Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

Why is ‘forcible sex’ or ‘lack of consent’ not rape? What purpose does protecting any rapist (married to the rape victim or not) serve?

Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

“Defence counsel rightly argued that IPC does not recognise any such concept of martial rape. If complainant was a legally-wedded wife of accused, the sexual intercourse with her by accused would not constitute offence of rape even if it was by force or against her wishes,” the court said.

…rest of the alleged offences, including those of causing hurt, criminal intimidation and theft, for which the accused was charge-sheeted, were triable by a magistrate.

And then what does this news report mean?

Priest gets jail for forced sex with wife

AMBALA: A local court on Friday sentenced a temple priest to one-year imprisonment for having forced sex with his wife.

The police had registered a case under sections 376 A (forced intercourse with wife), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC against the priest on May 11, 2011, at the Ambala Cantt police station on the complaint of Gurdev Kaur.

In her complaint to the police, 36-year-old Kaur had alleged that her husband Shivpuri, 44, not only had forced sex with her but also threatened to kill her.

Police had registered a case after conducting an inquiry and on the basis of the medical report of the woman, which had confirmed “forced sexual intercourse”.

Around 14 persons, including the doctor, who had examined Kaur, were presented before the court as witnesses during the trial.

Kaur’s advocate Khushi Ram said that in cases of forced intercourse with wife, maximum punishment a court can order is of two years.

“The court sentenced Shivpuri to one year prison as no cruelty or violence was reported by the victim,” added Khushi Ram.

It also seems that hurting, being cruel or threatening to kill a spouse are seen as legal offences, but raping them is not. So it’s possible that rape is not seen as a cruel or hurtful act.

79 thoughts on “Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

  1. I think some people think sex is always pleasurable, even when forced!! As long as nobody is killed why bother?!
    Only rape of a virgin is important.. that too, only because it’s a man’s property and nothing else..

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    • I think another reason rape is perceived to be more ‘serious’ when committed against virgins is because they’re seen as having something to lose, i.e. their virginity. Women who aren’t virgins aren’t seen as having anything to lose (along with being more likely to consent to sex).

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      • they’re seen as having something to lose, i.e. their virginity.

        …not to mention the ‘honor’ of their community/family/clan/caste/religion/country/whatever.

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  2. I came across the first case on FB and knew you would write about it IHM. It’s disgusting that there is still spousal immunity for rape. The mere fact of marriage giving a man the unquestioned right to have sex with his wife regardless of whether she consents or not – just makes me sick. Admittedly, it was only like 29 years ago that this changed here, where I am, but I can’t believe India remains in the dark ages when it comes to spousal immunity. I can see why so many men would want to get married.😦

    Though (in terms of the second case), I looked up s. 376(A), and they would have had to be separated for the charge to stick. Otherwise, with s. 375, he would have fallen under the marriage exception and not been charged or convicted.

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    • Rape is an extremely traumatic experience for anyone.

      How much more traumatic is it, when committed by your own spouse with full social and legal support, day in and day out.

      United Nations estimates suggests that close to two-thirds of all married women in India have been emotionally or physically abused into having non consensual sex with their husbands. Give the amount of under-reporting, this is probably a conservative estimate.

      This is something that is happening right now, right around us, perhaps to people we know and cherish. And thanks to archaic legal principles and an uninterested legislative process, there is nothing we can do about it, as these people undergo crimes against their dignity, crimes that are humiliating and debilitating, crimes that our country doesn’t even recognize as crimes.

      What can be more shameful than this, for a country which purports to be an emerging superpower?

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      • We Indians have a warped sense of justice, culture and morality. Such verdicts shock us because us liberal Indians tend to forget just how deep-rooted bigotry and prejudice is in Indian society.

        Social justice and equity are alien concepts to most people in the judiciary who after all, come from the same society that dowry-seekers, rapists and pedophiles come from.

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        • Well, it’s actually more of a legislative than a judicial issue.

          But as much as I am tempted to defend the legal fraternity, I do agree that there is a lot of rot there too.

          Judiciary, Legislature and Executive are equally complicit in this.

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      • Having been emotionally abused into having sex is a slippery thing. It has a very little chance to be defined objectively. I so hope people stop diluting clear cut principles by including “emotional aspects.” That part should be taken care of via emotional empowerment.

