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Need a license to rape? Just get married in India!

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It’s official! Under Indian law, marital rape cannot be classified as a crime. A 31-member committee including two female members took the Anti-Rape bill to  Parliament.

Several members of the Committee felt that marital rape has the potential of destroying the institution of marriage. The Committee felt that if a woman is aggrieved by the acts of her husband, there are other means of approaching the court. In India, for ages, the family system has evolved and it is moving forward. Family is able to resolve the problems and there is also a provision under the law for cruelty against women. It was, therefore, felt that if  marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress and the Committee may perhaps be doing more injustice.”

Let’s talk about Sex

The topic sex continues to remain a taboo in India. Across all classes and religions, if there is one topic that many religious leaders in India can agree upon, it is the fact that sex is not supposed to be an act of pleasure. Sex between two members of the same sex is illegal in India. So, it is supposed to simply be an activity that two members of different sexes are required to undergo to continue the family lineage. In the best-case scenario, the outcome of this activity should be a baby boy.

Pre-marital sex is considered ‘immoral’ in India. According to a judge based in New Delhi “No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex.” Judge Bhat ruled in the case of a woman who had filed a complaint of rape against a man. The man had allegedly promised the women that he would marry her. He was found not guilty by the judge because “when a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse, she does so at her own peril”.

Marriages are sacrosanct

The Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Partibhai Chaudhary, said in a statement, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors, including level of education, illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs, and values, religious beliefs, mind-set of the society, to treat marriage as sacrosanct.”

The educated, office-going woman had submitted to the man in the hope that he would keep his promise. Her submission though was outside marriage and was uncalled for. Women are required to submit to their husbands during their marriage. Failing to do so can be grounds for a man to seek divorce in India because his wife deliberately chose to deny him the benefits of conjugal visitation. Denial of sex can even amount to mental cruelty.

The institution of marriage in India needs to be safeguarded. So, the government turns a blind eye to the numbers of domestic violence in the country, it turns a blind eye to child marriage, trafficking, it even turns a blind eye to marital rape. It fails to see a woman’s misery both inside and outside of marriage.

The eyes however are wide open to stare at women when they drink, smoke, have fun or dress skimpily because judges and government officials use these as grounds to tell women that they invited all the trouble they got into. Why should it then bother establishing any laws to protect women from the trouble they keep getting themselves into?

Author: Roma Rajpal Weiß

Editor: Marjory Linardy

Roma Rajpal Weiß is an Indian Journalist and Blogger based in Bonn and can be followed @romarajpal.



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06.06.2015 | 12:57