Criminalize Marital Rape
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Marital rape in India has become a common issue, affected by many legal and cultural factors. This includes marital rape not being viewed as a crime in India. Legally, it is not criminalized, and culturally, it is accepted as a norm of marriage. As of now, informal statistics show that incidents of marital rape in India are steadily increasing. Nonetheless, reports of rape remain low. Its believed that rape reports are low due to marital rape being legal in India. It is estimated that only 1% of rapes are actually reported.
The Indian Penal Code section 375 address the crime of rape. The law defines rape in several ways: against the woman's will or consent; obtaining her consent through threatening her or someone she cares for; making her believe the perpetrator is her legal husband; if she is unconscious or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol; or if she is under fourteen years of age.
In 2015, a woman came forward about having been raped and assaulted by her husband. She was hospitalized for her injuries, however, her husband was never prosecuted. The woman took the issue in the form of a petition to India's Supreme Court. Her petition was dismissed, the court saying that the law couldn't be changed on the basis of one person's experience. In a high court in India in 2012, it was ruled that if a woman denied her husband sex, it was a form of abuse. The ruling was later upheld by India's Supreme Court as well, saying that being denied sex was a valid reason for divorce. It is seen this way because by denying her husband sex, she is also denying him happiness.
Beyond the outright discrimination women will face, are the underlying societal traditions that place husbands in charge of their wives and those wives often at the mercy of their husbands. 94% of rapes in India are committed by someone the victim knows and women are 40 times more likely to be assaulted by their husbands than by strangers.
We at GHAR (Group for Healthy Atmosphere in Residences) appeal to the authorities to bring marital rape also under the purview of the existing rape laws and help address the concerns of women and children in the domestic geography!
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