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        • B,

          Having been emotionally abused into having sex is a slippery thing. It has a very little chance to be defined objectively

          Well, there are certain compromises we can come up with.

          Coercion of any form (physical or emotional) is hard to define concretely. In the case of physical abuse, it may (or again, may not) be easy to prove that the abuse itself occurred, but proving that this was the reason for the victim granting temporary consent is always a daunting task, because it involves human factors. We may know that A hit B, and also that A had sexual intercourse with B, but those facts alone do not prove that A was guilty of coercing B to have sex with him.

          Remember, emotional aspects are already incorporated into general laws against rape, as well as the ‘substitutes’ that the police routinely uses in such cases, such as IPC Section 506 (Criminal Intimidation) and Section 498A (Cruelty to spouse). If consent is obtained under emotional duress, perhaps by way of threats or blackmail, it is no consent. Despite all the raving and ranting about section 498A, there is very little evidence to suggest that it is misused any more than many other parts of the penal code. It’s still hard to get convictions, but at least the framework for criminalizing mental cruelty does exist.

          SlightlyChauvinisticIyer,

          Less traumatic. I would assume the most significant part of the trauma (in Tamil Nadu as I understand it) is mental trauma arising from social conditioning and fear of social consequences. Social support eliminates that part of the trauma.

          A lot of people who work with abused partners would disagree.

          A large part of the trauma is very often the act itself. Being violated in that manner against your will is enough, in and of itself, to cause immense mental anguish.

          Although it’s hard to compare degrees of trauma, marital rape can provoke similar stress responses as rape outside of marriage.

          Also, let’s not forget that marital rape is not usually a one-time thing. If it happens once, it usually happens again and again, often for years together, and that same social conditioning, as well as our legal codes, ensure that the victim can do nothing about it, can’t even talk to other people about it.

          My problem is that punishment for rape already tries to penalize the perpetrator for what is a social problem

          It doesn’t. At least, not from a legal viewpoint.

          Rape is typically treated similarly to grievous assault in a court of law. Except in exceptional cases (for example, if the social sanction drove the victim to suicide), courts rarely take direct cognizance of the social aspects of rape.

          The punishment is for violating a person’s human dignity, and for causing mental trauma by means of the act itself. Holding someone criminally liable for subsequent social consequences is possible in theory, but is not usually done in practice. It is an exception, not the norm.

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        • Praveen,

          My point was not that it is hard to prove emotionally induced rape but that it is hard to define. The two are totally different things. One can have a perfectly well defined crime (like rape by force) but still hard to prove. I am talking about the definition, what constitutes the crime in the first place, that would be highly ambiguous in this case.
          Also, blackmail and emotional blackmail , as we commonly understand them, are two quite different things.

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      • I would assume marital rape would be one of the worst betrayals women face – I mean, you trust this man with your life, your heart, your children, and he throws it all back in your face to satisfy his primal urges. And, like you said, the law supports his behaviour. But I guess that’s a problem law seems to have overall, with all claims having to fit narrow legal definitions, which might not always account for the kinds of wrongs people commit. And the fact that its mostly older males enacting, implementing, and enforcing the laws just worsens the situation – a law that is based on male perspectives can never *really* understand or appreciate the consequences of such crimes on women. After all, how can you ever understand what is never (or at least very rarely) going to happen to you?

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      • // How much more traumatic is it, when committed by your own spouse with full social and legal support, day in and day out. //

        Less traumatic. I would assume the most significant part of the trauma (in Tamil Nadu as I understand it) is mental trauma arising from social conditioning and fear of social consequences. Social support eliminates that part of the trauma.

        // What can be more shameful than this, for a country which purports to be an emerging superpower? //

        Don’t mistake my stance. I am thoroughly against marital rape (or, for that matter, any sexual activity without mutual consent) but I sincerely wish the law handles marital rape differently from other kinds of rape when it does handle it. As the law stands, I feel marital rape can be somehow shoe horned into assault
        or battery (unclear on IPC here, not a lawyer).

