Marital rape is the act of sexual intercourse with spouse without the consent
of that spouse forcefully. It is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse
which the strong women have to survive. This is not a myth, marital rape do
exist so much that women have to suffer both physically and emotionally.
That undesired sex in not more than Prostitution.
The law assumes that once a woman has married she has given up her right to say
‘No’ for sexual intercourse. Therefore, there are no provisions to protect a
woman above 15 years of age from this sort of ‘legal rape’. India is one of the
36 countries that has yet to criminalize marital rape.
Marriage is a sacred institution; it’s a collaboration of two souls
is a bond of trust, respect and love
We have heard of such beautiful quotes and sayings many a times, which describe
the meaning of this devout institution – called marriage. But is the sanctity of
Marriage is a holy institution but not a license to rape. The presence of
consent of both spouses to have intercourse helps maintain the sacred nature of
marriage with dignity and respect. Marital rape exists – Yes, consensual sex
does exists between a husband and a wife, but the moment he or she says no for
sex (intercourse) and is forced to do so it becomes rape. .
Enforcing something in the name of religious ritual or patriarchy isn’t
justified by any standards. In order to exclude marital rape from the ambit
of rape law, three justifications have been provided.
The first justification was provided by Justice Mathew Hail (1609-1676) the
former chief justice of England. He said through the contract of marriage, she
grants her sexual autonomy to her husband in return for his protection, so she
cannot revoke sexual intercourse.
The second theory relied on was the property theory. The woman is before
marriage the property of her father and after marriage becomes the property of
her husband. So a man is entitled to use his property in the manner he deems
fit. The question of husband raping his wife does not arise.
The third justification for marital rape exemption is the unification theory.
The rationale behind this exemption was the doctrine of unity in marriage. A man
and women are merged into a single legal being upon marriage; since he wife has
no legal existence outside of her husband’s identity, it is not legally possible
for a man to rape his wife.
1 in 3 men admit to raping their wives and 1 Indian women is raped by her
husband every 3 seconds.
Why Women suffer?
Everyone wants to be happy in this world and do everything in order to fulfill
this wish until their hands are tied. In the instant situation, women’s hands
are tied because of poverty, illiteracy, financial dependence on the partner
(husband in majority of cases), religious belief, and pressure from society,
values and many others.
According to exception 2 of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, the sexual
intercourse between a husband and wife, who is more than 15 years of age, will
not be considered as a rape.
This exception frustrates the purpose of Section 375; to protect women and
punish those rapists by discriminating between the unmarried and married. This
exception is, in a way, giving the right to husband to engage in forceful sexual
intercourse with their wives.
According to Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 the one who commits rape
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term from seven
years to life imprisonment or it may extent to ten years along with fine unless
the women raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which
cases, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to two years or with fine or both.
This can be seen clearly seen that these provision have not been included with a
single point to criminalize marital rape rather they have legalized it. This is
where the law shall come into picture and amend these provisions to protect the
suffering married women and allow people to exercise their Right to Equality
mentioned in Article 14 of The Indian Constitution, 1950 which states that every
citizen has right to equality and equal protection of laws and Right to Life
guaranteed in Article 21 of The Indian Constitution, 1950.
In the State of Karnataka v. Krishnappa, the Supreme Court held that sexual
violence apart from being a dehumanizing act is an unlawful intrusion of the
right to privacy and sanctity of a female. The Indian legal system has reached
halfway and half of it is yet to be completed by striking down exception 2 of
A petition was filed by RIT Foundation, All India Democratic Women’s Association
and a survivor of marital rape in 2015 to criminalize marital rape whose
decision is being delayed till date.
Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita,Where women are not protected and respected,
civilization is sure to doom. India cannot bear to doom.
It is a crying shame that marital rape has not been criminalized by India yet.
Marital Rape is legal in India but it still is a rape and each rape leaves a
scar that never heals. Countless women live in constant fear of this kind of
rape then how can such marriage be sacred? The law is blurry but this matter
should be raised and provisions to criminalize marital rape must be made in
order to save those suffering women. This has to be realized that marital rape
destroys the marriage. A unified voice must be raised so as to bring this kind
of sexual abuse to an end. This is the time when Indian Legal System should
bring change for upliftment of society.
- The State of Karnataka v. Krishnappa, (2000) 4 SCC 75 (India)