Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

Here’s a judgment I agree with, because it implies that a wife is a partner, not a baby-making machine.

‘In a significant decision, the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week ruled that the right to abort a pregnancy in a marriage rests with the wife and not husband.

A woman is not a machine in which raw material is put and a finished product comes out. She should be mentally prepared to conceive, continue the same and give birth to a child. The unwanted pregnancy would naturally affect the mental health of the pregnant woman…” said the court.

Stressing that marital intimacy between a couple does not automatically translate to the woman’s consent to child bearing, Justice Jitendra Chauhan said, “Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.”’ [Link] Thanks for the link Brown Vagabond.

I wish this judgment and what it conveys was understood by families of women like Sita. (All names changed)

A friend (and a social worker) told me about this woman in her twenties who lives in a village in Haryana.

Sita’s parents had first arranged her marriage into a family where she worked all day and wasn’t given enough food.That marriage did not last. When the parents arranged a second marriage for her, their biggest worry was that she may not conceive because her first husband had raped her violently.

In her new home she works all day, but she is given enough food to eat and her husband is kind to her. (Although my fried noticed that Sita has not even seen the local market, because the family does not believe in their daughters in law stepping out of the house).

Now she is pregnant and her mother in law took her to a city hospital where they said since she is the ‘size of a ten year old girl‘, she must have a caesarean section in the eighth month, although the baby is growing well and there are no other complications. Sita’s mother in law, Kaushalya is excited about raising a second  grand child.

Kaushalya has raised the child of her first daughter in law too. This little boy has little attachment to his mother, who my friend was told, is a bad mother. My friend shopped for gifts for this mother in law saying this would make them treat Sita kindly. She was excited about meeting them but came back disappointed, because Sita is so stressed, she fears she might miscarry.

Sita is worried that she won’t be allowed to take care of her baby, her mother in law believes her ‘age and experience’ make her better qualified for caring for this child. (Sita is expected to cook, clean, wash the family’s clothes etc). Sita’s husband, though kind to her, is an obedient son. Sita is also upset because he will not be with her during or after the baby’s birth. Kaushalya told my friend he is the most devoted of all her sons.

This is not one rare story. Take a look at the pregnant woman in this advertisement. In another case the daughter in law was sent to her parents’ home as a punishment for general incompetence, and the mother in law raised the grandchild. This daughter in law was called back when the family started arranging a marriage for the second son.

I have blogged about another set of grand parents who raised the grand child, because the mother was only good enough to give birth, here ‘Better than mothers?

104 thoughts on “Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

  1. In the context of what you are talking it makes sense, and also end of the day in any circumstances it is the mother who has to go through bearing the child till its birth and even after that. But in the other scenario, let’s say a well meaning husband would have wanted abortion because for whatever reasons circumstances in their lives were perceived differently by Mother & father. In that case, if the mother decides to continue isn’t it important that the husband is on board?

    So, it could be very subjective for the mother’s right to an abortion or vice-versa

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    • I don’t think a husband can ever rightfully insist that his wife should get an abortion All he can rightfully do is to use the best and the most effective contraceptive in order to prevent a pregnancy if he does not want to become a parent. If a contraceptive failure occurs, too bad for the guy. It should be entirely up to the woman to decide whether or not she wants to abort.

      Why? Because abortion is a traumatic event, both physically and emotionally. Since it is woman whose body bears the brunt of this trauma, the decision to abort can be made by the woman alone.

      Of course I understand that it seldom works this way in the real world, as very few women in this part of the world would be willing to jeopardize their marriages by refusing to abort in case their husbands want them to abort.

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      • I totally agree. I also very strong agree on your point that it isn’t easy for the mother to go through the trauma of an abortion. A plain surgery is enough trauma for a human body let alone removing a fetus from the womb!!! No seconds thoughts. Infact, in an ideal world there shouldn’t be such a thing called an “Abortion” at the first place.

        Sadly we are in a “Brave new world”. And that’s why are having this discussion. Given the development science has made (or in old days mother-in-laws feeding their DILs with stuff that would make them miscarry.. again I have only read these stories) it seems like an option. So, yes – either you shouldn’t have conceived at the first place. Or you both take responsibility for the next steps- only one of the two shouldn’t decide.

        For discussion sake, let the husband strongly proposes an abortion and wife isn’t. Does it give him right – not to take care of his wife? And yes, as I said- well intentioned. Not that he mean too, but may his job/ family issues, etc doesn’t let things happen like the way he would have liked it. I wouldn’t like that to happen either. Maybe it a choice of deciding – whether your wife would suffer more by having an abortion or by being neglected in whatever it life throws !

        On a side note: I really wish that no abortion happens- and a new life should be allowed to come up as intended originally ! And husband/wife society all should make sure it survives and brings up a new being.

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    • If husband wants abortion but wife do not want it, no one can force her to abort. A medical procedure cannot be done without consent of the patient.
      As of now husband’s consent was needed for elective abortions. Now this judgement says it is not needed. That is a welcome step.

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      • Exactly. Indian society thinks that a woman’s uterus is community property.

        It is not. It belongs only to the woman.

        Husbands can force women to have children when it suits them; they can insist on abortions when it suits them.

        In reality, women have almost no reproductive rights in Indian society.

        The man’s family appropriates all her labour, reproductive labour included.

        How many Indian families allow the DIL to be the sole decision-maker about pregnancy, abortion and other reproductive decisions?

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    • Are you suggesting husbands should be able to force wives to get an abortion? That would be quite a violation of her body, don’t you think, since getting the fetus out involves forcing your way into her uterus?

      If men do not want to become parents, they can use contraception, get sterilized, or be celibate. Biology happens to give women one extra chance to choose not to become parents – that doesn’t mean men are owed the same chance, especially at the expense of women’s bodily autonomy!

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  2. Its an absolute disgrace that there are still cases like this that occur on a regular basis….. No matter what, the mother should always have the right to raising her child especially when she is the one who has gone through the nine months of pregnancy and eventually child birth…..

    Also this phrase that we use too often – “good son” is highly misunderstood and yet accepted…. A mother is bound to be a little insecure of a daughter-in-law….. Such notions of societal norms only deepen the lines that divide members within a family rather than bring them together….. The paradox of the good son is that when he comes back late he is forgiven but the female cant even step out…. If his wife misbehaves and the son assaults her physically, its alright and even appreciated, sometimes welcomed by a mother who is looking to raise the grand children and let the mother of the kid be the 24 hr maid in the household…..

    On speaking to one such woman years back researching for some work, I had come across a strange paradox which was surprising and equally immature on the part of a mother-in-law…. In the case I am referring to she wanted to raise the grand child as her own son because that is what her mother-in-law did when her son was born….. So when she expressed a desire to do the same the son was absolutely alright with it…… i.e after years of being abused herself at the hands of the family, the son though good to his wife, accepted and welcomed the fact that now her mother was somehow senior enough to raise the grandchild and not the wife/mother of the child herself….. Thus when upbringing forms a cycle of ritualistic notions and traditions society tends to get lost in the insanity of what is happening and rather becomes a slave to the tradition itself without second thought…..

