Rapes are perhaps one of the most heinous crimes that exist around the world. While the punishment for rape ranges from death penalties to lifelong imprisonment around the world, it is marital rape that still requires recognition as a criminal offense. Half of the population is still unaware of what the term tries to describe. They consider it to be a derogatory term that acts as a synonym for sex after marriage.
Marriage nowadays has merely become a license to have sex, as most societies condemn physical intimacy before marriage. Perhaps this is the reason why many men become violent as if sex is the only thing they married for, and go on to treat women like mere objects. Not recognizing marital rape is purely misogynistic and celebrates the patriarchal society that most people believe is ideal for our peaceful existence.
The Indian Context
More than 150 countries around the world are yet to recognize it by law and India stands among them. While significant changes have been made to rape laws in India, marital rape issues are either avoided or continue to be discussed in court hearings over the years. Many may argue about the cases being represented in the nation’s courts since 2015. However, we forget to take a look at the actual progress that has been made so far; we are still on ground zero.
While the term rape refers to unlawful sex without the consent of the woman involved, it seems that the Indian context of the term is quite different. Sections 375 and 376 of the IPC avoid marital rape from any sort of conviction. It is as if the act is justifiable from the perspective of the Indian judicial system. The persistent question is not whether or when the issue should be recognized by law. Rather, it is Section 375 of the IPC that needs to be addressed prior to efforts.
The section clearly states how sex between a husband and a wife is not rape, even when it involves physical abuse, threat, or the use of any kind of violence.
One cannot essentially define rape on the base of the connection that exists between the culprit and the victim. It is no husband’s privilege to have sex with their spouse without their consent. It is not a gift that they get in marriage in exchange for walking around the fire seven times with vows. Women still continue to take knives to their faces, getting told that if the man is their husband, it is not wrong.
Marital rape is only recognized if the spouse is under 15 years. As if the moment they turn 16, the whole process gets justified in the eyes of the patriarchal society we live in. Indian women who are sexually abused by their husbands in the name of marital rights hide horrendous truths.
Delhi High Court's take on the issue
The Delhi High Court recently delivered a split verdict on decriminalizing marital rape in the nation. This verdict was announced after seven years of continuous debate at the national level, with the issue getting recognized at the global level. Even after so many efforts, the split verdict is a clear indication of how human rights are often neglected by the Indian judicial system due to flaws that exist in current laws.
It is high time that the government considers marital rape as a serious issue and announces a clear verdict. It is without any doubt, the need of the hour, not only for women but for men as well. They need to open their eyes and understand the social and economical aspects of marriage, which are often overlooked due to biological needs.
There is no comments.