept Marital Rape as a crime? Is it because we believe that it will destroy the sanctity of arranged marriages? Well, the so called sanctity is destroyed the moment the man forces himself on his wife. Marraige is based on trust and mutual respect. Neither the wife “belongs” to her husband, nor is she a “commodity” .

If you are wondering, when we have laws for domestic violence, then why is another needed for Marital Rape? Well, the Domestic Violence Act 2005 is inadequate for a crime as monstrous as Marital Rape. If someone rapes you, don’t you want him to be punished?Dont you want him to be held responsible for the trauma that you have undergone? Whether the abuser is one’s husband or a stranger makes no difference because the only thing that differentiates Sex from Rape is CONSENT.

I remember a few years back, one of my friend confided in me regarding feeling violated. Her husband used to violate her when she was asleep and she used to wake up feeling abused. Despite her refusal, he continued. Here the man is not a stranger. He is not thrashing her or holding a knife. Is this marital rape?Unfortunately, YES, it is, though it’s not what we think of normally as rape. Being married doesn’t change the fact that consent is crucial. If a woman is asleep or intoxicated, obviously she can’t give consent. Despite telling him innumerable times that she felt violated, he still continued because according to him, he wasn’t doing anything wrong as her body belonged to him. Well, a wife isn’t a commodity purchased by her husband, Her decision needs to be respected. There is a need to create awareness and educate men that CONSENT is CRUCIAL for sex.

Marital rape should be recognized as an offence and the punishment should be similar to that of rape. If you are wondering how can it be proved, Timely medical examination, forensic evidence and sexual abuse history can help. Just because a crime is difficult to prove, it cannot be brushed off. Moreover, the argument that law can be misused is absurd. We cannot NOT implement a law just because we are scared that some vengeful woman in future may falsely accuse her innocent husband someday. Laws do get misused but that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize a crime as a crime. Let’s have some checks and measures in place.

It’s high time we come forward and fight for our rights. Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Drop in your comments.

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66 thoughts on “Need for Criminalising Marital Rape

  1. Deep post focusing on naked truth of the society… by the way Marital rape possessiveness of man on his wife… mostly in these kind of marriages there is no love no understanding, man only knows he possess wife as a commodity, he never consider her as a person… the whole society is responsible for this kind of happenings… Rape is not a way of making love- the woman is screaming, she is shouting and trying to escape…it cannot be love…
    You know what, very big mistake done by so well educated societies is, somewhere in the minds of the youth, the male youth, society have inserted the idea that the female is an object, a thing that one can possess… In the deep psychological structure of human mind there is an idea that a woman is a commodity, it is deeply implanted in people’s mind.
    We don’t want to destroy the root, we just want to prune the surface because right now it hurts us. That is not a solution.. the fundamental thing is that one wants to possess, humiliate, and subjugate another human being… This is happening because of a certain level of inadequacy, a certain level of incompleteness from within…One thinks by possessing something or someone he will be complete or feel better… Solution is not the revenge, the right solution is to transform man… the male youth.. Human have to come go beyond the physicality of the life and to experience the beautiful connection with other beings so as to love them, understand them and respect them…
    Keep writing… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Domestic violence is a civil law. Hence it is inadequate for a crime as evil as Marital Rape. Even if a women files a case on her husband for Marital Rape, the court doesn’t punish him. Atleast till now the marital rapists hv always gone Scot free. That’s why need to create Awareness among women that Don’t suffer silently. Fight for your rights and pressurize the govt to make Marital Rape a crime

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh Will you? Wow! Thank you so much. This means a lot ! Do Reblog and try to share it through Facebook etc bcz I want it to reach as widely as possible #Grateful

        Liked by 2 people

  2. โ€œWhether the abuser is oneโ€™s husband or a stranger makes no difference because the only thing that differentiates Sex from Rape is CONSENT.โ€ – exactly. ๐Ÿ‘ Amazing article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank u ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s important for us, especially women to come out and speak for our rights. Just because we are born with a vagina, doesn’t make us any less than those born with a penis . Yes,I will definitely read it now ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for writing this article and stoppiny by blog Ms. Feminist ๐Ÿ™‚

    Firs of all many women dont even know about this law and not only woman even men dont even know about this..we need to teach them what there is in sex!!…yes sex is involved with law..we at least must let them know, these days most of them meet before marriage and get know each other..so they must share it..
    second thing at least she shuld reach a lawyer and open up her mouth with her mum at least she has a tough time with that guy over night… and that way a lady lawyer would be the right person to let her know there is a law for this…
    third the humanity in men to understand his wife.. I don’t knw.. many of indian men think that sex is nothing but inserting his dick in anything that fits into n feel relaxed himself..really feeling sad for them..
    sex is nothing but a joy and pleasure within two bodies , two hearts and two souls..without this and torturing a woman will never make them a man, rather a beast!! not only woman need to be taught on laws..but men has to be taught on both law and what’s sex!!!.. (any men who read it..if you feel am right,, spread the word around)..Imao India is not developed not even basic things..ufff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, but Unfortunately in our country men think they have complete right over their wife physically. Awareness needs to be created that consent is crucial. Thanks for Reading and appreciating . If u liked it, Do share this article thru FB and other social media

