Invariably 'Rape' is Rape
Forced sexual intercourse against the will of a person or under any threat of injury or intercourse with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent is called rape. But when it comes to marital rape, our country has a completely different approach to the issue, as we as an Indian society consider marriage as the legal contract to have sex even without the consent of the partner. Most of the women in India are ignorant of their rights against domestic violence and sexual abuse as they are conditioned to strongly believe in and protect the ‘institution of marriage’ where their opinions and emotions usually don't matter.
A study conducted by the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2014 in 8 states of India showed that one third of men in these states admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives or their partners. The NFHS-3 survey report also showed that the majority of sexual violence reports are within marriage.
Surprisingly, marital rape is not a crime in India due to lack of education, myriad social customs and values, poverty and extreme religious beliefs. Central government's approach towards marital rape is not justifiable as it has given guidelines to high court that sexual intercourse between spouses can't be accounted as rape.The patriarchal approach that thinks that any sort of forced sex, men indulge in with their wives is normal and is not a rape, needs to be changed.
We, as a society, believe rape of an unmarried woman as an offence but not of a married one. We need to understand that she also goes through, the same mental torture and agony every single day, when she is forced to have sex against her will by her husband. The sense of possession and authority that most of the men have upon their partners empowers them to sexually abuse and let them forget that any form of sexual coercion is an infringement of one’s sexual autonomy.
Is it that difficult for a government, which took enormous initiatives to educate and inform the public on demonetization and GST in a very short span of time, to discuss on various issues like marital rape which is demoralizing and destructing the society at the same time? Negligence by the society to various issues, marital rape being one among them, needs to be addressed as it’s high time to revamp the societal norms which suppress its women in the name of marriage.
By: Thamanna Abdul Latheef C