Friday, December 6, 2019

Marital Rape : Its High Time We Talk About It

Crime under the protection of 'Marital Necessity'

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The term ‘Marital Rape’ may not be found in the dictionaries of so many people and especially those with antediluvian, dogmatic and orthodoxical mindsets, but perhaps this term is unfortunately the title of the book of so many harassed and assaulted married women.

Before proceeding, it is imperative to know what does this term mean. According to Merriam Webster’s definition, rape means unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is incapable of valid consent due to some reasons. So, those claiming to be the flag bearers of the society should pick up their markers and highlight these words- UNLAWFUL and AGAINST a person’s WILL. And most importantly the phrase ‘incapable of valid consent’ needs to be specified. It includes a minor, person with mental illness or deficiency. Unfortunately, Merriam Webster failed to mention persons with physical disability. If the rape is a tree, marital rape is one of its branches. It is forcibly sexual intercourse carried out by the spouse of the individual without individual’s consent.

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It’s not only men that should be assumed to be rapists. It’s high time that we understand that women and girls can be rapists too. Any sexual activity that women and girls do or try to do without the consent of men, make them fall under the category of rapists. Unfortunately, our societal view is such, that we don’t consider females as rapists. There’s no judgement in any High court or Supreme Court in which any women is accused to be in charge of rape. If men are given the tag of rapists after being accused of rape, why not women are given the same? Is our society and our laws so biased and so dumb that they don’t understand that in the definition of rape there’s nowhere mentioned that only men do that?

Coming back to marital rape. It’s beyond disgusting even to imagine that for one’s own sexual pleasure, one uses the body of spouse forcibly to satisfy it by claiming the so-called ‘Marital Right’ provided by not only the society, but also the families of the couple.

Girls today in schools are taught good touch and bad touch (It’s totally wrong to teach only girls about that. Boys should be taught about it too). Girls in colleges are provided with self-defense training now-a-days. Pepper sprays are also being distributed to them. Stringent laws are being made, and these girls are made well aware about them through seminars, books and all. Because of this world of networking, a lot of people come out to support the victims. In some cases, like the Delhi Rape case, people have taken out candle marches too. Girls are becoming brave, and are coming out to report against the sexual harassment done to them. The popular example is the Me Too Campaign. But what about helpless married women? Why are they not encouraged to come up forcefully against this marital rape? Why is there only our sympathy towards them? It’s 2019, and still marital rape is not considered a heinous crime, especially in India. Rather, it has been given social sanction in the name of ‘Matrimonial Necessity’.

We all are well aware about the condition of girl’s marriage in India. Even after the formulation of so many laws, the girls are forcefully married to a guy of the choice of her parents. The ‚ÄòRight to Marriage‚Äô doesn‚Äôt even exist for many orthodox and rural families. Today also, in many areas, minor girls are tied in the strings of marriage. Before they are given sex education or even education, sindoor is put on their head. They are incapable of giving their consent for sexual activities. In the name of marital necessity, they are raped for years. Laws against it are the letters of Greek language to them, they‚Äôre unable o understand it. They and their mindset are molded to get in alignment with the so-called euphoric society.

The condition of people with disability is abstruse and is beyond our imagination. Imagine, a girl who can’t speak being sexually intercourse unwillingly by her own husband! She can’t even speak the pain, the psychological torture she is going through every single day. It’s hard to imagine, it’s hard to express.

It’s high time that we understand that our body is OURS. We have the right to decide who’ll touch our body. There should be CONSENT from both ends for a sexual intercourse. In the name of marital necessity, spouses can’t exert pressure or do forceful sexual activities. Consent is necessary whether he/she is girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife. If stringent laws are not made for this issue, we should come out together to put pressure on the concerned authorities to regard Marital Rape as a serious offence or crime. Everyone should be made aware about what is it. We should not give only sympathy to those coming out as victims of it, but we should stand by them and support them till they get the justice.

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