it refers to unwanted intercourse by a man with his wife obtained by force, threat of force, or physical violence, or when she is unable to give consent. It is a non-consensual act of violent perversion by a husband against the wife where she is physically and sexually abused. Approximations have quoted that every 6 hours; a young married woman is burnt or beaten to death, or driven to suicide from emotional abuse by her husband. The UN Population Fund states that more than 2/3rds of married women in India, aged between 15 to 49 have been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex. In 2005, 6787 cases were recorded of women murdered by their husbands or their husbands’ families. 56% of Indian women believed occasional wife-beating to be justified.
While marital rape gets documented in hospitals, cases are rarely registered, since it is excluded from the India Penal Code’s (IPC) definition of rape, says an analysis by Dilaasa, a counselling centre based out of K.B. Bhabha Hospital in Bandra. “Very rarely do patients tell us about marital rape. In a few cases, we see injuries and probe them. They are not aware this is wrong There is a pattern to the silence: women stay quiet about the assault when young, but are willing to report it at a later stage.’
In the present day, studies indicate that between 10 and 14% of married women are raped by their husbands. Sexual assault by one’s spouse accounts for approximately 25% of rapes committed. Of the 664 cases, 159 cases were marital rape in 2015 at NGO Sneha’s crisis counselling centre in Dharavi. At Sneha’s counselling centres at KEM and Sion hospitals, of 218 cases of domestic violence received in 2015, 64 women said they had faced marital rape. Dilaasa analysed 13 cases of sexual violence from the emergency rooms of two of Mumbai’s public hospitals, Rajawadi in Ghatkopar, and Bhabha between 2011 and 2014 and found that only in five instances did the police register a case, mostly under Section 498 (A) (domestic violence), or the contentious Section 377 (unnatural offences). Dilaasa’s domestic violence data shows 60% married women report sexual violence, forced sex being its most common form. Dilaasa notes, “In almost all the cases, the police delay the collection of medical evidence from these hospitals and also do not wish to record an FIR. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said that even if there was a law against marital rape, women won’t report it. According to the latest National Health and Family Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16, 5.4% women have experienced marital rape, under this category. But while the data on marital rape in India exists, marital rape as a crime, “does not exist”. And yet 5.4% of married Indian women say they have experienced marital rape. The figure recorded by NFHS-3 for 2005-6 was 9.5%. Sexual violence of course gets progressively worse if the husband is an alcoholic – 66% of married women experienced physical or sexual violence when “husband gets drunk often”. But only 10% of married victims of sexual violence seek help.
The situation is worst in Manipur, 55% of married Manipuri women have been victims to these kinds of violence. Sikkim has the lowest number of victims at 3.5%. The National Health and Family Survey records both sexual and non sexual violence. The survey has looked at married women in the age group of 15-49. The highest form of non-sexual violence comes from men slapping women – 25% of women surveyed said they have been slapped. In all, 12% of married women said they have been pushed, shaken and have had things thrown at them. 10% said the husbands have pulled their arms or hair. Another 7.5% said they have been punched with fists or objects and 7% said they have been kicked, dragged and beaten up. More so, 1.5% said they have been choked or burnt and 0.8% said they have been threatened or attacked with guns, knives and other weapons.
👉Marital rape may be broadly classified into following two categories:
1.Sexual coercion by non-physical means– this form of coercion involves social coercion in which the wife is compelled to enter into sexual intercourse by reminding her of her duties as a wife. This form of coercion entails applying non-physical techniques and tactics like verbal pressure like include making false promises, threatening to end the marital relationship, lies, not conforming to the victim’s protests to stop, etc.
2. Forced sex– this involves the use of physical force to enter into sexual intercourse with an unwilling woman. It can be further classified into the following three categories:
i. Battering Rape- this form of marital rape involves the use of aggression and force against the wife. The women are either battered during the sexual act itself or face a violent aggression after the coerced sexual intercourse. The beating may also occur before the sexual assault so as to compel her into sexual intercourse.
ii. Force Only Rape- in this form of rape, the husband does not necessarily batter the wife, but uses as much force as is necessary to enter into sexual intercourse with the unwilling wife.
iii. Obsessive Rape- this form of rape involves the use of force in sexual assault compiled with perverse acts against the wife. It involves a kind of sexual sadistic pleasure enjoyed by the husband.
👉*Marital rape is illegal in 18 American States, 3 Australian States, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia. In India, a marriage is a bond of trust and that of affection. A husband exercising sexual superiority, by getting it on demand and through any means possible, is not part of the institution. Legislators use results of research studies as an excuse against making marital rape an offence, which indicates that many survivors of marital rape, report flash back, sexual dysfunction, emotional pain, even years out of the violence and worse, they sometimes continue living with the abuser. For these reasons, even the latest report of the Law Commission has preferred to adhere to its earlier opinion of non-recognition of “rape within the bonds of marriage” as such a provision may amount top excessive interference wit the marital relationship. Rape in any form is an act of utter humiliation, degradation and violation rather than an outdated concept of penile/vaginal penetration. Restricting an understanding of rape reaffirms the view that rapists treat rape as sex and not violence and hence, condone such behavior in India. The importance of consent for every individual decision cannot be over emphasized. A woman can protect her right to life and liberty, but not her body, within her marriage, which is just ironical. Women so far have had recourse only to section 498-A of the IPC, dealing with cruelty, to protect themselves against “perverse sexual conduct by the husband”. But, where is the standard of measure or interpretation for the courts, of ‘perversion’ or ‘unnatural’, the definitions within intimate spousal relations? Is excessive demand for sex perverse? Isn’t consent a sine qua non? Is marriage a license to rape? There is no answer, because the judiciary and the legislature have been silent.
👉*India’s parliamentarians just could not find it in them to treat married and unmarried women equally, on matters of rape. “Married women only have the option of using section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which lays down provisions on cruelty, if they need to allege sexual violence against their husbands,” says Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.And although Section 377 is known as the law which prohibits “gay sex,” it in fact prohibits “unnatural sex,” an act which can take place between straight people as well. “Sometimes women have used Section 377 if they want to press charges of rape against their husbands,” says Krishnan.
Section 375, the provision of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), has echoing very archaic sentiments, mentioned as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” Criminal charges of sexual assault may be triggered by other acts, which may include genital contact with the mouth or anus or the insertion of objects into the vagina or the anus, all without the consent of the victim. It is a conscious process of intimidation and assertion of the superiority of men over women.
👉*There are many reasons such as husband believe in the superiority of men over women; some domestic issues, demand of women for her right in a marital relationship etc. Therefore, the main reason of this marital menace is a wide spread of gender inequality prevailing in our society. The male-dominated system of social norms where woman whether married or unmarried does not have the equal rights in any which way. It is the biggest weapon in hands of man to exploit the women. The role of traditionally assigned to married women in the society. Indian married women are considered as pativratastri means pure, faithful and obliging women. Thus married women have to follow her husband and fulfil all his requirements. The sexual relationship has been considered as an important part of the marriage, it is a woman’s duty towards her husband and she is not supposed to deny that to him. Her rile must be of submission and surrender. Economic dependence on her husband and in-laws is the reason that married women are unable to protect her from frequent practice of marital rape and she is forced to bear it. There must be strict laws for marital rape and the government should make some rules to reduce this problem.