        My problem is that punishment for rape already tries to penalize the perpetrator for what is a social problem. The rapist causes some harm. The society causes additional harm to the victim through past indoctrination and subsequent stance. The rapist is held responsible for all of it, including societies contributions to the victim’s misery (perhaps, partly because he is expected to be aware of this harm too). Since the social angle is eliminated in marital rape, at least the law should handle punishment differently.

        The social angle (as portrayed in our movies) is the reason for repeated calls in parliament to allow rapists to be awarded the death penalty which, thankfully, the law committees realize is extreme. I feel that the current provisions are already harsh (but justifiable in other ways). Even grievous hurt (325) attracts the same punishment and this is when the victim has suffered irreversible loss like that of eyesight or limb. The only reason to hold rape on par with that is so as to act as a deterrent, given that their is more incentive to rape than to cause grievous hurt.

        I am also worried about establishing lack of consent in marital rape cases. Not being married to an alleged rapist is strong support to the argument that no consent was established. I am hoping that other countries that have clauses that handle marital rape have evolved and established standards.

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        • Really? Trauma from rape is only because of social conditioning? So if your society was OK with sex, then you would feel no trauma when you are raped? I am speechless.

          If what you said were true, western societies should have no rape trauma at all. And yet there are thousands of victims that need a lot of help and counselling before they can get back on their feet.

          Marital rape can be even more heartbreaking because the victim cannot distance themselves from the rapist. Marital rape happens over course of many years unlike a stranger raping someone which mostly is a one time occurance for the victim. But oh…you know what, the neighbors say it is OK for them to have sex, so ofcourse the rapist must get lesser punishment in this case.

          Marital rape is no different from any other rape just as getting murdered by a family member is no different from getting murdered by a stranger.

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        • Your entire view is based on the idea that rape is serious only as a crime against the owner of the woman’s sexuality (hence the social angle), not the woman who is actually raped. In a marriage, her husband is the owner of her sexuality (as per Indian norms) and hence, as you say, this is not as serious.

          I am disappointed that while you berate the society for adding to a rape victim’s trauma, you yourself have entirely missed the point that rape is serious because it violates a woman, not because it violates society’s requirements from the woman.

          You have entirely trivialised the reason that I as a woman consider rape a serious crime.

          I had a pre-marital ‘affair’, I lived with my partner (even in India!), I work, I don’t wear signs of marriage. So really, I don’t care about society’s views. And yet, I think rape is very serious. It is a violation and humiliation of my ownership of my own body. It is oppression by ignoring my will and using my body. It is disguising.

          Marital rape, just like incestous rape, IS WORSE because not just my body and my ownership, but my trust and support system is violated. As Pravin said, in an abusive marriage, the victim cannot get away from the rapist and will have to suffer this day in and day out. She is entirely vulnerable to repeated abuse. It is SO MUCH WORSE.

          I disagree with your statement that a rapist is punished for a crime in which he only causes some of the harm. Social attitudes are the last think I would bother about if it happened to me.. in countries like the UK, there is no social ostracism of rape victims now.. and yet the victims feel violated, traumatised and abused. It can affect a victims life for years. I absolutely hold the rapist responsible for the ‘harm’!

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        • @Clulesschick,
          // Really? Trauma from rape is only because of social conditioning? //

          and @Carvaka,
          // Your entire view is based on the idea that rape is serious only as a crime against the owner of the woman’s sexuality //

          May I claim that my comment clearly espouses a stance that is nowhere near as polar as either of you have interpreted it? I do agree that my sentence construction is often poor and flooded with “their/there” typos etc, but didn’t realize that it was this easily misunderstood.

          Let me repeat, I fully agree that marital rape is to be punished – but I am not in agreement that it is identical to rape as in other cases and to be dealt with as such.

          Also, @cluelesschick,
          // Marital rape is no different from any other rape just as getting murdered by a family member … //

          Of course, law is more nuanced than that when it needs to be. We are trying to debate if it needs to be so here. For instance, there are half dozen types of kidnapping in IPC (kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping to coerce someone into marriage etc) and the current scholarly opinion is in support of such nuanced handling.

          Finally, @Praveen (PT)
          // A lot of people who work with abused partners would disagree.

