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Haan Ya Na – Story of Marital Rape in India

Marital rape is not considered a crime in our society because if you are married then it is absolutely fine to do anything with the spouse because they are husband and wife, who after marriage are thought to be a single being so how can one spouse rape oneself. The voice of victims of marital rape are suppressed in high class societies also because of the most said phrase log kya kahenge.

The problem is not new this is persistent in our society from very long times but no laws are made which gives relief to everyone equally and not on the basis of age. There is a need to change perspectives of people. The current law system is also male dominant who just do not accept the fact of raping one’s wife because they think it is normal.

HAAN YA NA : STORY OF MARITAL RAPE IN INDIA

“Nari kahun ki nahri,nakh sikh se yeh khaye

Jal bura to ubrai,bhaag bura bhi jaye.”

Should I call her a women or tigress, she eats from head to tail, one who drowns in water can perhaps be saved but a drowned in sexual pleasure can never be saved.

“Nari madan talabari,bhav sagar ki paal

Nar maccha ke karne, jeevat manri jaal”

The woman is a tank of lust, a shelter to sail this wordly sea. Women has been created as a fish net to trap men.

These are some of the dohas written by Sant Kabir Das. They highlight the point that how a women in only seen as a object for sexual pleasures and is good for nothing else. They depict women as a sexual trap in which men being so innocent get caught. A woman is a living figure having breast and vagina is no less than a fish net who can attract men just by doing nothing.

What is marital rape?

Marital rape is the act of sexual intercourse with the spouse without his or her consent. Consent plays an important role. All marital rapes need not include violence but any forced act which is also an injustice is always wrong. It is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

HISTORY

In earliar times when the society was not so developed and marriage was considered a sacred institution more than it is considered now because now the people are getting more logical so they are able to question its aspects but then the case was not the same. Marriage was pure and nobody had the authority to question it. Even the consent of girls and boys was not taken by their parents before fixing their marriages with each other. The system of male member of the family having the superior authority to do such acts was prominently seen and is still followed in most of the households. So they were married with or without their consent. Bride givers were inferior to bride takers so this implied that girl marrying will be inferior to her husband. Therefore the husband had full authority on her wife’s property whether it is materialistic or her own body. This led to marital rape because husband thought that wife’s body is an object with which he can do whatever he wants.

Read – Acid Attack And The Scenario In India

We live in a patriarchal society, therefore it was not a much reported issue as women were subjected to violence and were suppressed by the men and even by the women of their family.

There are men who are subjected to marital rape but mostly it is committed against women only.

MARITAL RAPE WITHIN THE AMBIT OF INDIAN PENAL CODE

The laws related to problem of marital rape are very ill-defined in india as it is ‘OK’ to rape one’s wife if she is 15 years or above. This is mentioned in section 375 of IPC. But the age was increased to 18 in October 2017 by SC.

The problem is within the system of marriage and people’s thinking which gives men an undue advantage over his wife’s body. When there is sexual abuse by a man on a woman without her consent then it is called as rape but why is this so if that women is his wife and above or 18 years of age it is absolutely fine to do whatever he thinks. So a man can fiercely can marry a girl and rape her without getting punished as he can suppress her anytime.

Now if two people are married to each other then it does not give them the authority to do whatever they want to do with each other. Like they both can not inflict harm on each other or they cannot induce undue influence to get the work done, e.g., getting spouses signature on divorce paper by committing fraud, then why should rape not be considered as a crime if they are husband and wife.

Consent and intention play an important role but this not the case seen in marital rape most of the times.

Laws under IPC

Marital rape is not mentioned in IPC as a separate law but it is included as a exception to section 375,

“Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife,the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape”

Section 376B,

“Whoever has sexual intercourse with his own wife, who is living separately, whether under a decree of separation or otherwise,without her consent, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”

And Section 498A which deals with CRUELTY BY HUSBAND OR RELATIVES OF HUSBAND

Whoever being, the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects women to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall be liable to fine.

Cruelty means-

  • Any wilful conduct which is of such nature as is like to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life,limb or health(whether mental or physical) of the women;or
  • Harassment of the women where such harassement is with a view to coercing her any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

HAS SOCIETY ACCEPTED MARITAL RAPE AS A CRIME OR NOT?

The answer to this question will probably be no because women those who are subjected to this heinous crime do not know actually that this is a type of violence just because he is your husband doesn’t mean that he can indulge in sexual intercourse whenever he wants. Has society made up their mind that women is just a child bearing machine and nothing else? If a women delivers her baby by c-section then she hears phrases like ‘dard nahi saha toh kya kiya’. Is this really the scenario? Are women only considered to bear all the pain and never complain about it? Because today also most of our orthodox society has yet not accepted it as a crime.

THE NEED TO CRIMINALISE MARITAL RAPE

In india marital rape is not mentioned as a crime in IPC because the male dominant soceity does not accept it as one. But it is a ground for divorce and a women can always take advantage of it. The mere thought that if marital rape is included in IPC will increase the number of fraud cases in society by women then it might be true to some extent but this does not mean that the victims of such acts will not get the relief and the accused will be exempted from the punishments. In Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty the SC said that “rape is a crime against basic human rights and a violation of the victim’s fundamental rights”. The right to life enshrined in article 21 gaurantees a person to live with dignity.

There were changes made to the laws which increased the age of victim of marital rape from 15 to 18 but this is not enough as raping one’s wife, who is an adult is also a crime. Victims of such acts bear pain not only physically but also mentally, this pain can even lead the victims to come out as more serious criminals due to provocation. A movie named ‘PROVOKED’ which was based on a true story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia showcased a woman who was a victim of domestic violence by her husband and later on she killed him because of the mental and physical torture she went through all those years which led to provocation and finally man slaughter.

Read – Criminalization Of Marital Rape

Marriage after rape

This idea is also not talked about in IPC but there are societies in which the rapist is married to the victim in order to avoid the shame which the girl and her family bear.

CONCLUSION

Rape is rape whether it is done with a male, female, husband, wife, kids or animals. It has no types, if a man penetrates his penis into the vagina of a women, without her consent, even if the women is his wife, it is totally unacceptable. Whether there be infliction of injury or not, it is marital rape. The mere fact that there was no violence involved does not conclude that the intercourse was done with the consent of women, if she not in the state to do the intercourse, she is not and nobody has the authority to force her for that. The government is last to work if want to stop these things, it can only make laws give punishments but cannot enter into houses and find the victims and stop crime. The need is that we the people who are responsible for the utmost development start working on it and the women start raising their voice, just because the person is her husband does not mean that he can do anything because SAB NAHI CHALTA HAI.

This Article Is Authored By – Medha Shukla, Student of BBA LL.B (Hons.), Vivekananda Institute Of Professional Studies

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