What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘rape’? It is commonly defined as unlawful sexual activity and usually, sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will. It is one of the most barbaric crimes that humans commit and it often leaves the survivors physically as well as mentally traumatized to the extent that many are not able to lead normal lives.
What do you visualise when you hear the word ‘sex’? Before you start thinking of definitions of sex, let’s consider how sex is generally viewed in Indian society:
So, the sex that was considered to be impure before marriage suddenly becomes the benchmark of one’s purity after marriage. However, even sex after marriage can qualify as rape. Sex without consent, after marriage, is called marital rape. Recently, our former CJI Dipak Mishra said that marital rape shouldn’t be made a crime in India. But rape is rape. And, forced sex is rape, regardless of the fact that it occurs after marriage.
Passing a law against marital rape is difficult because we Indians put our culture and tradition before everything. No, I am not against tradition and culture, but what good is a culture that doesn’t allow someone to be who they want to be? Girls are taught that serving their in-laws and husbands is their prime duty after marriage, and it is believed that a girl shouldn’t do anything against the will of her in-laws because that will bring down her parents’ dignity. When such thinking exists at the very grassroots, no law can help.
Also, the women living in cities, who are educated and have ideas about their rights can easily approach the court and police in case marital rape is ever considered a crime, but what about those girls who aren’t educated? What about those who stay in far away villages where such traditions exist? What about those girls who are married off at the age when they are supposed to be playing or studying? Laws aren’t and shouldn’t be made considering a group of individuals, rather the whole of India should be considered.