    Also, to point out that no matter how much a family desires a grand child the the final decision and authority must lie with the wife and not with the husband or the family….. The mental and psychological repercussions of forcefully bearing a child can not only be damaging for the mother but is also extremely unfair on the child itself……

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    • //A mother is bound to be a little insecure of a daughter-in-law….. Such notions of societal norms only deepen the lines that divide members within a family rather than bring them together…..//

      Kamaltriloksingh, why does the mother feel insecure of a daughter in law? They are not rivals – one is a parent and the other is a partner. If all parents feel insecure, why is it that we don’t see that many insecure fathers of sons and parents of daughters? Why are daughters in law seen as threats, instead of equal family members?

      //The paradox of the good son is that when he comes back late he is forgiven but the female cant even step out…. //

      I say ‘the good son’ to indicate sons who are not mature and who ‘obey’ their parents even after they are adults and married, instead of using their own judgment. Such sons might expect their spouse to also follow their example and ‘obey’ the husband’s parents.

      //If his wife misbehaves and the son assaults her physically, its alright and even appreciated//

      I would not use the term ‘misbehaves’ here, maybe the wife as an adult and as an equal family member, disagrees with something?

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      • //They are not rivals – one is a parent and the other is a partner.// I really dont know why such notions are so deeply rooted in our day to day lives but I guess they exist at more than one level of understanding……

        Also on a slightly different note I guess there needs to be wider understanding of the meaning of marriage, child birth and families breaking outside the notions and beliefs that they exist in there current forms….. At some stage all of us have to realize that the problems lie more within us than outside…. And no matter how good or loyal a son, the basic sense of right and wrong, of morality should always prevail…..

        Me – kamaltriloksingh also consider, why don’t women face this? Women are encouraged to work to have a happy married life, while men are expected to watch how ‘loyal’ they are as sons – they might find themselves being called, “Joru ka ghulaam’ if they seem to put in any obvious effort to have a happy married life.

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  3. Since we are also talking of who should bring up the kids- here is small different perspective (to get the full impact or understand the message, you will need to read the book – Conversation with God- Book-3 by Neale Donald Walsch).

    Some excerpts are here :
    http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/cwg/cwgbk3excerpts.htm

    Human beings are “children themselves” for 40 or 50 years?

    From a certain perspective, yes. I know this is difficult to hold as your truth, but look around you. Perhaps the behaviors of your race might help prove My point.

    The difficulty is that in your society, you are said to be “all grown up” and ready for the world at 21. Add to this the fact that many of you were raised by mothers and fathers who were not much older than 21 themselves when they began raising you, and you can begin to see the problem.

    If child-bearers were meant to be child-raisers, child bearing would not have been made possible until you were fifty!

    Child bearing was meant to be an activity of the young, whose bodies are well developed and strong. Child raising was meant to be an activity of the elders, whose minds are well developed and strong.

    In your society you have insisted on making child-bearers responsible for child raising–with the result that you’ve made not only the process of parenting very difficult, but distorted many of the energies surrounding the sexual act as well as.

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      • Yes and no. It would depend. But yes, wisdom of the elders shouldn’t be ignored. Aren’t you as a mother or father better parents when you bring up your baby the next time. Infact, the parenting doesn’t start when you bring up the baby, but right from the moment the first seed is sown. Both parents & family provide the right environment, stimulus etc so that the baby growing in the womb is also progressing in the right direction.

        When we were bringing up our first baby (& the only one), it was lot of support to go back to elders (experiences – rather than necessarily the chronic age) and get help. It could be mental, moral, physical, any kind of support. Isn’t it common for most Indian girls to call their mothers/mother-in-laws (ofcourse subject to the equations:) ) home when they are pregnant or immediately after the new born.

        But I also feel that it all comes with the warning (maybe in the Indian case), there are lot of myths around pregnancy and you need to be better educated so that you don’t just listen to all advises from your elders.

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    • Its kind of contradictory right? As a culture we celebrate the bonds between mother and child. On the other hand the mothers are told they’re not mature enough to raise a human being. Why celebrate Mother india when the propaganda is pushing Daadi India (lame i know but couldnt think of a better metaphor).

      //Child bearing was meant to be an activity of the young, whose bodies are well developed and strong. Child raising was meant to be an activity of the elders, whose minds are well developed and strong.//

      Sure, if you lost 60% of your tribe to war and disease annually, then those able would probably concentrate on popping the babies out – survival of species and all that while those not able would look after the numerous children whose moms were constantly pregnant. Makes sense in a strange way. Exactly what bearing this has on the 21st century I dont know. And i dont even pretend to understand the implication of “distorted many of the energies surrounding the sexual act as well as.”

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      • Btw, I just shared a different perspective. My personal view is : If you can’t raise a child yourself don’t bring them in this world. What is the point in making babies and leaving it at your grandmothers (daadi or naani – you seem to be against daadi only :P) if you can’t enjoy the act of bring up a new born. But a lot of parents do that ..and that I have seen even 20 years before not just now when both husband /wife are working.

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    • What a ridiculous distortion of sociology.

      The writer would do well to realize that until recently, the average lifetime of humans was around forty years.

      Doesn’t do much for that theory, does it?

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      • Quite apart from the fact that I do not believe in god, I find the discussion that you’ve linked to completely inaccurate from a sociological perspective.

        Until the advent of modern antibiotics and medicine, most women did not even survive past menopause; they could and often did bear children throughout their lifetimes. Old age itself is a very recent cultural phenomenon, so it’s really very pointless to claim that child-raising was “meant” to be an activity for the old.

        It’s a fallacy to believe that the mind of someone in their twenties cannot be
        well-developed and strong or that they cannot be good parents. It is also breathtakingly fallacious to state that by sheer virtue of age, one becomes ready to take care of children.

        I am nearly forty now. I have no children of my own. If I was told to raise a child today, I’d be as clueless as any twenty one year old, possibly more.

        Parenting has always been a difficult task. I cannot agree that it would become easier if we allowed the older members of our society to have the exclusive responsibility of child-rearing. Nor can I agree that older people can always raise children better.

        Experience is a slice of the pizza, but it is only a slice. It is not everything.

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    • //”Child raising was meant to be an activity of the elders, whose minds are well developed and strong.”//
      Oh wow wow. Really? We have a saying and a pretty old one at that in my language that says, “Like a child brought up by grandparents” in a disparaging way. It implies that children have to be brought up by their parents and grandparents only turn them out to be spoilt brats. I tend to agree with it from what I have seen.

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      • Shail, this is in a different context – more about pampering the kid:). That’s true too.

        Btw, CWG, talks of a whole model of living. So, this small bit is actually raising more questions then it attempts to solve.

        Right now, will just rest my case here- saying – if someone thinks some merit in pursuing a new direction for this world order (society) should consider reading that book. It may not be a panachea

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    • Dont you think this is a bit subjective – some might suggest that raising children by grandparents being involved is beneficial because of their maturity, sense of culture, mental strength, wisdom etc. etc..

      I would say many elders are retired by the time their grandchildren are born and have not so busy lives and hence get inducted (sometimes rather unfairly) into the child raising activities.

      In the Indian context, we also do not have very good social agencies which can actually remove children from parents who are obviously not taking good care of their children.

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  4. Sita’s parents had first arranged her marriage into a family where she worked all day and wasn’t given enough food
    […]
    In her new home she works all day, but she is given enough food to eat and her husband is kind to her.

    Reading those two sentences makes it hard to believe that we are even talking about a human here, let alone a human with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that come with being an adult citizen.

    The more I hear about these things, the more I realize that the legal system offers no redemption at all.

    We can hammer out fundamentally good judgements day in and day out, but nothing changes.

    You still have people like this woman, cowed into submission by a hideously patriarchal society, completely unaware of her own rights, and unable to use them even if she was.

    First off, let’s get rid of the notion that marriage implies automatic consent to sexual intimacy at any time of the husband’s choosing. This notion is enshrined in our laws, but in my humble opinion, it’s pure, unadulterated rubbish. Marriage does not amount to giving up your right to your own body; marital rape is a reality.

    I also believe it is time to do away with joint families. Let women refuse to marry into joint families. Let MILs stop getting any direct power over their children’s marriage. Let men stop expecting women to suddenly give up their own families and become a part of theirs. I am not a woman, but I find it impossible to imagine how a woman could ever feel any degree of freedom in that kind of a set-up. Even with a good MIL, it can’t be too comfortable.

    I wonder if the husband in this case would’ve made such a hue and cry if he knew the child to be female. He would probably have taken her to an abortion clinic himself, I think.

    Wives will never be considered partners until they REALIZE they are and DEMAND to be treated that way. And how does that happen? It happens when parents raise daughters to be confident individuals, when they don’t consider them “paraya dhan”, when they don’t think of children as pension policies.

    That’s how this change will happen. That’s how infanticide will stop. That’s how Sita will get justice.

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  5. Great to read about the judgement..at the end of the day, I think a woman should be given the final say on whether to have the baby or not…afterall its her body which will be carrying the little one for 9 months eh?

    and on grandparents raising children…I think I have pretty strong views on this…while I would love to have the in laws/parents around when we bring up the child/ren, I am not a big fan of letting the children grow up with the grand parents while the parents are in some other distant place….even if I am with my daughter for only 4 waking hours a day, I think it makes a lot of difference…my MIL offered to bring up R in their hometown, but I was very clear that I didnt carry her in my womb for 9 months, to give her away…Definitely grandparents are a very very strong positive influence on children, but to take the place of parents…nope, I wouldnt agree to that.

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  6. This judgement gives me hope, because it reiterates a woman’s right over her own body. No woman should be forced to carry/abort a foetus against her will. If the husband wants a child and his wife does not, he cannot force a pregnancy on to her. The other way round also holds true – if the husband does not want a child and the wife does, he cannot force her to abort; however, this raises the question of paternal responsibility – if the husband does not want the child and wants his wife to abort and she insists on carrying the foetus to full term anyway, is the father still responsible for the child? But that’s another discussion for another day.

    About children being brought up away from their parents, I think its up to each parents individual personality, opinion and parenting style. I see no problems with it as long as it is done voluntarily and not because the mother doesn’t have any other choice, as in the case of Sita.

    My SIL has left her 7 month old with my MIL in India while she lives in the UK, and visits every month. She misses the baby, but she had a 5 year break in her career, and she doesn’t want another break – and her professional circumstances are such that she doesn’t have a regular 9 to 5 job so she can’t put the baby in day care either. And the husband is not a hands-on father at all; he travels a lot and is very involved in his job and is unlikely to help with the baby. I feel bad for the parents because they are missing out on such a fun and interesting part of their child’s life.

    Personally, IF I decide to have/adopt children, I will do so only when my husband and I are in circumstances that allow either/both of us to take adequate time off to take care of the baby and be there for it. We will need and want support from the grandparents, and will be more than happy to accept any help they offer, but I don’t see the point in having/adopting a child if I am not going to be there to bring it up.

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    • Ramya,

      ” if the husband does not want the child and wants his wife to abort and she insists on carrying the foetus to full term anyway, is the father still responsible for the child? But that’s another discussion for another day.”

      The father is definitely responsible for the child. If a man does not want a child it’s his responsibility too to make sure that he does not make a child. It is not just the woman’s responsibility to protect oneself or their partner against unwanted pregnancies.

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      • Desi Woman,

        I agree completely that both the man and the woman are equally responsible for preventing unwanted pregnancies. I never would expect it to be the responsibility of the woman alone.

        But what I am curious about is a situation where the husband does not want a child and takes necessary precautions but the wife wants one and has a child anyway. For example, (and I know this is situation is filmi as hell, but for arguments sake) lets say the couple mutually agrees that the wife will be on the pill but she stops taking the pill without informing the husband. She then gets pregnant and refuses to abort despite the husbands request to do so. Will the father still be responsible for the child?

        Such a scenario is unlikely in real life, I suppose, but it’s simply that paternal responsibility in the case of an unwanted pregnancy is so murky, and I was curious about this aspect.

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  7. Please! Being older does not mean you’re automatically a better parent.
    The grandparents have had a chance to become parents already, now that they’re grandparents, they should just BE that and not try and encroach on parenting too.

    The parents have enough to handle with a new born having changed their lives completely upside down. The grandparents can continue to be good parents to THEIR children by lending a helping hand when necessary, and not by taking over.

    Of course… all this is easy for a person like me to say. But for the poor woman mentioned in the post who has to deal with Kaushalya, especially when she has to deal with a horrible momma’s boy for a husband who will not take her side… things are infinitely more difficult.

    it’s not an easy problem to deal with. And the problem itself is only a part of the bigger problem of how boys and girls are raised in Indian society.

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  8. The court is probably being consistent with the law that leaves the choice of abortion to the woman. If the court had ruled otherwise it would have probably been challenged as it was intruding on personal freedom and rights of an individual.

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  9. Oh don’t even get me started on the Indian familial hierarchy.
    I’m so sick of my in laws trying to give me the ‘choti bahu’ treatment.
    Anyway……..
    So we know Sita is permanently physically (and probably mentally) ‘stunted’ most likely due to malnutrition as per this statement-
    ‘Now she is pregnant and her mother in law took her to a city hospital where they said since she is the ‘size of a ten year old girl‘, she must have a caesarean section’
    Malnutrition is passed on through generations as malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished children.

    And in addition to being a ‘baby machine’ she’s the family maid as per this statement-
    ‘Sita is expected to cook, clean, wash the family’s clothes etc’
    I hope they don’t expect Ms Sita to perform her ‘chores’ just after suffering a C-section.

    I also wonder about the QUALITY of the food she is given to eat & whether she is given adequate rest as per this statement-
    ‘In her new home she works all day, but she is given enough food to eat”
    Prenatal nutrition is as important (if not more so) as post natal nutrition. I haven’t seen a decent prenatal vitamin in India yet.

    And then there is this-
    ‘Sita is so stressed, she fears she might miscarry.’
    How about some ‘maternal education’?
    It is never too late to learn about prenatal health, nutrition, & ‘what to expect when expecting’.
    I’m certain this would alleviate a great deal of Sita’s ‘stress’.

    Once again-
    Malnutrition is passed on through generations as malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished children.

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  10. IHM, I know of MILs who force DILs to bottle feed the child as soon as possible instead of breastfeeding because they want her up and about and working in the kitchen and generally taking care of everything. The child now becomes the MIL’s. The mother just mixes formula and gives the bottle to the MIL.

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    • Shail, I know of DILs (sadly).. right next & in my family – who would stop breast feeding for her own comfort (to wean away from the kid as soon as possible). Infact, I have grown up in joint families so thats the world I have seen. (and it happens now also- right in my house). The practice is to get rid of breast feeding asap so that she could resign the baby to the family and not be bothered about often! She can have a good sleep, go shopping, etc..

      Also, my own SIL has the reverse problem that her MIL (my mom) doesn’t give time to the baby so much so that when she was away to USA (to attend my sister on her new born) there was so much rucus in the house as to how will she take care of the baby when she already has one 3 year old.

      So, it is not that simple as- one way or the other. Depending on grandparents, it would be useful to have them around. Why not?

      Let’s say- we (the current commentators) on this blog- are educated /wise people aren’t they? So, when need arise if they also share the wisdom what’s wrong? The problem is when you have pre-conceived ideas and anything in-laws is bad, then there is a problem.

      (quickly winding- my laptop on low battery)

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      • @Anil, If DILs do that (stop b/feeding) for their own comfort or whatever, it is their ‘personal’ choice. But if the MIL forces her choice on the DIL then it is all wrong.
        And if the baby is resigned to other family members, why are these others not making their position clear? “Your baby, take care of it.” But I have noticed that the older people won’t say that because they want a stake in things. Personally I have made my position clear to my children, “Want baby? Raise them on your own.” Or else, just don’t have them.🙂 Yeah and they do read my blogs, I am not just saying it.🙂

        I don’t have any complaints with grandparents who refuse to give time for grandchildren. It is their time and it is entirely up to them to do with it as they like. No DILs can take it for granted that the MIL will take care of her children. The MIL has the right to refuse outright. In fact there is an old lady I know, she flatly refused to be responsible for her daughter’s children. Though everyone else thinks she is selfish, I support her. It is her life and time, to do as she wishes.
        Even if you have grandparents around, raising of the child should be the parents’ responsibility. Wisdom can be shared, the problem comes when the older people don’t stop at sharing wisdom and want to take over. They held power over children once, and they don’t like to give that up. That is where the problem lies.

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      • I think it all stems from your experience. Period.

        It is all about choices. Knowing fully well that you are going to face the consequences of your choices, do what you think is the best. Yes, personal choice- breast feed or not ( possible consequence- bad health of the baby, etc, but freedom of a different kind) . Personal choice: Do not want MIL to interfere (possible consequence: you are independent fully, but at times or need also you are alone to fend for yourself). Personal choice: MIL wants to be independent (possible consequence: maybe less attachment to the kid, maybe DIL doesn’t take it nicely so you create disharmony in the family, MIL will miss out on feeling good about helping for her grandchildren). Essentially trying to say that end of the day- in any circumstances it is all about choice- and there it is about responsible choice. Be it abortion, parenting, etc . We agree now🙂 ?

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      • Also, my own SIL has the reverse problem that her MIL (my mom) doesn’t give time to the baby so much so that when she was away to USA (to attend my sister on her new born) there was so much rucus in the house as to how will she take care of the baby when she already has one 3 year old.

        Maybe your mother has her own life too?

        I’m sorry if I sound rude, but the assumption that grandparents are, or should be, always ready to act as nannies at short notice is as unfair as expecting a DIL to act as a caretaker for her in-laws for their entire lifetime.

        I don’t think anybody is claiming that sharing wisdom is a bad thing. If they are, I’d certainly disagree with them.

        However, sharing wisdom must not translate into taking decision on their children’s behalf.
        As well, the wisdom is not always so wise. Parents are human too. I know my own parents have given me a lot of good advice, but they’ve also given me advice that wasn’t so great. Maybe it worked for them, but every generation is different, has different challenges, different ambitions, different expectations, different norms. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to life. Even in the same generation, situations vary drastically. What works for me will not work for someone like Sita. What works for you may not work for me.

        Ultimately, it is the individual who must make the choice and ultimately, the individual is the only one who has the RIGHT to make that choice. Advice is welcome. Impositions are not.

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      • @PT
        “I’m sorry if I sound rude, but the assumption that grandparents are, or should be, always ready to act as nannies at short notice is as unfair as expecting a DIL to act as a caretaker for her in-laws for their entire lifetime.”

        My thoughts exactly!

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  11. Hi
    In all the earlier discussions we had on this blog it was emphasized that woman should be given equal rights as of a man whether its household matters, property matters or external matters…etc

    But now in this case the decision is left only with the mother that whether she wants to have abortion or not. Then what is the role father in this case.

    Why the emotional traumas are only associated with woman, even man can go into depression knowing that his wife has aborted the baby without his consent. Father is equally attached to the baby in mother’s womb as mother.

    Father has to totally depend on mother to have a child because he will not be sure about the mothers decision.

    If woman does not want to be dependent on man and want to spend independent life then why this court decision which will make man dependent on woman.

    So this decision power should be given to both the parents by consent.

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    • Who on earth is upvoting you?!

      If a man wants to have a child, he needs to find a woman willing to bear it: either someone who loves him enough to want children with him, or someone who can be paid to carry a baby to term.Nobody has the right to force somebody else to carry their progeny unwillingly. Pregnancy and childbirth are not a joke! They take an enormous toll on a woman’s health, psyche, body, prospects, finances, career, etc.

      Since the mother has 100% of the responsibility for the fetus before birth, she also has 100% of the rights to do as she pleases with the fetus before birth. It is her body, her health, her internal organs, and her life that is at stake. Men can have a “say” in abortion the day they have fetuses in their uteri. Until then, the whole decision belongs to the mother alone.

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      • Nandhini

        Its not man’s fault that they cant give birth to a baby.
        Nature has blessed only woman with this beautiful experience…

        What do you think that only mother bears the pain and bothers about the baby…..
        father is equally concerned about it. Ask one…

        I was discussing the scenarios about a husband and wife in my early comment…. ..
        I am not telling the wife to take permission from husband to decide that whether to keep a baby or not but at least consent of both should be there as both are involved. It should be mutual decision of both….

        If they cant even decide atleast this together then there is no need of living them together….

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    • There is no right to any man (or woman) on any woman’s uterus but the concern here is that uterus contains a baby which does not only belong to mother. That baby belongs to father also and even fathers is equally attached to that baby as the mother is…

      Please note that i am not saying woman should listen to man and do what he says blindly….

      To have a baby or not are important decisions and should be decided by the couple, because it is the couple together has to raise the baby. And I believe that at least the couple should have this much understanding that they can take decisions together.

      If a woman does not want to go through all the pain during the birth of the child and other health issues, then i think couple can adopt a child…..

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  12. I think it is a really welcome judgement. At the end of the day, it should be the woman’s decision. If she wants to abort, the final decision should be on the woman, after all she is the person who takes the most of the impact of that decision. It is wonderful to see judgements like this, because it is an indication that slowly, mindsets are changing.

    As for grandparents bringing up children -it happens so often, far too often, in my opinion! I know somebody who had a baby because her husband’s family was pressurizing her to, and then they left the baby with the grandparents,while the parents live abroad. I can’t help wonder, if the woman had the choice, would she have had the baby at that point in time? Maybe she might have wanted to wait until she was ready for the full responsibility of the child. But if she had been coerced into having a baby, may be she thought that the best option was to leave the baby with her in-laws.

    Ideally, I think every woman must be brought up such that she understands that child bearing is a choice- and her choice at that. And that people should plan a child when they are ready for the responsibility – every aspect of bringing up a child, not just giving birth to it.

    And age or experience does not necessarily make better parenting skills. There are so many factors that contribute to it.

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    • Say due to the wife, a couple waited 3 years. Say the husband is 35 and he wants a child. The wife is 30 and wants to wait for whatever reason other than her health. Don’t you think the husband is well within his rights to ask her to give him a child?
      Will you still rant that it’s the wife’s prerogative?
      I agree with equal balanced rights. A marriage is an equal partnership and the husband’s rights need to be respected.

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      • David, if you want a child, find a woman willing to bear you one. Being married to a woman doesn’t give you the right to use her uterus (or any body part) as YOU please against her will.

        Forced pregnancy and childbirth is much, much worse than rape!

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    • I know of a couple very similar to the one you mentioned about, Smitha. I remember this woman, an acquaintance from my work-days in Muscat, telling me about her two kids who had been living with her parents back in Kerala while she and her husband slogged it out abroad. I have no idea if she was pressurized into having those kids or if she had them willingly, but I could very clearly sense the pain in her tone when she told me about her kids and how she missed having them closeby, etc. I couldnt help wondering if earning money, even if that was to ensure a secure future for their kids, was so important that they were ready to stay away from their little ones and miss out on those precious growing years.
      And IHM, here there are scores of Asian women- single moms- who have come here on meager salaries leaving their kids, some as small as 6 months, in the care of their parents back home. I had even asked some why they didnt opt for abortion to which they had cited religion as the reason. For many, religion is a major factor for opting against abortion. Even educated , highly aware women in our country consider it a ‘sin’ and opt against it willingly. I remember getting into a fierce argument with a christian and educated friend long back about this very issue..not being capable enough to raise a child, health constraints or any repercussion whatsoever were a non-issue to her because her religion didnt allow it. It was disturbing to witness this kind of blind faith! So I think if this judgment is grasped by even those sections of our society we can see a welcome change in the mindsets in the true sense.

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  13. I agree that the final decision to abort a child should remain the women’s only, after all it is her body which is going to go through it. But I feel its a bit unfair to men to have no say in it at all . After all the child belongs to them also. It is by nature’s design that they cannot conceive. That does not mean they have lesser rights on the child than their partner. Does it? Maybe a 60 : 40 balance of decision ???

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    • Rahmath, men don’t have to do much to have children: they just need to have sex. That is an incredibly low “cost” to have your genes propogated. If one woman does not want to have your child, big deal, find another! It’s not so hard. All you lose is a few sperm, and all you have to do is have sex again.

      Women, on the other hand, have to work incredibly had to have children. They have to be pregnant, with all that this implies: morning sickness, weight gain, swollen joints, hemhorroids, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, dizzyness, shortmnness of breath, greatly reduced physical capacities, permanent scars on their bodies, permanent loss of muscle tone, permanent marks on even facial skin… And then there’s the horror of childbirth, a whole day of incredible pain and torture, followed by at least six weeks of recovery time…

      And then there are financial consequences like getting fired from their jobs, finding it impossible to find a new job while pregnant, facing a great deal of discrimination at work, getting “mommy tracked” in their careers reducing even their future earnings, having to take unpaid time off to recover after childbirth, having to take more time off to breastfeed the baby, and suffering even more in your career as a consequence of taking this much time off…

      And then there are social consequences like being less “desirable” because of all the weight gain and loose skin and general deterioration of appearance, of having greatly reduced chances on the marriage market in case they become single again, etc.

      The costs of pregnancy and childbirth are not 60-40, Rahmath, they are more like 100-0. So why should the rights to the fetus be 60-40? They should also be 100-0.

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      • Nandhini:
        All points were great. But. But. Why should that career oriented lady marry a man if she will not (not cannot, I mean will not) give him his child, when he wants a child?
        All reasons you quote are selfish reasons.

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    • Rahmath, Nandini,

      It seems we’re missing the point here.
      The thrust of the argument should not be about the costs of pregnancy at all.

      It so happens that I agree with Nandini in that women bear most of the costs of pregnancy, but even if it was men who bore the major costs, I would have contended that men cannot have a say in the decision.

      Let us not forget that individuals are the SOLE owners of their own bodies.

      The child might belong to the father as well as the mother, but the mother’s body belongs to the mother alone and it is hers to do as she pleases with it.

      A woman cannot be asked to bear children or to NOT bear children as per the whims and fancies of her partner, in-laws or anyone else.

      It may happen that there are legitimate reasons behind such a demand.

      Such justifications are irrelevant.
      It is also irrelevant how fair or unfair this scenario is from an emotional perspective to the protagonists.

      The sanctity of an individual’s person simply cannot be violated on any account, be it fairness, financial prudence or any other reason.
      As long as a woman is mentally competent, she is the only person in the world who is qualified to take that decision and while one is free to try and dissuade her, it is with her that the final power to say yes/no must rest.

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      • As much as I understand from all the discussion on this blog – the point being made for those in favor of women’s right is that it should be under any circumstances her decision how she wants her physical body to be treated. By going through a pregnancy or aborting, etc.. While the consequences could be anything (which would be very subjective and could be positive or negative depending on whose side you are looking from) which she will for that matter obviously have to be prepared for! But no other person(s) should negate her that right. And I think that is extremely fair in that respect.

        Logically lots of issues will arise as to why she got married if she din’t to have a baby or why had sex out of wedlock..etc.. but that present moment still is hers to decide!

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    • @ Nandini and PT
      I thought I was quite clear when i said that the final say should be the lady in question. Is not everyone saying the same thing.

      @ Nandini – I hear what you say. I never thought of it that way. I do not agree with every word you say but more because as a person, I don’t think there is 100-0 in certain things.Most of the things.(rape child abuse etc excluded). But I will think about what you conveyed and if at all i agree I will drop a comment in your blog.

      @ PT – Your logic makes sense. That emotional state of the father in question is irrelevant as the body of the women is hers alone. When i said 60 :40, the decision still is the mother’s, right ? But is life this logical? I am sorry, but all i can think of at this point in this particular discussion of ours (these 4-5 comments ie),is that ,if i were a man , I would be heartbroken if my wife said, “ok, your job is easy so you don’t have the right to say anything about whether the baby should be born or not as I am the one who has to suffer”.

      Signing off.

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  14. Question is, will the MIL be equally interested to the raise the kid if it happens to be a ‘girl’?

    To me, this seems like just an other way to keep the DILs in control emotionally, denying more of her rights as a woman & a human being.

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  15. The story of Sita is wrong on so many levels!
    In her case, it does seem sita is treated just like a baby making machine and not an equal partner in the marriage. She is considered old enough to give birth to another human being but not old enough to take care of the baby??! Assuming having this baby was her decision, then she obviously made this decision keeping in mind that she will have to take care of the baby when it comes. Then why this assumption that the MIL will be a better care taker for the baby?
    And I can imaging what caretaking the MIL will: If it is a boy child, raise him to be like her son, who is “kind”and gives his wife enough food (!) and if it is a girl, raise her to believe that one day she is to be married, and keep reminding her of that (that is, if at all the MIL takes care of a girl child).
    I do not see why elderly person is more capable? Just being old, does not make you wise. Just having experience is not enough. Experience rarely teaches one to change with time and adapt to newer and better methods.
    Making a baby should be the sole responsibility of both the mom and dad. The elders may chip in if they want, but they surely have no say whatsoever in the final decisions the parents make. At the most, they can advice, if they feel something is wrong. And I do not understand why the elderly want to spend the later years of their lives doing the work that the parents are supposed to do?!! My mother has told me point blank that I am not to expect any more work from her. When I have a baby, I and the husband are to be the sole caregivers. And I TOTALLY respect and agree to what she says! I mean whole life parents spend worrying for their kids, saving for them, And now if they are expected to do the same for their grandkids, when do they get to rest and do what they feel like?! Plus, it is important for the husband and wife to figure their way out of caring for the new born. To figure out how they work together when things change and are out of the routine.

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  16. Reminds me of a news story I had read a few years ago. The husband in a DINK, choice marriage Indian couple wanted the baby his wife had conceived but the wife wanted to abort. He slapped a case of ‘right to fatherhood’ on her. I wonder what happened of that.

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  17. Voluntary motherhood is definitely one of the keys to autonomy and equality. Women should have as much choice over their reproductive system as possible. Unwanted pregnancy presents an excessive strain on the woman’s or her family’s physical, emotional or economic resources. All women (as well as men) should have the right to be free to choose and to use a method of protection against unplanned pregnancy which is safe and acceptable to them. We need to recognize the right of a woman to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.

    All couples and individuals should have the right to choose whether they wish to have children or not and If they choose to have children, they should have the right to decide freely and responsibly, (without any outside interference) the number, spacing and timing of their children. The decision to have children in a marriage or a co- habitation scenario should be made consensually, however at the end of the day, it is and should remain a woman’s prerogative to have the final say in whether she wants to give birth or not. This right of hers should be highly valued especially in cases of unplanned pregnancies.

    By the way, here’s a link to a great article I read on F-bomb pertaining to women’s right to choose(reproductive right)- http://thefbomb.org/2010/11/the-beauty-of-choice/

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  18. Ok, it has been found that the wife is bearing an adulterous child.
    And she does not want to abort. Do you expect her husband to support the child?
    I know divorce will be your easy answer.

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    • I know divorce will be your easy answer.

      What answer are you looking for?

      Divorce is the legal remedy available for such situations. If the said man doesn’t want a divorce, he loses the right to squeal about having to support the child.

      Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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      • So it’s ok to do adultery if you are a woman. isn’t it?
        The wife can do anything she pleases, according to you. The husband cannot sue. He has to divorce.
        Empowering is one thing, and giving all powers to one and none to the other is quite different.

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    • “So it’s ok to do adultery if you are a woman. Isn’t it?”
      Well in case of India, more men than women have been adulterous and while the women have always been ostracized for adultery, most adulterous men have been treated leniently. Society somehow finds a way to justify the man’s action. So In case of India the statement “it’s ok to be adulterous, if you are a man” holds more true than the one you have put forth.

      Nevertheless, different relationships have different dynamics, and if physical cheating is considered to be the deal breaker by the couple or individuals involved, it’s never okay to be adulterous whether you are a man or a woman. The woman in this hypothetical case cheated, broke the trust of her spouse and even refused to abort the (other man’s) child she’s carrying (she’s well within her rights to do so. She can’t be coerced into aborting a child, if she wishes to carry it). It’s difficult for me to see why the spouse of the woman would not want to separate from someone who’s hurt him and caused him so much pain.

      “Do you expect her husband to support the child?”
      Well it shouldn’t be expected of him to support the child (just like a woman shouldn’t be expected to take care of his husband’s children from an adulterous relationship) if he doesn’t want to, but legally speaking, if he wants to escape the responsibility of child support and maintenance, his best recourse would be to divorce the mother before the baby is born because If any child is born into a legal marriage, the husband is considered to be the legal father regardless of biological paternity. Probably a DNA test conducted in time can save this man from paying for this child and holding the biological parent responsible for the child support and maintenance. But if this guy wants to stay in the marriage and still doesn’t want to take care of the child, I am not sure if this is possible.

      Regarding suing his wife for adultery, he can’t. In India the offence of adultery is punishable under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. As it stands, this Section makes only men having sexual intercourse with the wives of other men without the consent of their husbands punishable and women cannot be punished even as abettors. Section 497 penalizes sexual intercourse of a man with a married woman without the consent of her husband when such sexual intercourse does not amount to rape. That is, it draws a distinction between consent given by a married woman without her husband’s consent and a consent given by an unmarried woman. It does not penalize the sexual intercourse of a married man with an unmarried woman or a widow or even a married woman when her husband consents to it. In case the offence of adultery is committed, the husband cannot prosecute his unfaithful wife but can only prosecute her adulterer. However, since the offence of adultery can be committed by a man with a married woman only, the wife of the man having sexual intercourse with other unmarried women cannot prosecute either her husband or his adulteress. What is interesting here is that the section itself expressly states that the unfaithful wife cannot be punished even as an abettor to the crime. The offence of adultery therefore is an offence committed against the husband of the wife.
      This law not only burdens the man alone for the offence but also implies that women are merely property of their spouses, not humans with autonomy and volition.
      The Report of the Malimath Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms and the 42nd Report of the Law Commission of India recommended redefining Section 497 to make women also punishable for adultery.

      However, in my view Punishment to the person committing adultery is not and cannot be a remedy for a person aggrieved of adultery. The object of prosecution for adultery is more often to reach a settlement with the offender at the mercenary level and seldom to send the offender to jail. So instead of expanding the scope of the law, the government should treat adultery as breach of trust between two people, and thus as a civil case instead of a criminal one. Once it becomes a civil case, the spouse can sue or bring a civil action against his wife.

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      • Did you really believe that in India, there are more adulterous men than women? Do you realize that the act involves a man and a woman? This fails all logic. I think women are not caught or accused of adultery because Indians are too wimpy to admit that their wives can have attraction towards other men.

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      • @B- Adultery is sexual infidelity to one’s spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It’s not necessary for a man to indulge in adulterous relationship with a married woman only; he can engage in extra-marital sex with prostitutes or unmarried women. The unmarried woman or the prostitute involved isn’t being unfaithful to anybody. So in such cases only the man is committing adultery.

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  19. Mere consent to conjugal rights? Excuse me, that’s a husband right, and when a woman marries, she gives him the right to have sex with her. Just as he does. She doesn’t “GIVE” her husband right/permission to sleep with her. She can tell if she is not ok now, so later etc… but it’s his right too……

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    • Recognition of conjugal right to have sex with spouse is not disputed. The controversy arises in deciding the extent of this right. Conjugal right to have sex is not exclusive. Rather it is dependent upon mutual consent. Marriage itself doesn’t amount to irrevocable consent to sexual intercourse. Neither the husband nor the wife looses his/her human rights because of marriage.
      Where there is a right there is a remedy. Therefore if we recognize such conjugal right there must be some remedy. Such remedy is dissolution of marriage under the law. If either party denies sexual intimacy without any reason, the other party may file a suit for divorce or seek legal recourse. Law does not recognize any right of husband (or the wife) which empowers them to have sex by force. If your legal right is violated then you have every right to take legal recourse but you have no right to take law in your own hand. Thus, this right does not constitute a license for husbands to rape their wives (or for wives to do the same). Law permits us to use reasonable force only to protect our property and person but in no other cases.

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      • The question is, Nikhil, how do you believe the wife’s words when she says her husband raped her? If it was some one other than her husband, the forensic tests will confirm the rape.
        In case of the husband allegedly “raping” his wife, of course the tests will tell he did have intercourse.
        But, how do you prove it was against the wife’s wishes? Do you take her word as such? Or does the law want CCTVs in our bed rooms?
        If her word is to be taken on face value, I can see many urban (and rural) wives threatening to give a ‘marital rape’ complaint when he does not dance to his tunes. The problem is how do you prove it????????? Don’t you think the party sued is at a grave disadvantage?

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      • The word of the wife will be taken to be true on face value unless proven otherwise.
        The law supposes that a wife would always want to save her marriage and hence will not file a false complaint on her husband, who she loves.
        So, there is no need for a man to be scared. Unless of course, he is the type who would force his wife to do something she does not want to.

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      • “If her word is to be taken on face value, I can see many urban (and rural) wives threatening to give a ‘marital rape’ complaint when he does not dance to his tunes.”
        It is a widespread habit to distrust the word of sexually abused women. People claim that rape allegations are false far more frequently than they are and far more frequently than for other crimes. The idea is that women are in a more powerful position, in which they can destroy a man’s reputation and life in a moment’s notice, when in fact accusing someone of rape is not equal to taking an afternoon stroll. Victims have to endure humiliating medical tests, repeated interrogations that are often traumatizing, detailed investigations into their most intimate private lives. In the process, women are often subjected to the judgment, scrutiny, labeling, blaming, shaming and misgivings of doctors, police officers and judges. Besides all this, women are often dissuaded by their families and friends into not pressing charges.
        When you look at all of the pain and agony someone goes through to press charges, there is simply no benefit to reporting a rape that did not happen. Rape is a very difficult, traumatic experience to overcome with emotional scares that last for years.
        One can find isolated cases of a woman lying about being raped, but this is not the norm. And such cases should not be confused with rapes that are not prosecuted; a lack of evidence for the attorney to proceed is not the same as a lack of truth. A sexual-assault report can be determined to be false only when the evidence establishes no crime was committed. Also false rape cases are rarely prosecuted successfully. Rape is in reality the most underreported crime of all.
        Indeed, contrary to the notion that men are at risk of being falsely accused, it is much more common for actual rapists to get away with their actions.

        How do you believe the wife’s words when she says her husband raped her? Just the way you believe a woman’s word when she presses charge against a stranger who has raped her. Until proven, a woman’s word remains allegations or assertions. In case of marital rape, if the woman chooses to press charge against her husband, she’s required by law to go through the same grueling procedure of medical tests, repeated interrogations and, detailed investigations into her most intimate private life that any woman would be required to go through in normal rape cases. In fact there are unique difficulties of evidentiary proof in prosecuting marital rape.This is because in marriage, sexual relations are to be expected, and if the defense claims consent, then the evidential burden is a very difficult burden for the prosecution to discharge.

        I understand you apprehension but we cannot deny the fact that while rape by a stranger is highly traumatic, it is typically a one-time event. In the case of rape by a spouse or long term sexual partner, the history of the relationship affects the victim’s reactions. Marital rape is likely to be part of an abusive relationship. Trauma from the rape adds to the effect of other abusive acts or abusive and demeaning talk. Furthermore, marital rape is rarely a one-time event, but a repeated if not frequent occurrence. Considering this, shouldn’t we recognize marital rape as a crime and provide the victims with protection and a legal recourse, instead of fearing frivolous lawsuits?

        In a country like India where we regularly place the burden of crime (rape) on the shoulders of victim; I am sure In case of marital rape as well, people will find a way to justify the husband’s actions and persecute the victim. This phenomenon of Victim blaming and slut shaming coupled with the familial and societal pressure to hush up the matter will prevent women from reporting marital rape.
        FYI in case of rape, marital exemption to the husband ‘still exists’.

