The Supreme Court recently refused to entertain a woman’s plea to declare marital rape a criminal offence, saying it wasn’t possible to order a change in the law for one person.
A Delhi-based MNC executive had told the court that her husband repeatedly resorted to sexual violence but she was helpless as marital rape was not a crime in India.”You are espousing a personal cause and not a public cause…This is an individual case,” a bench of justice AR Dave and justice R Banumathi said, refusing to take up her plea. The woman had challenged the validity of an exception to Section 375 of the IPC that says sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is 15 or above, is not rape even if it is without consent.
The petitioner alleged that she was not only subjected to dowry harassment, but also brutally raped by the husband who pushed torch lights into her, causing grievous injuries.
Recently I read the above news in a famous news daily on Facebook. There were about 300 comments which included women showing their rage towards such husbands and such laws, young boys giving an option of ‘getting another lady for sex’ to such husbands and then the usual ones who were enjoying their Hindu-Muslim or AAP- BJP war even here.
But what struck me the most was a comment which said-
“This sounds funny…I mean they are husband and wife. Then where is the question of rape?”
People thrashed him like anything on such a lame question. He was abused and shamed for being so insensitive. Finally the boy replied that as he was just 19 year old, he never imagined that something like marital rape even exists.
And that’s where the problem is! A 19 year old in our country knows what is marriage or what is sex but he/she does not know what goes around with it because we never tell them about it.
And something similar is happening with our Supreme Court and our law. We have numerous laws for marriage but there are no laws for crimes going around within the marriage. That’s because we don’t talk about it to our judiciary.
Isn’t it shocking that the Supreme Court thinks that marital rape is an individual and just one of a kind case? The answer should be … “No”. Why should it be considered a mass problem when the mass never comes out with this problem?
I remember this episode on Satyamev Jayate’s last season which was dedicated to child abuse where a counselor told that a five year old girl was sexually abused by her grandfather and when the mother protested this, she was thrown out of the house as no one believed her. When I discussed this with one of my male friends, he immediately came out with a conclusion that the mother might have a problem with the grandfather and so she might have made up this story. It’s not his fault to think in this way. Such stories are unbelievable for us as we hear about it only once in a while. And most of the stories are buried under the fear of losing the family’s pride.
A very good friend of mine got divorced a year back. I know him as a very good and genuine person. He is a manager in a reputed software company in India, has a great sense of humor and loves to cook. For me his divorce came up as completely his wife’s fault as I thought he was a perfect husband material. But then a few months back I read a blog written by this friend’s ex wife which narrated the story of her sexual abuse by her husband. Yes the abuser was my so called perfect husband material friend. She wrote that after getting sexually abused even when she met with an accident and was immobile, she got a divorce with mutual consent.
It was as good as leaving a rapist without giving any punishment if he/ she just agree to not rape you again. Or not filing an FIR against a murderer who promises not to kill anyone else.
I am not a law student and have no idea about section 375. But one thing that I know is that, “A rapist is a rapist whether he/she is a stranger or your spouse”. So if you are taking up a brutal crime like rape or sexual harassment from your husband then please speak up and let the Supreme Court and the judiciary know that it’s not an individual case!