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Marital Rape: A Serious Offense Hidden Behind Closed Doors

The world needs to be awake now and laws need to be amended with changing times and seeing the increase in crime with each passing day. Society needs to be awaken and together needs to take a step further in protecting the rights of women and helping them get justice from marital rape.

Introduction To Section 375

Section 375 of Indian Penal Code describes the word "rape" as a criminal offence which is punishable under this section.

The exact definition of rape as per this section is:
375. Rape. A man is said to commit "rape" who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:
  1. Against her will.
  2. Without her consent.
  3. With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.
  4. With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be law fully married.
  5. With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
  6. With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age. Explanation. Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.
  7. Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.

Rape is violative of the fundamental right, Article 21. Its not only effects the victim but also the society at large. Its leave a long-life marks on the victim not only physically but also mentally.

Rape as said by the constitution is a crime but the laws fail to accept martial rape with a women above the fifteen. We talk about how women rights are violated, right to dignity, right to speak but when it comes to martial rape, all these rights are neglected. Martial rape which in recent years, have been talked about a lot and to criminalize marital rape as a punishable offence, is still pending. We live in society where marriage is considered as a consent to husband for sexual activity. Even if its without the consent of a wife, it is legal.

Shouldn't it be criminalized as a rape, as per my views yes. But being a part of Indian society, which runs by the customs and beliefs`, marital rape is still not criminalized.

Marriage which is a religious ceremony and any sexual act performed within the marriage is considered legal. Even the thought of marital rape being criminalized and punishable becomes militant. Countries recognize rape as criminal and serious offence and punishment for the same is penalized, they exempt marital rape. Women are entitled to protection, but the woman's husband, whom she married in good faith, repeatedly forces sex on her without her permission in an effort to torture and injure her. The thought of being raped while still married could make the wife physically ill.

Rape can be seen as a violent act committed against a woman in an effort to offend her modesty. It has been deemed a humiliation and the worst crime against human dignity by the Supreme Court of India. Rape is more than simply a physical assault; it also involves the whole devastation of the victim. In light of this, a civilised society cannot tolerate the notion that a woman must have sex with her husband notwithstanding her permission.

A rigidly patriarchal society where marriage is the foundation of society and where women's voices are suppressed. Dipak Mishra, a former Chief Justice of India, argued that marital rape shouldn't be considered a crime since it would lead to complete anarchy in families. Our nation survives because to the family platform, which supports family values. [9] Matrimonial rape cannot be made a crime due to social customs and attitudes that foster such an atmosphere. The Indian government claimed that people who wanted to prevent husbands from raping their wives were mindlessly imitating the Western nations.

In modern society, it is widely accepted that after getting married, a woman gives her husband her unrestricted consent to sexual relations. According to Matthew Hale of England, a husband cannot be held responsible for raping his legitimate wife since by their joint marriage contract and agreement, the wife has given herself in this way to her husband, and she cannot take it back [10].

The union government claimed in an affidavit submitted to the Delhi High Court that a law criminalising marital rape could turn into a simple tool for harassing the husbands, making the absurd argument that if all sexual acts between a husband and his own wife qualify as marital rape, then the determination of whether they are or are not will be made by the court.

A lot of discussion is going on the topic, On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court issued a divided decision over the country's decriminalisation of marital rape. Exception 2 of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which decriminalised rape inside marriage, was overturned by Justice Rajiv Shakdher, but it was upheld by Justice C. Hari Shankar. According to Section 375's Exception 2, "sexual actions or sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under the age of fifteen, is not rape." The Indian Supreme Court raised the legal drinking age to 18 years old in October 2017.

It took the court seven years to examine petitions to make marital rape a crime.

Look At The Statistics
India average is 31.9%. Another significant finding was that among currently married women age 18-49 who have been married only once, 11% reported their first ever experience of spousal violence within the first 2 years of marriage, and 21% experienced such violence within 5 years.

The stats are repeatedly increasing with years.

Since women are still seen as the husband's property and are entirely at his disposal, it is obvious that Indian law has failed to adequately protect them. Establishing equality for married women requires addressing the issue of marital rape. We have examined the arguments' viability in light of the ideas of family, marriage, and the place of women in society. We also proved that there is no legal basis for any of the arguments made in favour of making marital rape a crime.

Marital rape is now a recognised crime in a number of countries around the world, breaking with the long-standing custom. Even Nepal's Supreme Court has declared that forced sex during a marriage counts as marital misconduct.

India, regrettably, is falling behind. There is no reason to think that Indian households are immune to marital rape. It is widespread throughout India's towns, villages, and cities. The only difference is that we are no longer paying attention to the problem. The Indian Legislature needs to emerge from years of inactivity and make changes to the Indian Penal Code.

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