oppn parties Forced Sex in Marriage is Nothing But Rape

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Forced Sex in Marriage is Nothing But Rape

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary said, "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." The operative words here are “as understood internationally.” Sadly, the minister did not give us a peek into what he thinks is understood by marital rape internationally.

Under section 375 of the IPC, a rape is mainly defined as a man having sexual intercourse with a woman “against her will” and “without her consent.” How does it matter whether the woman concerned is his wife? Whether in India or elsewhere in the world, no marriage gives the man, or for that matter the woman, a right or a social sanction to have sex on demand. Hence, any forced sexual intercourse between spouses where one of them is not willing has to be considered rape as per the legal definition.

The minister has raised questions about education and poverty to claim that marriage is held as a sacrament. Even if this is true, how does it give the man the right to have sex with his wife against her will? A sacrament is defined as something regarded as possessing a sacred character or an oath or a pledge. The sacred character of marriage, if done under Hindu rites, comes from the seven vows the couple takes in front of the holy pyre. What are these vows? Do they give either of the spouses the right to have sex on demand? In fact, it is the rampant illiteracy and poverty that makes millions of women silently submit to sexual excesses of their husbands without their will as they are too afraid to speak out. They are made to believe husbands are “pati parmeshwar” and it is their duty to submit to their each and every will. This is neither acceptable nor is it mandated by the seven vows. In fact, in the seventh vow, the couple vows to remain friends and cherish each other. Isn’t forced sex an abrogation of this vow, for it neither lets the husband remain the wife’s friend nor does it allow him to cherish her?

Nothing but a parochial meaning and a patriarchal attitude will see forced sex by a husband as his right under marriage. The government’s stand is retrograde. Although there are many sections in existing law to book husbands for forced sex with their wives, namely sec 498A of IPC and under the Domestic Violence Act, they are related to cruelty to women. What is regrettable is that the government is bent on narrowing the definition of rape. In India, wives generally do not come out with complaints against their husband for forced sex mainly due to social stigma. Under these circumstances, the government’s stand will queer the pitch further. The government might next say that divorce is alien to India since marriages are held as sacred. Bonds of marriage cannot be held together by external forces. A husband continuously 'raping' his wife is a lout and should be booked accordingly.