Criminalise Marital Rape
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Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
-The Indian Penal Code Section 375 (Exception), India
About 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence.
A woman is raped every 29 minutes. Every six hours, a young married woman is found beaten to death, burnt or driven to suicide. The number of women sexually assaulted by their husbands is 40 times the number of women attacked by men they don’t know. In January 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) Questionnaire reported that 24% of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some point during their lives.
However, the real issue is that this marital rape perfectly legal.
Marital rape, the act of forcing your spouse into having sex without proper consent, is an unjust yet not uncommon way to degrade and disempower women. Often, when a woman is treated like an accessory or toy, she begins to believe that she is nothing more than one. When she is told that a woman’s place in society is to be a wife and nothing else, she begins to reinforce that belief in her mind. When she is treated without respect, she begins to truly believe that she deserves to be treated like she is worthless.
We need to take action immediately to stop this abuse and sexual assault being legally committed. It is crucial that we do our part to help prevent the harm and sexual abuse of these women. By making marital rape illegal, many citizens will realize how wrong marital rape actually is. Women will be able to receive help and keep themselves safe from abusive spouses. Lives will be positively impacted, even saved. Help women stand up for themselves, and help stop marital rape in India.
*Additionally, we found that these abusive problems were blamed on the country’s religion (ex. “Muslim-majority countries”, “Sikh population”, etc.) while in truth, religion is no excuse for these crimes and most of these religions are known for being very peaceful. The criminals are hiding behind their religion in a way, and religion is no excuse for raping your spouse.
The following will be sent to the Prime Minister of India once this petition is closed.
His Excellency Narendra Modi,
(Number of signatures) activists from around the world bring to your attention today the law found in Section 375 (exception) of India’s Penal Code authorizing marital rape, provided the wife is not under the age of fifteen. On March 8th, 2017, a petition was initiated on ‘change.org’ to have this law removed from India’s Penal Code, and we received (number of signatures) signatures from activists around the globe. We strongly believe that gender equality is essential in order for women to reach their full potential, and we feel that a law such as this which enables men to degrade and disempower women is a violation of women’s fundamental human rights.
Marital rape is defined by the United Nations as “non-consensual sex (i.e., rape) in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse” and as a “form of partner rape, domestic violence and sexual abuse.” As you know, in Section 375 (exception) of India’s Penal Code, you can find the following law: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.” However, the United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” We believe Section 375 (exception) of India’s Penal Code violates these values and principles of the United Nations. Many countries have recognized marital rape as violence against women and have outlawed it as a result, and we request for India to do the same. Furthermore, while India’s laws state that the marriageable age for women is age eighteen, this law states that marital rape is not rape provided the wife is not under fifteen years of age, which is contradictory to India’s own marriage laws.
We ask you to eliminate Section 375 (exception) of India’s Penal Code and classify marital rape under the same definition as all other kinds of rape. We look to protect women of India who are victims of marital rape, and we believe that by removing this law, women will be safer from abusive spouses, can receive the help needed to recover from marital rape, and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse. Indian women deserve to be treated equally to men, and an individual's human rights do not deserve to be ignored by anyone, including by their spouse.
Thank you for taking the time to consider our proposal, and we appreciate all that you do to protect and empower the women of India. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
(Number of signatures) activists of ‘change.org’
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