          A large part of the trauma is very often the act itself. Being violated in that manner against your will is enough, in and of itself, to cause immense mental anguish. //

          I stand corrected. I will accept well researched data over my own opinion, of course, especially from people who work in rehabilitation – but only from societies where rape is not stigmatized.

          I still feel that the law implicitly punishes rapists for society’s attitudes. Specifically, the following two observations when viewed together lead me to that conclusion:

          a) I agree we cannot cleanly compare one kind of trauma with another but clearly, grievous hurt (such as loss of limbs) causes lifelong suffering. Rape victims can and have been rehabilitated to lead normal lives because, often, mental trauma heals, especially with passage of time. But punishments tend to be similar – why would that be?

          b) Under reporting of rape (non-marital) in India is a clear indicator that social consequences are a huge problem apart from the anguish suffered from the act itself. Even in the United States, rape victim’s identities are protected and some states have laws to punish media houses that accidentally expose their identities in recognition of society’s poor record with respect to treating rape victims.

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        • “Rape victims can and have been rehabilitated to lead normal lives because, often, mental trauma heals, especially with passage of time”

          —- I disagree. We see patients whose entire lives have Come to a standstill due to mental trauma f Rape and other such crimes.
          I can argue ad say the converse is also true— lose a leg, get a prosthetic and move on at least partially. But lose your mind and you are done.

          Rape in my opinion is a heinous crime on par with the others and marital rape is worse. It’s worse than a crime committed by a no name stranger. It is a targeted crime.

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    • @slightlychauvanistic

      “I fully agree that marital rape is to be punished – but I am not in agreement that it is identical to rape as in other cases and to be dealt with as such.”

      You are not just saying that marital rape is ‘not identical’ to non-marital rape, you are saying it is less serious/ harmful. I did not misunderstand your stance. I just explained to you why this view is clearly not looking at rape from a woman’s perspective and what is being done to her. Otherwise I don’t see how you could possibly think being raped by your husband is better than being raped by a stranger.

      To me, you are distorting the trauma caused by rape by assigning so much of a part to social perceptions factor and trivialising the seriousness of rape in iteself. As a married woman who doesn’t give a toss about Indian society and lives in a country which does not stigmatise rape, I thoroughly disagree with this.

      “Rape victims can and have been rehabilitated to lead normal lives ”

      Do you have statistics about how many rape victims are fully rehabilitated? Also, people who lost limbs can and have been rehabilitated as well. Fake limbs, physiotherapy and modern medicine generally has got a lot better. Not to mention you could lose a limb by accident but rape is always intentional and predatory. Please stop trivialising rape unless you have been through it yourself or know women who have and know first hand that it isn’t that big of a deal.

      “Under reporting of rape (non-marital) in India is a clear indicator that social consequences are a huge problem ”

      Under reporting is not just because women are scared of the stigma, a lot of it is because police, panchayats and society actively inhibits/ discourages the victims from reporting it, often threatening dire consequences. Not consequences of rape, but of reporting the rape. Please read http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/india-haryanas-bestial-rape-chronicles-or-where-a-rapist-is-considered-a-real-man-vaw/

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  3. Their premise of functioning is that marriage is just a way for the man to have constant sex, which he should have by any means possible. I wonder if these people think women should derive any sort of pleasure from sex. Probably not. Sounds like new graduates from the ‘Khap Panchayat’ school of thought!?

    Saw a horrible ad a while ago that seems to confirm this thought process. The product in question was a slimming tea.

    Translated from Hindi:

    Woman: “When I delivered my baby, I was very, very overweight! My husband wouldn’t even LOOK at me! I wasn’t able to give my husband the happiness (‘sukh’ was the exact word used) a married woman should give her man, so he looked elsewhere, and why should I blame him? Then I found this slimming tea and my husband left his mistress and came back to me!”.

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  4. The court says that ‘Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape’. So they accept that there is actually something that can be termed as marital rape. But if forcible sex with wife isn’t marital rape, then what is ?

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  5. Well, women are not considered humans then. We are just property eh? So, they do not have rights over their own vulvas and vaginas. i am tired of such backward mentalities from both men and women.

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  6. I think this comes down to our ‘cultural’ belief that a woman’s sexuality is first owned by her parents (father) and the by her husband. So by that logic, pre-marital rape or raping a supposed hiring is a crime as the rapist has ‘taken’ what belongs the girl’s parents (family honour). After marriage, since her sexuality is owned by the husband, he has the right to ‘do’ sex to her whenever he likes.

