Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Gender-based Violence What Is Stopping Our Government From Criminalizing Marital Rape? Reply To: What Is Stopping Our Government From Criminalizing Marital Rape?

Afshan Iqbal
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RAPE is a heinous crime that happens every day in our country and we have laws that may or may not be enough for the kind of crime that rape is but MARITAL RAPE is not criminalized in our country. Strange, isn’t it? India today is one of 36 countries in the world that hasn’t criminalized marital rape. Let’s just shout out loud that Nobody I repeat nobody has the right to do this offense no matter if you’re a stranger or lover or even husband. Rape is a crime and by no means it can be justified whatsoever. Marital rape stands against the light of the right to equality, the right to life with dignity, personhood, sexual, and personal autonomy — all fundamental rights protected under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution respectively. So why there is no law against marital rape? What is holding India back from criminalizing marital rape? Why is it okay when a woman is raped no matter it’s her own husband? It’s because our society is inclined towards a patriarchal system where a husband’s dominance is normal and we have a government that thinks it’s the internal matter of the couple. But nothing in this world gives a husband the right to rape his wife. That’s it! Marriage is not a license for men to rape women nor does it make a woman the property of her husband that he can use it. Then why is it so difficult to make a law that punishes the husband the same way a rapist is punished? Why does the judiciary consider this as a private matter of the nuptial relationship? A crime cannot be justified because of the tag of a marriage. There should be a law for marital rape. This crime cannot be non-criminalized because of the fact that a raped woman is married to the culprit. Women out of fear of social stigma don’t file complaints. Victim-blaming culture is common in a patriarchal society, particularly if the victim is a woman so it is the need that women who are raped by their husbands get justice. If the husband forces his wife to have sex with him, he should be considered a criminal and the wife should have the right to go to court and file a complaint against him to get punished. So, I strongly believe that marital rape should be criminalized and the judiciary of our country must look into this matter at the earliest.