HYDERABAD : Th o u g h t h e Home Ministry thinks illiterate, poverty-stricken and narrowmindset of Indians is not capable of understanding marital rape, a section of the city’s populace think otherwise. In conversation with City Express, experts, activists and laypersons have not only expressed an understanding, but also say that it is important to bring out what happens in the bedroom out of the bedroom to empower women. Social activist Jameela Nishat agrees that it is the mindset of people that makes them tell their girls from a early age that “pati parmeshwar hai” and that husband has all rights over you.
“With this idea, women can never imagine that they can be raped even in marriage. The day a woman has the guts to say that she has the right over her body and she comes out in the open to reveal that her husband has not respected this right, things will change, “ she opines. “But we still have a long way to go,” the activist adds. S t a t i s t i c s f r o m International Center for Research on Women reinforces Jameela’s apprehensions. Its report reveals that one in every five Indian men has admitted to forcing their wives to have sex. Further, according to the United Nations Population Fund, more than two-thirds of married women in India, aged between 15 and 49, have been beaten, or forced to provide sex.
With nearly two-thirds of the male populace practising marital rape, it leaves little to wonder why the minister of state for home, Haribhai Parathibhai 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.” P Sandhya, joint director Women development and Child Welfare, Woman and Child Development, says that unlike the widely held belief that marital rape is under wraps, women do seek help from the commission. “Being pressurised to do anything is not right.
And when it comes to physical intimacy between a man and wife, consent becomes all the more important and its absence, should be deemed an offence,” she says. The debate of criminalisation of rape within marriage has been raging for years now -- with the United Nations first recommending India to make it illegal for a man to rape his wife, followed by the Verma Committee in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gangrape.
The lawmakers argued that it had “the potential of destroying the institution of marriage.” The result was the famous Nirbhaya Act, sans a punishment for raping one’s wife. Sumanth Kumar, zonal manager with a retail brand feels that the laws Hyderabadis share how the sanctity and meaning of marriage in itself is lost when women fall prey to marital rape HYDERAbad Friday, 1 May, 2015 email: firstname.lastname@example.org on rape are obsolete and repealing them does not necessarily mean destruction of marriage. “Marriage is a bond of love and trust and if you think you can have intercourse with your wife even if she doesn’t desire, you throw the trust out of the window,” he asserts and questions, “What’s the point of such marriage?”