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India is one of the 36 countries in the world where Marital Rape is not criminalized.
Section 375 of Indian Penal Code classifies all forms of sexual assault and non-consensual intercourse with a woman as rape. However, non-consensual intercourse between a husband and a wife is not criminalized, given the wife is over the age of eighteen.
Renowned Advocate, Criminal Psychologist and Social Activist, Anuja Kapur, talks about Why Marital Rape is Not Criminalized in India even though the plight of sexual abuse faced by women is a stark documented reality.
UN Population Fund data states that more than two-thirds of married women in India, between the ages of 15 to 49 have been beaten, raped, or forced to provide sex.
Marriage is a sacred institution policed heavily by society. If marital rape is criminalized then the piety of this union will be at stake in the eyes of the great Indian society. She highlights the unfavorable socio-economic condition of women prevents them from filing a complaint against their abusers. The attitude of judiciary and law also dissuades a woman from coming forward because talking about marital rape and non-consensual intercourse will be a “compounding issue” for many.
Anuja says the jurisdiction of sanskar and sarkar inhibits criminalization of marital rape in our country.
Being a developing nation that is pioneering in the branches of technology, medicine, science and art, India has time and again failed to protect its women. We might be prepared to launch a satellite on the moon but our patriarchal ego is so fragile that acknowledging a woman’s plight becomes detrimental to the sanskar-quotient of the entire nation.
Anuja suggests that the reform of restorative justice might aid women in fighting this evil. Marital rape gives rise to sexual exploitation of women and we cannot stay a mute spectator to this violation of human rights.
Watch the video to learn more about the tropes of law and how marital rape can become one of the grounds to file for divorce.
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