In a country where there’s no sex education to teach the youth and old people what consent is, how to practice safe sex, and anything about women’s pleasure, it would be even more impossible to believe that marital rape IS criminalized.
In India, it is a known fact that everyone prioritizes family over other people, and once a woman is married into another family, it is her duty to serve her husband and in-laws and keep mum and bear all the atrocities they commit against her; whether it be domestic violence, slave treatment or marital rape.
It is thrust upon the young woman that it is her obligation to fulfill her husband’s sexual desires whenever he wants it and comply silently. The only job the woman must do is give birth to the baby that comes from it.
It is most probable that men in India don’t know what consent or respect means because they are nurtured from childhood to believe that they are superior, and women can be smashed down upon, and still, no one would stand up for them. This is why boys catcall, comment on women’s attire and behavior like they have the right to do so, touch a woman inappropriately because he believes she is ‘asking for it.’
All these actions disseminate rape culture, which ultimately leads them to believe that women are under their control because they are weaker and cannot and will not retaliate. There are many cases of marital rape that go unreported either because it is deep-rooted in both the parties as something normal and part of the culture, or because the law has no solution to it since it is not criminalized. Either way, many women suffer in silence when a man that they’re supposed to trust the most betrays them like this.
In India, consensual sex means nothing. Only marital sex is correct. Thus, even if two parties have consensual pre-marital sex, it is considered a crime, whereas non-consensual sex behind closed doors of a married household is considered normal and turned a blind eye to.
It is almost as if marriage is a legal sanction to have sex. 🙂
But now a lot more people are coming forth against marital rape, and women are empowered to leave the toxic households. The younger generations are putting in the effort to learn about consent safe sex, too. But it is not enough. Unless and until there’s a law that protects victims and ensures proper punishment for those who commit it, India will not progress. Sex education is very important in this country right now and much needed.