The Silent Epidemic: Marital Rape in India


Marital Rape in India: A Societal Disease

Have you ever heard of marital rape? Perhaps, you have, but you might be unaware of its prevalence in India.

In our society, most people deny its existence, calling it a “private affair”. But like any other form of violence, it must not be kept hidden.

It is a social disease that has been plaguing our country for years and continues to do so.

Lack of Legal Protection

Marital rape is a crime and an offense against women. It is a violation of their right to consent.

Despite this, there is no law criminalizing marital rape in India. Yes, you heard that right! It’s not considered a crime in our country, and that’s alarming.

The Domestic Violence Act of 2005, which seeks to provide protection against domestic violence, does not recognize marital rape as an offense. This means that victims of such violence cannot file a complaint against their partner.

It is a denial of justice to the victims and sends a message that marital rape is acceptable.

Personal Accounts

What happens when a woman brings up the topic of marital rape? The response is often met with disbelief, and she might be accused of overreacting.

Women who have experienced marital rape are told to accept it as their fate. They are neither believed nor given support.

Victims of marital rape are left with physical and emotional bruises. They suffer in silence without any aid or intervention from anyone.

When domestic violence persists, and the victim finally decides to seek help, the police may also turn a deaf ear. This leads to several divorces, alimony, and child custody battles.

Advocacy and Opposition

Organizations such as Red Elephant Foundation, Saahas, and One Future Collective are working tirelessly to end violence against women, including marital rape.

  • The Red Elephant Foundation is dedicated to exploring the contemporary discourse on gender, violence, and peace-building. Through legal research, they campaign for criminalizing marital rape, and they promote consent in marriage.
  • Saahas strives to eliminate gender-based violence. They provide education, advocacy, and support services, thus empowering women to rise above violence.

Opponents of criminalizing marital rape claim that it may lead to false allegations and be a danger to marriage. However, the importance of justice for the victim must be considered before any such claims are made. It is crucial to understand the gravity of the situation to curb the increasing cases of domestic violence.

Forces for Good

There have been some recent developments that give us hope.

  • The Kerala High Court’s verdict in 2019 stated that forced sexual intercourse is a violation even within the bonds of marriage and is a punishable offense.
  • Similarly, in a recent judgment in March 2021, the Madhya Pradesh High Court held that there is no immunity for marital rape.

These judgments serve as a stepping stone in the pursuit of justice. But we need to keep speaking up, and advocacy is one way of achieving our common goal. We need to acknowledge that marital rape exists and work towards criminalizing it. This will help us move towards a more equitable future for everyone. In conclusion, marital rape in India is a societal disease that requires urgent attention.

It is a violation of a person’s rights and must be recognized as a crime. It is essential to raise awareness about the severity of the matter and advocate for laws that will protect victims.

With organizations such as Red Elephant Foundation, Saahas, and One Future Collective working towards a common goal, we can hope towards a better future. Remember that speaking up and advocating for change together is the first step towards building a more equitable society!

Threat to Society?

Arguments Against Marital Rape Legislation

While it is crucial to advocate for the criminalization of marital rape, some individuals argue against it.

  • The primary argument against criminalizing marital rape is that it would endanger the institution of marriage. They point out that a criminal prosecution of marital rape could lead to increased tension between partners, and the threat of a criminal charge could cause a breakdown in a healthy relationship. According to them, rape is not a component of marriage, but a violation of a partner’s dignity.
  • However, the law on marital rape must clarify that any non-consensual sexual act by one partner against the other is rape, regardless of their marital status. Other opponents claim that the misapplication of the law might result from the criminalization of marital rape. They allege that women may falsely accuse their husbands of rape out of spite, vengeance, or desires for financial gain, leading to dire consequences for the accused husband.

Voices of Reason

Proponents of criminalizing marital rape assert that the argument about endangering marriages is unfounded. Procedural safeguards must be in place whenever a rape complaint is made to ensure that false accusations do not occur.

Furthermore, appropriate legislation can strike a balance between protecting the accused while ensuring justice is done to the victim. Moreover, advocates of the legislation assert that marriage is not a license for forced sex. According to them, true partnerships must entail equal rights and respect, including where sex is involved. Furthermore, they argue that rape investigations and processes should be procedural, ensuring fair and due process to both the alleged victim and the accused party. Affording equal protection of the law to the victim and the accused in such cases is the key to fair and just treatment of both parties.

The Freedom to Choose

One of the reasons that marital rape continues to be a prevalent issue is that it remains a taboo subject, and women have limited choices. It is heartening to know that more and more women are pushing for change and freedom of choice.

By women, we mean women of different ages, races, social backgrounds, and educational levels. Feminism has played a significant role in women attaining greater awareness of their choices. It has empowered women to make informed decisions on marriage, children, sex, and the balance of power in their relationships. Studies show that educated women are more likely to speak up against marital rape and make informed decisions about their lives.

When women are provided with appropriate education, they are better prepared to advocate for their rights and stand up against abuse. Education empowers women and men to recognize and challenge power relations that discriminate against women.

Personal Change and Hope

As society changes, conversations around marital rape become more open. This allows victims to tell their stories and find the support they require to move forward. However, we still have a lot of work to do. Marriage is no justification for sexual violence.

No one deserves to endure sexual abuse at the hands of their partner, and it does not matter whether they’re married or not. The hope is that more changes will be made in society, increasing the importance of consent and individual’s right to choose.

The move towards tougher laws on marital rape, better education, and support systems will reduce the number of marital rape cases. In conclusion, while opponents of criminalizing marital rape allege that legislation will endanger marriages or lead to misapplication of laws, advocates insist that due process and appropriate legislation can strike the needed balance.

The trend toward empowerment, freedom, and education also presents a good picture for envisaged change. The evolution of society and the international community’s call to ending violence against women present a gleam of hope for change in attitudes and legislation.

In conclusion, this article has discussed the prevalence of marital rape and the importance of criminalizing it, as it is an offense against basic rights. The lack of legal protection against marital rape reiterates that it is a social disease that must be dealt with urgently.

While some people argue against criminalizing marital rape, those who support it emphasize the importance of procedural safeguards and appropriate legislation as we seek to promote a partnership of equals in our relationships. The call for the freedom to choose, better education, and support systems offers hope for change in society.

This article highlights the need for a change in attitudes and legislation and significant positive change towards ending violence against women.

Popular Posts

Sign up for free email updates: