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YKA Asked You This Question About Marital Rape And Here’s What You Said

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By Lipi Mehta:

Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi recently told the Rajya Sabha, “The concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc.”

This issue of whether to consider marital rape as ‘rape’ has been a contentious one for many years now and successive governments have dithered over a solution, with no mention of it in the country’s rape laws, whether old or amended.

To understand how the youth feels about this issue and Ms. Gandhi’s statement, we put out a question on our FB page asking whether our community of readers agree with her or not. We received a variety of answers: some took a clear stance for or against her statement; some questioned the minister while some others cited that if introduced, the law could be misused.


Here is a pick of some of the answers we received on whether people agree or disagree with Maneka Gandhi, and why:

1. Satrang – The Gay India

We vehemently disagree. I know, that talking about marital rape is hard in India, given the place of marriage in society, but that is NO EXCUSE for not talking about injustice. Just imagine if the builders of modern India had given these excuses, then even the concept of equality cannot be applied to India because of our socially prevalent caste system etc etc.

2. Shivali Sarna

Our dear minister,
Every rape in India is due to rotten mentalities, and to prove the “man power” over women!
Most of them happen due to poverty, less education, poor mindsets, religious beliefs, so why not legalise all of them? Why only marital rapes? Will that not be a brilliant idea? When you can talk of development of India in western contexts (despite the reasons cited by you), why are you bringing Indian context in crimes of rape?

3. Gita Negi

All of what she has said in no way justifies marital rape. The only difference between rape and marital rape is that in the second one you live with your rapist and are vulnerable to assault anytime anywhere. Just what makes it even more dangerous.

4. Nida Sheriff

I am sure the PAIN, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, and sheer awfulness of being raped is an INTERNATIONAL GODDAMN CONCEPT.

5. Anand Gupta

I don’t understand. If you dislike a person, don’t marry him. No rape then because even a touch by a man anywhere on woman’s body is considered rape as per new law. I urge women to not marry at all to avoid such things.

6. Sahil Mansukh Thummar

As lots of fake cases of dowry, and rapes are being filed in india, just think about how this law will become a tool of oppression so easily. Either in indian judiciary cases like this being registered fine. And by this I don’t support marital rape, it’s just the other side of coin.

7. Arie Purushu

When discussing homosexuality – the government shouldn’t interfere in what happens in our bedrooms. When discussing marital rape – the government should interfere in what happens in our bedrooms.P.S. I think government shouldn’t interfere with what happens in our bedrooms. Plus, it’s we who got married by will. It’s almost impossible for jurisdiction to actually verify if the sexual act was consensual or non-consensual. At best, the solution is to grant divorce and find a partner with whom you’re sexually compatible.

8. Rizwan Aarif

There is nothing like marital rape. In lieu of all the luxurious life and facilities and hard work done by men in order to keep her comfortable and happy, it’s an obligation on a woman to give him a good f**** whenever he needs. What’s wrong with you feminists?Having sexual satisfaction and children in socially acceptable and moral way is right of man and is another important motive of marriages. We do have laws based on the same. Eg. Section 9, restoration of conjugal rights, compels a woman in a marital relationship to stay back with her husband in do her duties towards him as committed. This includes fulfilling the sexual needs.

9. Bapi Kumar Rai

Marital rape is a reality there is no doubt about that. But only a law wouldn’t be helpful as that would disturb a lot of things between a husband and wife. Basic problem would be the husband will be in a confused mode that should I ask her or not, and I am not talking about the urban couple here as women there are not so shy as the rural ones. Misuse of the law is a major concern for sure. Men will be definitely live in a constant fear of false allegation.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Drop in a comment below or write to us at You can follow us on Twitter @youthkiawaaz for more.

You must be to comment.
  1. Amlan

    Rizwan Arif’s opinion is utter sexist, disgustingly Misogynist..No Marriage cant be the license to rape…there are better ways for a women to earn a living for herself then to give sexual service to her husband in return of ‘maintainance’…Dont see your wives as permanant prostitues Rizwan…you lost your mind…And what about wife living in constant fear and trauma of being raped her husband ?? yup misuse of law needs to be checked, but, that doesnt mean we keep rape by husband legal in fear of misuse..Even theivery laws are misused, doesnt mean you keep theivery legal for that..Wife is not husbands sex slave…

  2. Nida

    Is the quote in #5 a troll? Is their solution seriously to tell women not to ever get married or be touched by a man?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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