    I’d like to ask this court, what about 16 year olds forcibly married to 50 years old and then raped? Since the legal ‘age of consent within marriage’ for a woman is 16, aren’t we then saying that a 16 year old can be raped without any consequence for the rapist, as long as she is married?

    If you read TOI around the priest article, it’s clear that the average TOI reader genuinely cannot grasp the concept of rape within marriage. In a culture that pushes women to get married and stay married (often with strangers), such impunity is opening them up to dire abuse.

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    • Since the legal ‘age of consent within marriage’ for a woman is 16, aren’t we then saying that a 16 year old can be raped without any consequence for the rapist, as long as she is married?

      In practice, he’d probably be booked under other provisions if the 16 year old so desired, but essentially, you are correct.

      The court would not recognize this as rape at all.

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      • isnt it confusing that marriageable age in india is 18 years….then how can rape of a girl 16-18 years by her husband be ‘legal’ when the marriage itself is ‘illegal’.

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        • Also to be noted that a boy 16-18 years of age is a ‘juvenile’ and can not be tried in the court for a rape no matter how cruel he has been to the victim (delhi bus rape case dec2012) while a girl 16-18 years is ‘matured enough’ to give consent for illegal marriage and sexual intercouse with in the marriage. what an irony

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    • I think most men understand just how evil rape is, outside or inside marriage. It’s just that current attitudes towards sex and marriage favor men so much that most are loathe to give up so much unearned power.

      Its easier to deny a problem when acknowledging it would reduce your power and privilege.

      One would have to be psychologically damaged to truly believe that rape within marriage does not harm the wife’s well-being in any way. Anyways, many Indian men don’t see their wives as full human beings, so its a moot point, I guess.

      If a man views his wife as an object, to be used when convenient, her well-being doesn’t enter the equation because objects don’t feel pain.

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    • @ biwo
      Although some men like to maintain the status quo because of the privileges they enjoy, they do not represent the majority.
       
      Most men do not understand the trauma of rape the same way that woman do, because they can’t relate to it the same way. Even in the more enlightened societies where men are more emphatic about it and understand that rape IS traumatic to women, the understanding of this is still largely hypothetical, not emotional or instinctive. The kind of emotional instinct and social development that makes rape (or the possibility of rape) such a scary prospect for women, doesn’t exist in men. Not in the context of heterosexual relationships anyway.

      For those men whose hypothetical understanding of rape is as an issue of chastity, assault or honour (izzat) rather than a traumatic event in and by itself – it becomes difficult to understand the concept of marital rape or the rape of a woman who isn’t chaste and virgin. It wasn’t very long ago that a number of judges in India wouldn’t admit a rape case if there wasn’t signs of struggle involved (if the victim didn’t fight = its not rape).

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  7. A few years ago, the Law Commission was looking to reform Indian rape laws and replace ‘rape’ by ‘sexual assault’, an offense which would include more types of assault than just penile-vaginal sex. They requested comment from experts, NGOs, feminist organizations and so on, and one of the major secondary thrusts from Civil Society was the removal of the exception in Section 375 which provides husbands immunity from rape charges.

    You know what the Law Commission’s response was? They couldn’t allow it, as it would amount to ‘excessive interference’ in marital affairs. This is the argument that has been put forward over and over again in response to appeals against this horrendous law. The ‘sanctity of marriage’. ‘Excessive interference’. ‘Cannot be legislated upon’.

    I don’t think Indian courts believe rape is not a cruel or hurtful act, but the fact is, there is an entrenched belief that marriage involves giving up all sexual rights to one’s spouse. It is merely an extension of the concept of ‘buying the wife’ from her father, and it is completely, utterly shameful.

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    • In that case, a wife sexually violating a husband should also receive immunity, wouldn’t she? It is possible, in theory, to sexually assault a man.

      Of course, most Indian women wouldn’t dare to commit a sexual offence on their husbands.

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      • A woman sexually assaulting an adult male always has immunity in India, whether or not said male is her husband, because Indian law treats rape as an exclusively male crime. Section 375, which holds the legal definitions of rape in India, begins with the sentence, “A man is said to commit ‘rape’ … “.

