NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court, while denying anticipatory bail to a husband who sexually assaulted his wife, observed that the portrayal of the victim as a commodity reflects a deeply entrenched societal mindset that views women as objects to be controlled, exploited, and disposed of at will.
"The specific incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse recounted in this case unveil a troubling reality—one where marriage is distorted into a vessel for unchecked dominance and entitlement. Embedded within this warped perception is a dangerous belief that the marital bond grants unchecked authority to the husband, transforming his wife into a mere object to be wielded at will," Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma observed in the order.
The single-bench judge further noted that the severity of the exploitation in this case is compounded by the additional factors of physical and emotional violence inflicted upon the victim by her husband and his family.
As per the wife, the husband used to "sexually abuse her in inhumane ways", severely beat her, which resulted in injuries and certain internal gynecological problems.
The use of force, coercion, and intimidation to extract compliance from the victim underscores the systemic nature of the abuse and the lengths to which perpetrators will go to maintain their power and control, Justice Sharma stated.
As per the case, the husband told the woman's family that he had a government job but he was unemployed.
The man's family told her that they had brought a cow to milch for their son, therefore, why should their son work, and her salary would fulfill all their needs, as per the complainant.
"Being labeled and continuously called and reminded repeatedly that she had a status of a mere as a cow meant only for milking or a golden hen expected to lay golden eggs is deeply disturbing and indicative of the dehumanizing treatment the victim endured, which highlights the systemic issue of objectification and exploitation of women within certain societal frameworks," the high court order read.
It is an irony of situation that in several cases, the factum of a woman not working becomes the source of her handicap of raising voice against atrocities for fear of being stigmatized or faced with a dilemma as to where she would go, in case she is thrown out of her matrimonial home, in face of a situation where the doors of her parental home may also not be easily accessible or welcoming to her, it was stated.
However, now there is no dearth of cases placed before this Court highlighting another disturbing trend where the factum of a woman earning and employed becomes her handicap too, on the premise that since being a woman, she is earning and independent, she is not herself inclined to live with the husband and the in-laws, conveniently trying to put under wraps the reason for her to raise her voice against physical, mental, sexual and economic abuse by the husband, the order added.
The present case presents an argument that the woman being working did not want to live with the husband and the normal wear and tear of matrimonial life has been projected as atrocities and cruelties for non-fulfilment of dowry and false implication of the accused/husband and his family.