Though marital rape was criminalized in countries like Europe and United States in the last century, Indian ministers believe that it cannot happen in India. Why? Because “marriages are sacrosanct” in our country. Well, then we need to know Rashmi’s (name changed) story who was repeatedly raped by her husband, reports BBC
Rashmi is a 25-year-old educated young woman, who fell in love with an office colleague and married him. But she was raped by her husband on multiple occasions who thought consent is not necessary. She said:
“I was only a toy for him which he thought he could use differently every night. Whenever we had a fight, he would take it out on me in bed. There were times I pleaded with him to stay away because I was unwell, but he would not take a no for an answer, not even during my periods.” ….. “I still remember the night of 14 February 2014 which was also his birthday. We had a heated argument and then he forced himself on me. I resisted as hard as I could, but he didn’t stop. And then he inserted a torch inside me. I had to be admitted to hospital and I bled for 60 days after that.”
In February, India’s Supreme Court rejected Rashmi’s plea to declare marital rape a criminal offence. The court said it was not possible to order a change in the law for one person.
The victims of marital rape, like Rashmi, say they fight a lonely battle because their suffering falls under no category of the Indian legal system. Moreover, society often blames them for maligning the institution of marriage.
Supreme Court lawyer, Karuna Nundy, who specializes in human rights litigation and gender justice, says:
“At the moment, a wife can file a case under the Domestic Violence Act, which are dealt with in a civil court. It gives a woman a legal right to separate from her husband on the grounds of cruelty. But what is the legal provision to punish the act of crime? Any sexual act which is forced or is being done without the consent of the woman is a crime. The relationship of the victim with the perpetrator makes no difference.”
However, Rashmi and other victims of marital rape, refuse to give up the fight.