Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on Criminalization of Marital Rape and its criminalisation of the same.
Does India really need to make Marital Rape A Criminal Act.
I am a mother, wife, and a Lawyer and I have dealt with my own fair share of Domestic Violence case in my professional life. I have seen both sides of the coin, one where women who are genuinely victims of Marital Rape and the other where they think it is cool to claim they were raped by their husbands.
Even though a lot of women in our Country feel that Marital Rape needs to be criminalised we have equal number of Men and Women who think that this should not be criminalised. The reason for the same is that the law will be easily misused. It is indeed a sad state of affairs in our country that the Genuine Cases of Dowry and Domestic Violence rarely gets address and justice. Most of the times, the women’s family is too respectable in the society or is scared that if they file a case it will impact the lives of their other children. This happens in all sections of our society, right from the polished women of South Bombay to a daily wage worker in Dharavi, I have met both genuine and fake victims of Domestic Violence.
We live in a Country, where Sex is a Taboo and yet we are a population of 130 crores somehow. Since childhood, we are taught that women need to obey our elders and in future our husbands. WE are taught since childhood that two people involve in sex only to procreate.
Coming Down the present scenario of whether Marital Rape should be criminalised, I feel at present the chances of the said law being misused are higher.
The problem with our society is we still do not understand the concept of Privacy, Sex, Emotional Connect and Clear Communication between couples. In India, Marriage is a social affair, that means not only two individuals are married, two families and two communities are married. Even before the colour of the bridal henna fades, everybody starts pressuring the couple for an offspring and in some communities a male heir because a girl child will be killed immediately.
There are cases, where women are forced without their wish to undergo multiple pregnancies and abortions because they could not produce a Male Heir for the Family. In such cases, definately yes, this law would really be helpful. But at present the law also has other remedies for the same, i.e. Domestic Violence and other sections under the Indian Penal Code for Bodily Injury, but the same will not be a rape case. In India, even today pregnancy and child birth is a communal affair, women are actually interested in another woman’s menstrual cycle to know if she is infertile or they have been cheated. One of the stringent test of Marital Rape can be multiple pregnancies and Abortions amongst couples. I had personally known a couple, which was from Mumbai, for some reason they could not use protection as they claimed, had multiple abortions in two years and still at the end the girl claimed domestic violence against the husband. ITs another fact, that after another two weeks they started residing together.
I think that before we introduce this law of Marital Rape it is important to sensitize our society with respect to married couples.
Introduce proper Sex Education at School Level
We think sex is all about bollywood songs and yet fail to understand that a person can be bisexual or asexual. We barely know about all the genders that exist in our society. In our Schools that awkward session of Sex Education is wrapped up in 45 minutes. WE do not teach our children the process of procreation that is the reason why a lot of men and women undergo a lot of sexual tension. Even today women use more contraception than men.
Proper Communication between Couples
In India, marriages are decided on how homely the girl is (how much can she contribute to the house) and fat salary the boy earns. Once the criteria is satisfied by both the families both the boy and girl get married. A lot of couples fail to discuss one simple thing pre marriage – When do you want to have children ? Both have a choice in the same, the woman because it is her body that is primarily supposed to undergo a major change during pregnancy and the men because financial responsibility of bringing up a child is also huge. But we seldom come across couples, who also discuss the same post marriage.
More than Criminalisation of Marital Rape, it is important to send couples for pre-marital counselling. It would be great if the family courts could take an initiative for the same. I remember undergoing a pre-marital session in our law college. They just taught us simple aspects about understanding the opposite gender. Counselling is nothing but stepping into other person’s shoes. Once you can empathise with the other person the disputes between the couples will automatically reduce.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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