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  20. And say a wife does not want kids at all, and says that after marriage to a husband who loves her. Do you think she is right? I know you will immediately tell the man can divorce and all that. But he loves her, and he wants a child. He has the right to have a child from his wedded wife. Same for intercourse. If the wife’s sex drive is low, or none, for the sake of argument, do you expect the husband who loves her to remain celibate?
    Remember if he resorts to another women the wife will sue him for adultery as Indian law gives her the right to do so.
    Don’t you think this amounts to cruelty?

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    • No, the wife is definitely not in the right if she tells her husband AFTER marriage that she would not like to have kids at all. The husband in this case can probably seek divorce on grounds of breach of trust/concealment of facts. Divorce is the only legal option in case of irreconcilable differences such as when the husband wants kids and the wife does not. The wife certainly cannot be forced to bear the husband’s child against her wishes, just because the husband ‘loves’ her–that would amount to abuse of the worst kind.

      //If the wife’s sex drive is low, or none, for the sake of argument, do you expect the husband who loves her to remain celibate?//

      You keep saying that the husband loves the wife–you say nothing about whether the wife loves the husband–it would appear that she does not, if she never wants to have sex with him.

      I wouldn’t expect the man to remain celibate–I would expect him to divorce his wife and find(and marry) another woman who is willing to have sex with him often enough and would also like to have kids with him eventually

      Or maybe just divorce his wife, so that at least he does not run the risk of being sued for adultery if he ‘resorts to other women’. How many women sue their husbands for adultery in India, by the way?

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      • So always, the husband has to change…. never the wife….. even if she was wrong, she is allowed to stand in her wrong stance whilst the husband has to change mind, divorce and pay alimony.???

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      • Would you expect in that case, the husband to pay alimony?
        I tell you, not a pie……. she does unreasonable things, she gets her ass kicked out of the marriage with not a paisa…..

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      • Oh well, I see no point in arguing any further. You are entitled to your views but know that they will not bear scrutiny in any court of law.

        Also know that being divorced and not receiving a penny as alimony is, in my view, way better than being forced to bear children or being forced to have sex against your will.

        I rest my case.

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    • Arun Prakash,
      Marriage do not mean a partner has rights over his or her spouse’s body. Sex without consent is still a rape and since the wife have to carry the pregnancy it is her decision to carry on or not.
      If there objections marriage can be dissolved. Loving some one means respecting her independence and not imposing ur wishes.
      Court can always decide on alimony in a case to case basis.

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    • “If the wife’s sex drive is low, or none, for the sake of argument, do you expect the husband who loves her to remain celibate?
      Remember if he resorts to another woman the wife will sue him for adultery as Indian law gives her the right to do so.”
      Well our libidos fluctuate throughout our lives. Assuming that you and your partner’s sex drives are going to be in synch at all times is wrong. Sexual interest is affected by many factors like Stress, tiredness and unresolved problems, hormonal changes, medications etc.
      In your hypothetical situation if a man truly loves his wife he’d know that just because he married her, it doesn’t mean that his wife has given him irrevocable consent to sexual intercourse and he can pressure her into having sex out of guilt or duty. If a person really cares about his partner, he’d communicate with her instead of resorting to behavior that borders on rape or going out to get it off with other women. He’d be open to the discussion as to what importance sex has in a relationship for both of them, what both of them resent and what issues or things might be causing this drastic mismatch in libidos. He would go for counseling or sex therapy or probably consider an open relationship (if the wife consents to it).
      He’d know very well that a loving relationship is one where things are discussed and mutually agreed upon, where both people feel comfortable and confident in voicing their needs, where there’s no place for violence.
      In case, it turns out that one partner legitimately doesn’t desire the other one or is asexual or if sexual incompatibility really becomes a major issue that cannot be resolved, he’d know it is better to get separated than hurt his partner as well as himself.
      By the way there are some marriages that are based on companionship and respect, not passion and sex, and work quite well.
      Remember you have a right to sex, in general. You do not have a right to sex from a specific person, if that person doesn’t want or consent to it. Human rights don’t cease to exist once you get married. Also it’s a ridiculous stereotype that says men want sex more often than women. It’s equally possible that the woman in the relationship has a higher sex drive. If the table will be turned wouldn’t the guy wish to prosecute his wife for adultery, if she chooses to have sex with other men without her husband’s consent or would you ask her to remain celibate?
      FYI Section 497 of IPC does not confer any right on the wife to prosecute the husband who has committed adultery with another woman.
      All a man or a woman can do in such a case is to seek divorce on grounds of adultery, if it’s committed.

      “He has the right to have a child from his wedded wife.”
      For this I’d go with scribblehappy’s answer. It would hold true even if it had been a man who had said no.
      Another solution that the man can possibly try before breaking off, is trying to negotiate with the wife if she’d be fine with surrogacy or adoption. I mean it could be that the woman doesn’t want to bear a child but sees no problems with adoption or surrogacy.

      Regarding alimony, If the woman can sustain herself, already has an adequate income, the courts refuse to get the husbands to pay the divorced woman alimony.

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  21. @IHM: Let me tell you, you never publish comments that have tough questions that go valid agsinst feminism. That’s hypocrisy. I kow you will not publish this too. But at least, you get to see my message – that I can see through your blatant lies and tall claims, and that you live in your land of imaginary woes!

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  22. “The unmarried woman or the prostitute involved isn’t being unfaithful to anybody. So in such cases only the man is committing adultery.”

    Sorry, that may be true for the prostitute that she is not unfaithful to anyone, but the unmarried girl is being unfaithful to the one she would marry tomorrow.

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    • How can some one be unfaithful to a future spouse? This patriarchal logic sounds funny in current times
      Faithfulness is an agreement entered into when u r marrying not before

      Like

      • That may be ok for immoral men marrying immoral women. Chaste ones think differently. If people like you can think you have the right to proclaim, we have at least as much right to insist virginity.

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        • Arun Prakash,
          Concepts like chastity of women till marriage is part of the disappearing patriarchal culture. You can express your opinion in favour of it but it will be thrown in to the dustbin of history

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    • What do you think of an an umarried guy having sex with a prostitute? Isn’t he being unfaithful to his future wife? Nevermind what you think, it can’t be legally contested.
      By the way I am against double standards and such patriarchial notions. So let’s just agree to disagree and not have any further discussions.

      Like

  23. Arun Prakash, you should thank your lucky stars that you live in a culture that has arranged marriage, because I can’t see how you would attract a spouse otherwise. What sort of man would want to force a woman he supposedly loves to have sex or bear a child?

    Anyway, Arun Prakash, your hypothetic scenarios wouldn’t arise if prospective marital partners could have honest, frank discussions about their goals, values, likes and dislikes, etc., before they tie the knot, something our current arranged marriage system often doesn’t allow. Also, sexual mismatches in marriage could be avoided if parents stopped pressuring their children into accepting spouses that they’re not sexually attracted to.

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