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Though our law still doesn’t criminalise marital rape, it is a crime against women. It is high time men learn that marriage does not give you that license!
Marriage is a pure bond shared between two human beings based on their mutual love and respect for each other. As for my opinion on marriage, I completely agree with a dialogue from ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.’
“Kehte hain shaadi ki buniyaad sirf aur sirf beimteha mohhabat honi chaahiye kyunki agar buniyaad galat ho to rishte toot jaate hain” (A marriage should always be based on immense love for each other ’cause a relationship based on anything else can’t survive long)
In our society, marriages are often ‘arranged’ by the parents of a girl and a boy. The girl’s family generally considers a boy who earns well and has some family property a good match for their girl. And the boy’s family often looks for a good looking girl who can cook and do other household chores efficiently as being a perfect match for their boy. So, you can understand very well, love is, quite often, ignored when we talk about marriage in India.
In such a scenario, often couples find it difficult to adjust with each other after marriage. The situation becomes terrible especially for women when they get trapped in a bad or abusive marriage. One such rarely talked about issue is that of marital rapes.
Yes, you read it right, everyday, a number of husbands rape their wives inside their homes! This feels so scary, doesn’t it? Just imagine the helplessness of a woman unable to raise a voice against the cruelty because her perpetrator is none other than her own spouse!
In case a woman is living with her in-laws, they often support their son and his acts. Even her own parents might tell the woman, to ‘learn to ‘adjust.’ Surprisingly rape or forced sex in a marriage is considered ‘normal and natural.’
A woman’s consent is taken for granted. If the husband is in the mood to do it, he does it without considering the mood or his wife’s feelings. Marital rapes are often accompanied by physical violence against the woman. It is the pathetic and heart-breaking reality of many Indian households.
Like most of the other crimes against women in India, marital rapes may be solved if the men are raised a certain way and educated too. The patriarchal thoughts and beliefs stem when parents tell their boys, “You are a boy, you can do anything. As a boy, you are strong, you can not cry like girls. You should never do any household chores as they are to be done only by women. Your wife should always respect and obey you” among others.
All this builds up to toxic masculinity in boys from a young age. This must be stopped. If parents start say things like, “Both the genders are equal. You must respect all girls. Stand up for them if you see them being mistreated. Help your mom and later your wife in doing household chores. There’s nothing wrong with crying when you are hurt.” Please train your boys to be good human beings and respecting hubbies.
We can only expect to see some improvement in the condition of women, if we start trying to bridge the huge age-old gender gap in our society. Our daughters need to be encouraged to be financially independent before they are married. We must also be always there to support them in case they face any problem in their lives.
Marrying them should never mean getting rid of them. Whether in cities or villages, parents need to stop thinking of their daughters are burdens. Similarly, boys must be trained to be self-dependent by learning basic life skills like cooking, cleaning, and raising kids. They must also be trained to be sensitive and caring instead of being strong and abusive.
I don’t see the logic behind Indian law not considering marital rape a crime. Marriage is in no way a license for a man to have forced sex with a woman against her wishes.
Men need to understand this and our law needs to criminalise this. Women must empathise and acknowledge the need to help other women trapped in an abusive marriage.
May women find the strength to walk out of an abusive relationship. As women, we and the society must give all possible support to these survivors. Let’s fight together and criminalise this crime called marital rape.
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Saat Khoon Maaf
I'm Deeksha- mommy of a little girl, a school teacher by profession and a
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