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Whether Marital Rape Should Be Criminalized Or Not?

Marital rape simply means non-consensual sexual intercourse between a married man and a woman. Marital rape is the crime of rape but committed under the realm of sacred marriage. It is not yet considered a crime under Indian legislation, but is of grave concern for a country like ours due to multiple reasons.

It is a very delicate issue and must be dealt with care and caution. Criminalization or decriminalization of the aforementioned act must be done extensively.

The criminalization of marital rape is important in certain occurrences, but could be perilous in others. The idea of criminalizing marital rape in a country like India stands strong. In a country where marriage is considered a pivotal part of life, there is a certain amount of societal pressure to abide by social roles, under which women are restricted to performing their role as wives even when they are not in the state.

Criminalization would be a ray of hope for such households, where the wife is forced to have sex every night and is expected to perform her duties and social role without being dubious. It would give them legal and firm support to rely on for the punishment of the atrocities they've been through.

Secondly, criminalization would simply give women a way to punish the offender. When a woman is raped outside the realm of marriage, the offender is punished under Section 375 of the IPC, which gives the victim a sense of satisfaction and hope.

This hope and satisfaction must be given to marital rape survivors too, as they've gone through trauma that is worse since the perpetrator is the one they know well and have pledged their lives to.

The criminalization of marital rape could also rebound in multiple ways. Most importantly, in the form of false cases and misuse of the legal process. In 2014, the Delhi Commission for Women submitted a report stating that 53.2% of rape cases registered between April 2013 and July 2014 were false.

This explicitly highlights how delicate this issue can be. India as a society has a mindset against marriages; marriages are of utmost importance in life, and they must be maintained. This leads to women being shattered after divorces are filed from either side, as this could tarnish their social fabric. And in an attempt to save their marriage, they might take the wrong course and use devious means like blackmailing or filing false cases against the husband and his family.

Either way, marital rape curtails basic human rights. This debate is of great importance and shouldn't be left out in the cold.

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