MARITAL RAPE – BREACH OF FREEDOM TO CONSENT

Anita was taking time today to finish her chores before going to bed. She was dead tired, body sored due to menses. But she was also petrified anticipating the horrific sexual intercourse she was forced to go through daily, even during her menstrual cycle. She had sought refuge in her mother few days back, but was shocked when her mother asked her to comply quietly. “It’s the duty of the wife to please her husband, it’s custom dear” – this statement itself defies the so called “sanctity” of marriage.

Marital rape befalls when a husband forces intercourse on wife either by threat or by taking advantage of her inability to consent. Then just like any other domestic violence why is marital rape not punishable by law in our country? Whether a stranger, a known person or a family member commits it, rape is RAPE!

Like Anita, many women go through marital rape naming the social and religious customs or so called obligation towards husband. Marriage has become a leeway to force sex in such cases. The role of wife in India is still perceived as a homemaker and having intercourse a “duty”. Apart from the fact that women in India still strive for self sufficiency that shoves many to live in physical and emotional distress.

Although rape has strict and specific laws enforced, the boundaries are blurred when it comes to marital sex. Despite many law commissions and new legislation such heinous act of coercion is not yet termed as criminal offence in India, the reason why it’s one of the most under reported crime.

Marital relationship’s so called “sacrosanct” status has become a taboo. Our society is unable to concede to grievous criminal offences occurring inside the boundaries of the institution of marriage. Marital rape is no less traumatic for the victim and to make matters worse, she has to cohabit with the abuser. It is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of a human being. However many women still accept and justify this assault as deference. This ignorance makes it even more imperative to provide legal protection to women against marital rape.

Apart from judicial awakening we primarily need to generate awareness to curtail ignorance regarding this domestic coercion. “Amends begins at home”, we need to change the patriarchal social norms and teach our children to discern and differentiate between adjustment to situations and complying to offences. No one should accede to any form of abuse from anyone.

Most countries like Canada, Australia and South Africa have amended and abolished marital rape exemptions from the legal texts. It’s not only our legal but also social responsibility to come out of embedded cultural and religious stereotypes and bring changes in our social values. The legal system needs to eradicate the myth of “conjugal rights” in its books. Every step we take today towards changing the mindset will definitely diminish nescience and pave the path towards appreciating the fundamental right to freedom.

15 thoughts on “MARITAL RAPE – BREACH OF FREEDOM TO CONSENT

  1. This is a great article in this little acknowledged problem. When I was in Law School a professor had openly told us students that she was a victim of this heinous crime along with domestic abuse and at her time, there wasn’t even acknowledgement of this kind of rape by members of the society. She fought a long drawn and heavy battle against her husband. She won in the end but her life was shattered and it’s effects were clearly visible on her in the form of her dementia. I hope we Indians realise that there is nothing sacred about marital rape. Rape is rape, period!

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    1. I am so sorry to hear what your professor had to go through in her life. Sadly people who decide to fight it out rarely make it through sanity because our judicial system is so slow and corrupted. I wish her peace.
      Thank you so much for connecting with the article.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The subject is deadly, a bomb. But you dealt very well, Smruti. Excellently written. “Marital rape is no less traumatic for the victim and to make matters worse, she has to cohabit with the abuser.” Absolutely agreed with this fact. A marriage is a bond where two agree with one thing and both of their consents become ONE. If it is divided or opposite to each other then there’s problem.

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    1. Thank you Bhai for appreciating the sensitivity of the subject. I sent this article to a group of female friend just to see the response and was not surprised to see that many of them didn’t even acknowledge going through it. It’s sad to see such oppression and deference.
      Thank you again for all ur guidance and support.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unless the barriers in the minds of people break they will be cold to these issues as before… And some still think these are all taboo subjects and should not be discussed openly.

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  3. Great! This is what we call harsh truth and the sad reality. And yeah, a massive change must take place….
    Very well penned and has been expressed wonderfully.

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  4. First I should thank you for writing on “Marital Rape”. It really needs courage to pen on such horrific issues.
    It’s almost happening in high percentage but alas…rarely people speak-out! There are so many broken marriages today…I think our Indian society have never been before like this.
    Being a MAN it’s hard to say but TRUTH should never be compromised “MEN needs to THINK TWICE and PARK them at Her place at first!”
    Hope it will influence every reader.

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    1. Really gratified by your response. I concur with your opinion that it needs courage to write about such heinous act which is still not defined under criminal offences. As I had mentioned to Chiradeep in my comment, women still comply and still are not able to accept marital rape as coercion.
      Of course societal norms are changing and it’s gonna take time for both men and women to understand and appreciate fundamental human rights.
      However I just hope that this article permeates into people, however few and changes their established attitude.
      Thanks again for appreciating the sensitivity of the subject.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My mind is blown away by your strong, very much required to be addressed issue. There’s a saying “A woman is enemy of a woman” and such issues prove it to be right beyond any doubt. “Pati Parmeshwar” ideology is killing many women literally and otherwise on a daily basis in our country.

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    1. Thank you so much for connecting with the sensitivity of the subject. And you are so right! Women especially in India accept abuse and display forbearance which is not only pathetic but also remorseful.
      I just hope some awareness is created throughout this week from our array of articles on “Raising Voice”.

      Liked by 1 person

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