A two-judge bench at the Delhi High Court led by Justice Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar is hearing petitions against the immunity gained by married men for having non-consensual sex with their wives. This has triggered the men to take it to Twitter to form a strike against the institution of Marriage on whole.
Currently, a husband cannot be charged with any laws pertaining to rape if he has non-consensual sex with his wife who is above 18 years of age. However, he can be charged with domestic violence or any other non-sexual offenses. In other words, he cannot be accused of Marital Rape in India right now.
This debate of Marital Rape being criminalized or not has just like every other issue become a Feminism vs. Men issue this time on Twitter. Many have taken this a bit too seriously while a few are having fun over this calling it a win for Feminism.
Men deciding to opt out of marriage if marital rape is criminalised is a huge win-win for the feminist movement. #MarriageStrike
— Siddharth (@DearthOfSid) January 19, 2022
Lawyers and Delhi High Court judges can stop treating men as 2nd class citizens and meet our basic demands, then they can call for any number of laws for women. Till then, it is #MarriageStrike & #MGTOW.
One can freely download this picture and share to people in Twitter. pic.twitter.com/lk6t6aJywZ
— Save Indian Family Foundation (@realsiff) January 20, 2022
When I see #MarriageStrike trending in India the one thing that I make out is that the laws governing marriages which were already lopsided & the way #MaritalRape is now being introduced, there’ll be a large section of men who wouldn’t want to get married only.
— Amit Lakhani (@TheAmitLakhani) January 19, 2022
The Feminists rejoiced!
May the #MarriageStrike be never called off, ever!
— UrbanShrink (@UrbanShrink) January 19, 2022
The #MarriageStrike is the greatest feminist move Indian men have ever pulled. Not only are you saving lakhs of women from being trapped in abusive households with predators and enablers, you are also making Engels proud and exposing the awful institution of marriage
— monkë (@UP16stanaccount) January 19, 2022
Men on #MarriageStrike– is it a threat or a promise?
— Aditi Mittal (@awryaditi) January 19, 2022
Men tweeting in favour of #marriagestrike are potential rapists. Possible rapists. Previous rapists. Why would any man who is self-respecting not want for marital rape to be criminalised? How can there be legal protection for rape only becauseit happens in a marriage?
— Dr Meena Kandasamy (is on hiatus) (@meenakandasamy) January 19, 2022
There was also a tweet from Abroad.
Are men really having a meltdown over proposals in India to make marital rape criminal? It should be criminal. Being married to someone doesn’t give you the right to *rape them*. I am personally very pleased it’s now criminal in the U.K.
— Duncan (@DuncanHenry78) January 19, 2022
Now taking a view apart from the sea of Twitter threads, let’s hear what Advocate Sudha Ramalingam who has fought against several cases of Domestic Violence feels about this.
“As far as the institution of marriage in our country, we presumed it as a means for procreation. Hence sex between spouses was just taken for granted. So practically you talk to anyone, most will say that their first night was nothing short of a Rape. Not very many women even know what sex is before their marriage. So in a country where sex is something which is very secretive, something that people don’t talk about, Women did not know what to expect of matrimony itself. So wives were expected to submit themselves to their husbands. Sex was seen as a marital obligation of the wife. Her consent was immaterial. It was taken for granted and nobody thought of making it a criminal offense. But in the 21st century, where Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right, and our Constitution grants Right to Equality to women; she cannot and ought not to be subject to sex without her consent even if it be by her husband. Right to Consent or refuse to have sex must be the wife’s choice. In Conjugal Relationship, in the name of Marriage violating a women’s body without her consent, I think it’s a high time, we call it a Crime. Now we don’t even say Rape, its a Sexual Assault.”
When asked about if the current laws are outdated or not updated after the Child Marriage Act, she said, “As far as I’m concerned, we need no law, if we are really going to respect women and behave in a civilized manner with respect to each other. But when it is not that way, then we’ll have to think about bringing laws. Well now, you know, if you’re going to accept that child marriage is something below 18, then everything else should also be below 18. Why is there a cut off for the year 15? There’s no rationale behind all these things. Many laws that were drafted years back have become anachronistic today. After Nirbhaya, on the recommendation of Justice Verna Commission report Rape was called Sexual Assault and a number of new offenses were included, and definitions were broadened. But even after that, Marital Rape was not an offence in the IPC. They did not consider it as a crime. But if the spouses are divorced or there is a Judicial Separation, then during that period, if something happens, then that could be termed as Rape / Sexual Assault. So we have got to redefine all these. Make it a punishable criminal offense to empower women, and also live with dignity within matrimony too.”
Also, Mr. Sanjay Pinto, Advocate, Columnist & Author says, “Marital rape stems from a feudal mindset. Marriage is meant to be an equal partnership, not ownership of the wife by the husband. It confers no license to force himself on his spouse. Sec 375 of the IPC must be overhauled.”
This absence of Law downplays the Rights of Women who are not safe even at their own homes after marriage. Laws of Rape have always been questioned and demanded a change by several women organizations all over India and such movements like #MarriageStrike in response to a request of criminalizing Marital Rape is not something new.
The fact that a law against a crime seems to upset these men this much, it is far more reason as to why this crime needs to be criminalized very soon.
MARITAL RAPE IS STILL A RAPE & IT HAS TO BE CRIMINALISED!!