Is Forceful Sex with Your Wife Justified? My Views on Marital Rape

By at 6 December, 2009, 9:29 pm

I don’t know what to define first marriage or rape because they are pole opposite to each other. Where marriage is a form of spiritual, social and legal union of two souls, Rape is the sexual intercourse between a pervert and his victim.

Where marriage represents love ties, rape is the most heinous crimes humanity has ever seen. Unfortunately when a rape occurs in marriage the victim is forced to justify it. Sometimes it by society or sometimes its by her own for the welfare of her family. She is a victim who has no rights. The law treats her as a material object owned by her husband. She is a slave and is required to surrender to the sexual needs of her partner.

Article 21 says RIGHT to Life and dignity: What can more lower the dignity of a woman than rape?

Ironically Article 14  of constitution GUARANTEES EQUALITY BEFORE LAW but when it comes to justice a women raped by her husband is denied any kind of relief. How can you expect women to be equal to men when men are allowed to force sex on their wives?  Women activists fight for Women Reservation Bill but if in case anyone of them is forced sex by their husband, they have no resort.

I agree women in India have progressed a lot, they have made the country proud. But their efforts are meaningless if they have such derogatory position in the Indian Legal System. The archaic law of INDIAN PENAL CODE 1860 which misfits the present societal norms (like homosexuality, position of women etc) states marital rape as an exemption.

It presumes that “The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given herself in kind unto the husband, which she cannot retract.”

The only relief is given to women below 16 years and those who are separated from the husbands. Rest all married women can be raped by their husbands, because marriage is a contract in which the female body is bought and maintained by the husband. She is an object which can be used and misused by the husband at his own will. She is deprieved of feelings and self respect. She has no rights whatsoever to determine whether she wants to have intercourse or not. In short marriage is a cage for her if she elopes(separates under section 376-A) she has rights, if she stays she has to obey her master.

I have seen arguments like marital rape is uncommon and practically impossible to prove. Marriage is an institution and there is an implied concern by wives and that wives use it as a tool to fabricate their husbands. But these arguments donot hold water. Marital rape is unreported but a common crime. It is difficult to prove but if medical tests are conducted with in 48 hours of rape then there would be sufficient medical proof to prove the crime. It would also take care of the fabrication by wives. Moreover if marriage is an institution then both husband and wife have to respect it.

A husband who rapes his wife is not a human being but a monstor. Marital rape should be criminalised as soon as possible. Women should be allowed divorse of such grounds under ambit of “Cruelity”. Moreover wives should be duly maintained by the husband as sometimes the financial situation of the wife forces her to submit to the heinous act. Proper awareness programmes must be conducted to educate couples of what may constitute marital rape.

In India, wife is termed as ardhangini. It is not because you have sex with her because she is like an inseparable part of your body. If we never torture any of our body parts because it amounts to pain, what gives husbands right to torture their wives who not only feel pain but live it to. Has the status of wives even worse than a body part.

I’m sure there would be many women around us who would have been raped by their husbands by the plight is most of them are unaware that it is a crime which is not yet a legaly recognized.

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Categories : Legal Mirror | Social Issues

Comments
Prabhakar Singh December 7, 2009

I do share ur concerns on marital rape, however I am not sure whether law is an answer to all such problems. Even if a law to this effect is passed, implementation would be a problem. New feminist studies has raised question about a women’s right of choice of time and right to “orgasm”. Even as a lawyer, I do not think that law is an answer to this question. Family or husband-wife relationship is a private affair; before we jump to legal solutions, I am sure a reform at a private level is necessary. Positive laws for everything is not an answer to all the problems we face, let me tell you half of word’s problems and issues of insufficient justice have come from the tyranny of positive law. Where would you put “date-rape” vis-a-vis “marital rape”. Where marriage legitimizes sexual intercourse date and follow ups are a mere emotional, private and non-legal but consented activity. Also, though unmarried, I do guess that sex between partners assumes a share of “pleasure” by both: why are we assuming that all men would be married monster eventually inflicting sex even when the wife does not want it? Have you thought that this could also be other way round: an unwilling husband and a willing wife into sex? When marriages are arranged traditionally, generally, actual sex or a discussion about it is a post-marriage activity. When a couple in love chooses to marry, this is another transition. India is a society in transition and thats why Indian marital-rape has a different sociology than in other cultures. Criminalization of sex between lawfully wed man and women, therefore, will have unprecedented ramification; an ares not studied at all? And yes, lust is not men’s specialty, it pervades both the sexes. And therefore, in the rhetoric of marital rape against the silhouette of date-rape the men need not be decriminalized- we ought to find other medicine.

meghna December 7, 2009

I appreciate your views and also agree that positive law may create problems.
I think criminalizing rape is more important than sexual rights of right to choice or orgasm because it is a right relating to self respect.
I agree that a social transition is required before we go into the implementation of the law. But it is very essential to have a law if such cases occur.
Decriminalization of marital rape is an exception under Section 375 should be deleted because even if the implementation would be a problem victims cannot be denied justice on the basis of it. Moreover as of now even if a case of marital rape is proved (through medical evidences), the accused would not be convicted. Thus, if there would be no law even if crime is proved there would be no implementation.

As you rightly said sex is pleasure for both and pleasure can never be achieved through force. It is also true that lust is shared by both the sexes and one partner may be more sexually active then the other irrespective of his or her sex. But the reality is the husband can exercise physical force over his wife and rape her (and reverse is not true). In such cases we cannot say that in arrange marriages this helps the couple to know each other better. Violence cannot be used by him to subdue his wife in order to have actual sex after marriage.

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