Marital Rape: Can Marriage Be Taken As A License To Rape?

Marital Rape: Can Marriage Be Taken As A License To Rape?

Marital Rape: Can Marriage Be Taken As A License To Rape?_


There are 36 countries in the world that have not criminalised marital rape, and India is one of them, demonstrating how far the country's women are from being safe.


If we were to discuss rape and sexual harassment, under normal circumstances, any such violation would be referred to as heinous. However, there is one "kind" of rape that is not illegal in India, and the perpetrator is not even considered a criminal in the eyes of the law. And that is a form of marital rape.


"Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape," according to Section 375, Exception 2 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to a study conducted by the United Nations Population Fund, more than two-thirds of married women in India between the ages of 15 and 49 have been beaten, raped, or forced to provide sex. To translate, it is legal in India to rape a woman as long as you are married to her. This is the level of barbarism in our country in 2021.


India is a country that will either let perpetrators of such predatory behaviour go free or, if they are punished, it will only be after years have passed since the crime occurred. Isn't this exactly what happened in the Delhi gang rape and murder case in 2012? If this is the case with the most heinous rape cases in history, how can we believe that marital rape could ever be punishable? Aren't marriages in India a way to gain access to the concept of a woman's implied consent? Isn't she now a wife? Of course, her permission is valid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Without a doubt, not making marital rape a crime in India sends a message to the entire Indian women's community that their consent to any sexual activity is meaningless in the face of their husband's. It tells a woman that once she marries, her body becomes her husband's property, and her own right, agency, and autonomy over her body cease to exist. Rape laws in India are so patriarchal that they explicitly tell men in the country that if they want to rape a woman without being imprisoned, they should marry her. According to Indian law, a woman is expected to give her husband her perpetual consent. After all, what is marriage if not a free licence to engage in sexual behaviour at any time of day?


Men were seen talking about marital rape as if it didn't exist in a vox populi conducted by ScoopWhoop Unscripted a few years ago. "When you marry in a religious ceremony, you get a licence to have sex"; "How can it be referred to as rape? He is your husband, and he has complete authority over you"; "How is this rape? Where does he go if he can't have sex with his wife?"; "If she wants to have sex, she will lie down on the bed." She will not lie down if she does not wish to." When the anchor, Samdish Bhatia, asked the men in the video about their thoughts on the heinous practise, they made some of the following comments.


Section 375 is also extremely significant when it comes to rape laws in India (Exception). The provision states that if a man engages in sexual intercourse with a woman under the age of 15, it is considered rape regardless of "consent or no consent." However, if the woman is under the age of 18, but over the age of 15, and married, the incident cannot be considered a rape. This provision clearly discriminates not only between married and unmarried women, but also classifies the consent of a married woman under the age of 15 as far more valuable than the consent of a woman over the same age.


If a 14-year-old girl and a 20-year-old married woman are both sexually abused, won't they have similar traumas and fears to deal with for the rest of their lives? How can marriage negate the agency that a woman has over her own body? How is it that a woman's agency is not only denied to her, but also given to her husband for him to exercise as his own property? How can a societal institution be given so much more weight than a woman's right to make her own decisions? It is past time that we asked these tough questions of our country's legislators, and that they return the entitlement with which they choose to exercise women's lives to them.


"If a couple is living together as husband and wife, the husband may be a brutal man, but can you call the act of sexual intercourse between them rape?" asked a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde as it heard the case of a man accused of raping a woman under the false pretence of marriage. The accused was then granted eight weeks' protection from arrest by the court.


Rape is rape, and that is where the sentence ends. No condition, no matter how severe, can deny the perpetrator of its heinous behaviour. No, the victim's age, gender, sex, or marital status are irrelevant. The British Raj left us with some of the most absurd penal laws, and it is heartbreaking to know that they have remained in place ever since. Every day, society evolves, and we as a community progress, but our laws remain unchanged. Marital rape cannot be tolerated because it implies implied consent for the parties involved, and marriage does not imply perpetual consent for a woman.A "no" is a "no." It makes no difference whether your wife says it or someone else, and both men and India's legal system must stop there.


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