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, most of educated men does know bout it and they repeat to offend often..at least i have seen illiterate people are far better.without knowing what is wrong they mistake it..and educated repeat it… sure my friend..will share across…. give a visit to my community blog too !! we are 23 people writing together!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Marital rape should be criminalized. I donโ€™t understand how is it still have not been criminalized. By the way, how do I sign the petition?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because in India people feel sex is a part n parcel of marraige and if husband forces his wife, there is nothing wrong. People fail to understand sex can be had with or without marraige. It’s Consent which is important. ( Sign by entering email)

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  5. This is such a nice post . Nice one Sneha .

    Of course woman’s body is not the property of husband. Is she says NO then it’s a Big NO . So even if the hubby try to touch her without her consent than it’s a RApe. But sadly in our society this would not make sense in people’s mind because it’s their I’ll mentality which is hurting people .

    I appreciate that you are trying your best to support the woman . A job very well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awareness needs to be created that No means No. Married or Not makes no difference. And if u are not happy with your spouse and you feel they are intentionally withholding sex , Divorcing is always a option. Murders and Rapes are inhuman.

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  6. I feel marital rape is even more damaging than rape, as the victim has trusted the accused with her life..
    Long story short, they do it bcoz they’re confident of being able to get away with it..
    The consequences of these crimes need to be scary enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Educating women about this is a very important requirement.
    There are many women who don’t even know or realise what they are going through.
    Very well written Sneha. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes educating women is crucial as many women are not even aware that they have a right to say No . Creating awareness among men is also important as they need to know Consent is Necessary .Thank u so much for reading and Appreciating ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. Sneha, I must add one more comment regarding how husbands also put a pressure on their wives in order to force them to sex. In families where only the husband earns a living and his wife and children are financially dependent on him for support, in such families happens that the husband sometimes blackmails his wife in a way that if she doesn’t have sex with him whenever he wants it, he will stop supporting her and their children financially. This is such a humiliating and degrading thing for the wife. I think that those who make the law regulations should also take this into consideration, since women are a pillar of the society and should not by any means be treated like second or lower-rate citizens. After all, even non-working women have a lot of duties, responsibilities and jobs at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! People normally think of Rape as something violent and think if the abuser is holding a knife or gun and threatening the victim , only then it’s a rape. Instances like withholding money, love , child support etc in lieu of sex, also is a form of Marital Rape as the wife is being emotionally blackmailed. It’s sad that Women are still treated as second class citizens. Regarding the people who make law, most of them are men and they prefer the patriachal system

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  9. I fully support you, Sneha, and I think that even in countries like mine, where there is a punishment for those who commit rape under their own wives, the law is so lenient toward these rapists since the average time they spend behind bars for this is only 2 years and very frequently only 6 months due to certain mitigating circumstances. If the primary role of the punishment for such deed is, by its definition, to deter a husband-rapist from any such crime in the future and protect his wife from him, then, I must say, that this is not the case with the existing law regulations, since after the expiry of their sentence, such criminals, by the rule, continue with this crime. There is no doubt that rape leaves lifelong trauma in the mind of the victims no matter whether it is done by a husband or someone else, since rape is rape, and only if the stricter punishment for rapists is introduced can the letter of law act as a preventative measure against rape.
    So, I think that the punishment of 10-15 years and lifelong restrain order from the victim would be justified from the point of law, but from the point of the victim of rape, I think that not any sentence is strict enough for her husband, boyfriend or some passer-by who has raped her, since the mental picture of this deed done to her is something she will have to live with forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I agree. Stricter law is needed even in countries where marital rape is criminalised. Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  10. I didn’t know about this topic properly. It’s really sad. I read somewhere that marriage is considered so pure here that women in rural areas think its okay for the men to exploit them and that they have no right to say no to them. I hope some law is made against this soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank u Nandini. Yes, it’s really sad that women think its their duty and stay quiet when their husbands exploit them. Not only in rural areas, even educated wives are not aware that without consent if their husband forces on them, it’s Rape.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Loved this cause dear Sneha and am happy u raised a voice against this bad norm of society. In my own country, Marital Rape was declared a crime under Penal Court Laws. Its just we need to make our women aware of this and have to ask them to not have fear of coming out for themselves and also have to educate Society on this matter. One biggest hurdle is the weak interpretation of laws by both police officers and the judiciary at large, and cases not being reported, this matter is just getting worse and worse. I hope women becoming victim to this gets her Justice in this life.

    Liked by 1 person

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