For the uninitiated, what the hell is it?
Marital Rape is pretty self-explanatory, it is rape inside of a marriage i.e. nonconsensual sex between a married couple. Now it might be difficult for you to grasp this, it is understandable, given the fact that the judicial as well as legislative branches of this country can’t seem to get it.
Why all the fuss boss?
At the very base, marital rape is nonexistent as a “crime” according to the law books of the country of India. You can’t be punished for committing marital rape per se. Sound weird? It sure is. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which gives the technical definition of rape, contains an exception clause which says “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
Sexual assault is already covered by the existing Domestic Violence Act. According to Saptarshi Mandal, assistant professor, Jindal Global Law school,
“Yes, non-consensual sex with the husband is recognized as sexual abuse under this act. It also amounts to cruelty, which is a ground for divorce. But this does not lead to criminal prosecution,”
Which basically means you can divorce your ”pati-dev” for raping you, but he cannot be prosecuted criminally. This irony weighs down heavily upon the victims of marital rape, who face this relentless abuse day in and day out for years with no way out, not even legally.
The husband somehow has the divine right to f*** the wife, her consent, mental and physical needs be damned. Because in the minds of the society, the woman’s role is just to produce babies, that is it.
It is sad to see that this is still the thinking that is the undercurrent of human thought. This might have been a valid way to think back when we were living in actual jungles. It simply doesn’t make sense now.
Be that as it may, the Indian psyche is highly inertial. It tends to stick to old ways and means. How else would you explain the fascination of quite a sizable population to “restore lost glory” by renovating old things and preventing new ones from coming up?
Or our obsession with religious practices that are hundreds if not thousands of year old. Which has devolved from age-appropriate practices to simply inconvenient and pointless rituals?
The official government standing on the issue is that we should not “blindly” follow “western traditions” and criminalize marital rape. It will destroy the sanctity of the institution marriage.
Our government believes that a marriage is so sacrosanct that it is above everything, no matter what happens. It is an isolated chamber, where the goings-on is out of the purview of the sole defense that people have against abuse. And the reasoning is simply ridiculous. I will not delve into it, check this article for more.
My two cents
What it all boils down to is this, the inherently patriarchal nature of the society is exacerbated in India due to our tendency to resist change. As a result, we view any progress as an embrace of western ideology and fail to see the inherent logic.
What this does is create a facade of a highly developed nation which from inside is as regressed as cavemen, because we still consider women as baby making machines. We give all the advantage to men, be it sociological or economical and do put down the entire female population because of some weird mental quirk that makes us favor the “breadwinner”, traditionally male.
This is especially problematic when we consider the fact that the government is also full of old, regressive men and also young men who have been brainwashed with patriarchal fluid, but most importantly men, who propagate this institution because the caveman within them realises that every quarter they give to women by letting them progress, the less their entitlement will come into play, and the more merit will.
All of these things are not apparent on the surface, but if you are a man and you look deep within yourself, you will realize that these thoughts and feelings do exist and that they are an impediment to the much-needed progress that our nation is on the cusp of.
So, moral of this tirade. The government is full of people who stick to the old when it matters, and embrace the new when it doesn’t, they won’t change. The broader consensus needs to. Politicians are shifty ba*****ds, they will point their snout where the wind is blowing, once we change, they will.
Image Credits: Google Images
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