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Marital rape is still legal in India – here’s the story of one such woman I know. 71 years since independence, 69 years of being a Republic, and we still live in the last century!
According to section 375 Indian penal code, a man is said to commit ‘rape’ who, except in the case of certain exceptions (given later), has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the 6 following descriptions:-
The exception: Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, if the wife is not under fifteen years of age, is not rape.
She is a 23 year old young woman, married when she was 19.
She was the best student in her class. After marriage, he didn’t allow her to study. Each and every day, he sexually assaulted her. He forced her to watch violent porn videos and also forced her to act like the woman in the video. He used her all day without her consent. The nights with him was the worst of nightmares for her. He considered her as a toy. And her NO was just two letters to him.
Her biggest torture was that after all these cruel things happened to her in their bedroom every night, he forced her to smile and act like his ‘better half’ in front of others.
For society, for the family, and even for her own parents, the terrible things she faced were just “a matter between husband and wife”. Every time she spoke to them, her parents spoke to her about the importance of adjustment in her marital life. When she talked about the pain she faced in the room, her family talked to her about being well mannered and calm, and advised her to live up to the image of a good wife.
This is not just her story, it’s the story of millions and millions of women all over the world. According to UN 75% of married women in India face marital rape.
52 countries in the world have criminalised marital rape, but not yet in India – India is one of 36 countries where marital rape is still legal – among which are countries like China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia – even 69 years after we have become a Republic. The sad part is that society, the country’s laws, and even the family is justifying marital rape. In the Indian context marriage is considered ‘sacred’ so that marital rape is in out of question. It’s not a criminal activity in India. Because man has a marriage certificate for raping his wife.
Yes! And India is the largest democratic country in the world. What irony!
When will all this change?
Image source: a still from the movie Provoked
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A staggering 83% of married women within the 15-49 years age-group, claimed to have experienced sexual assault in the hands of their present husband; not surprisingly, the most common form of violence reported turned out to be forced sexual intercourse involving physical coercion, perpetrated by the husband against the wife’s will. What other reason is needed to criminalize marital rape?
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