Marital rape (also known as spousal rape and rape in marriage) is non-consensual sex (i.e., rape) in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse. It is a form of partner rape, of domestic violence and of sexual abuse.
However, one aspect of this problem, marital rape, remained untouched. The recommendations of the Verma committee to criminalize rape, was not accepted by the government then. Parliamentary committee opposed the Verma commission proposal saying that entire family system will be brought under great stress if the Marital Rape is brought under the law.
Recently, the government also reiterated the position adding concept of marital rape as understood internationally cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors.
Out of the total number of rapes reported to NFHS, 97.7% were committed by spouses of the victim. Experts say that sexual consent is the right of every woman – married or unmarried – as much as of men, and nonconsensual sex should be treated exactly the same, regardless of the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim.
The absence of a law to safeguard the same is a human right violation and unjust towards women.
Marital rape is also considered as the violation of Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Indian constitution which guarantees the equal protection of laws to all persons.
By depriving married women of an effective penal remedy against forced sexual intercourse, it violates their right to privacy and bodily integrity, aspects of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. The United Nations has also recommended India make it criminal for a man to rape his wife.
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, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.”
Proponents of the marital rape exception, however, argue that it is essential to preserve the integrity of marriage, which is a crucial social institution.
Thus judicial reforms are also necessary to deal effectively with such matters. It is also being said that marital privacy – which justifies laws such as the marital rape exception – is a fundamental denial of society’s commitment to treating all persons with equal concern and respect.
Criminalizing marital rape is against our family values in India. Comment.
The absence of a law to safeguard the same is a human right violation and unjust towards women. Discuss in the view of recent marital rape debates.