Is Marriage A License To Rape?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Rape means “the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will”.

Rape is recognized to have been a horrific crime against women’s world. Lately, the number of assaults against women in India has risen, as stated by the National Crime Records Bureau. In India, a crime towards women is registered once in every two minutes. As per the NCRB study, 2.24 million cases of crimes against women have been reported over the last decade. A crime that is recorded contains both bodily and psychological abuse.

Rape is a crime against a woman, in breach of her modesty and self-respect. The worst scenario is when it happens inside the four walls of a marital house, it lowers an individual to the role of an item exploited exclusively for sexual pleasure. The very modesty of a woman has been granted the freedom to fight for her safety while the attackers are others, but where the attacker of her modesty is her spouse, who is supposed to make her feel safe and secure, this defense is revoked by the legislature. In India, marital rape is a very common practice, which is a shameful crime that has now aged security and faith in the sanctity of marriage. A significant number of women have suffered the wrath of the non-penalization of this practice.

In the context of this, the notion that a wife needs to please her husband immaterial of the fact that she doesn’t desire, permit or is too sick to have sex is utterly intolerable. There is also no rationale or validity in the present time of the principle of marriage exception in the rape cases. This is obvious that the sheer criminalization of marital rape in India would not finally put an end to the issue, but it is a significant move in improving a woman’s safety standards in a marital relationship. It has been long overdue that the principle of “rape is abuse, regardless of the relation between the survivor and the attacker” is accepted by the statute and vigorously applied.

Understanding the concept of Marital Rape

Rape is by far the most horrific crime perpetrated against a woman. It’s more than a murder. It is said that the woman dies a thousand deaths in her life, once she has been raped.  The abused woman is humiliated and forced to act as though she was the rapist. Society peers at criminals with a kinder, forgiving heart. Marital rape is a topic that is barely explored.

Within a few years, the Marital Rape has indeed risen. Significant aspects of marital rape involve the emotional anguish of becoming assaulted, the pain of becoming abused by her own spouse, and the powerlessness of becoming mute and permanent wounds of such events. Women in our country are protected from atrocities perpetrated on the streets, but they have not been protected against crimes within their own house, that hardly anyone knows.

Marital rape has been commonly tolerated by the public. It has been overlooked by statute and has not been criminalized. Currently, it is rejected by numerous communities across the world and rejected by many international negotiations and conferences. Such problems have not been adequately understood and thus things such as rape and domestic abuse inside marital relationship have not been recognised as a fact. This has emerged into being since the second period of the 20th century and has attracted tremendous international recognition. Nevertheless, there are also several places in which marital rape is still not a statutory violation and exists outside the rules.

In our country, marital rape is de facto, though not de jure. In India, although the government remains hesitant to criminalize marital rape, the judicial system has played its part in understanding the nature of such a phenomenon that afflicts Indian culture. In Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty, the Supreme Court said that; “rape is a crime against basic human rights and a violation of the victim: most cherished of fundamental rights, namely, the right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.” The very same bench, though, rejected the verdict for refusing to accept that it was a felony.

Progress has been made in Indian law on domestic abuse issues after adopting the Domestic Violence Act, the bill has not criminalized the sexual harassment of these offences and instead centred mostly on physical aggression. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code provides an exclusion to marital rape and, hence, females who undergo and want to address sexual abuse in marriage are refused the freedom to do so.

According to the Government in India, marital rape cannot be considered as, here a marriage is deemed holy. The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, claimed that marital rape is something that cannot be criminalized and noted that there was no plan to render it a penal offence. “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors, including level of education, illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc,” said Chaudhary.

We cannot ignore the fact that Marital Rape happens in our culture because women in our society choose to suffer in silence as there are no legal protections and a significant shortage of compassion for this horrific act. It’s time Section 375 is amended, abolish the loophole, and further criminalize marital rape in order to help survivors find justice. In the context of family and marital obligations, the inherent human rights of such people are abused. The view and mindset that a wife is the property of a husband is fatal to the dignity of a wife in India. They are powerless to undertake any recourse and are required to suffer the agony in isolation because of the absence of the requisite legal protections. In view of the reality that Indian culture is encumbered by patriarchal social standards and practices, there needs to be a significant shift in the mindset and attitude of people. Besides the type of legal incorporation, we need, first and foremost, generation of consciousness.