        As long as she does not cause bodily harm or make threats of physical harm, or violate any other laws, an Indian woman is legally free to rape any man she likes.

        And believe it or not, female-on-male rape happens. It’s not common, certainly, but it does happen.

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        • female-on-male rape is all make believe. In cases of legitimate rape, the male body has a way of shutting itself down. General Johnson never wakes up. Female-on-female rape is also make believe because as per the Indian law there are no lesbians.

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        • Replying to Anon below: Female on male rape is possible if the man is sodomised or penetrated with an object. I was trying to avoid graphic descriptions in my earlier comment.

          I’ve realised that men put themselves in harm’s way much too easily when the potential aggressor is a woman. It’s the unconcious belief that an adult female cannot physically harm an adult male.

          Espionage agencies have used this male weakness very effectively by using a “honey trap”.😉

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        • As strange as it might seem to some people, there is a chance that Anon is being serious. I have seen that same attitude from men as well, who claim that men who are raped are just lucky that they ‘got it’.

          Just for the record, it doesn’t take psychological consent for a man to get physiologically aroused. It is perhaps one the reasons why evolution didn’t design men’s sexualities as complex as women’s. If it took as much work to get men aroused – there would have been far less people around us. And men would have been far less easy and far more choosy about their partners. Besides, penetration is not the only form of FoM rape.

          On the whole, FoM rape is usually not as traumatic to the male victims as vice versa. But it does leave men with some serious psychological issues, some of which can create some serious personal or social problems later on. Also, since women are physically less stronger than men, female-on-male rape usually involves coercive tactics rather than brute force, which makes it even harder to prove in a court of law that rape happened, compared to vice versa. Assuming of course, that the law of the land recognises FoM rapes, which I don’t think is the case in India. I’d like clarification from Praveen on this.

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        • @AI

          Like I said, India does not recognize any such thing.

          Rape is defined very narrowly in Indian law and applies only to coercive penile-vaginal intercourse between a man and a woman, the man being the alleged coercer.

          Even male-on-male rape isn’t legally rape in Indian law; it comes under the definition of ‘unnatural offenses’, commonly called sodomy in public discourse, and is outlawed by Section 377 of the IPC (as opposed to Section 375, which defines rape, and Section 376 which lays down punitive remedies to it). The sentencing structure is virtually identical to that of rape without any aggravating circumstances, but it’s not considered the same crime and except in the case of minors, successful prosecutions are somewhat rare.

          Since the standard for sufficiency in both offenses is (penile) penetration, women cannot be accused of either crime, even in theory.

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        • @Praveen, @AI, @biwo,

          Rest assured Anon was not serious.

          Anons comment was a reference to Republican Todd Akin’s stupid and heavily parodied comment ” If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

          You must watch the hilarious stuff about it on youtube. And that episode where Jon Stewart joked about this on the Daily Show claiming Jokes McCaskill ‘Legitimately Raped’ Akin when Akin lost.

          I am also confused here about rape requiring penetration. FoM coerced straight sex is not rape?

          Anyways, this is an old thread and I am realizing that I am not entirely comfortable with any graphic discussion on a public forum of this nature. Hope I get time to set up my blog so that it’s easier to separate or pop out various digressive discussions into their own sub pages.

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    • This is shocking. Why legislate against dowry harassment, wife-beating, fraud or any crime that occurs within a marriage then? Is there really any sanctity in a marriage where the husband rapes the wife? I’m genuinely shocked that this provision has been challenged and still stands!

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  8. There needs to be legal clarity here. Since the section on rape doesn’t mention anything about the marital status of the victim and rapist, I don’t think there needs to be a separate section on marital rape – it should be implicit.

    I hope the higher courts set this straight.

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    • As a matter of fact, Section 375 of the IPC does mention it, and explicitly provides immunity to husbands, provided the wife is over fifteen (at least sixteen) years of age.

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  9. This is something that is changing currently in the world. 50 years ago, most countries did not consider marital rape a crime – because if you married someone, you where considered by default to have consented to sex with that person.

    Then this started changing, and more and more countries recognize that everyone has the right to say “no”, whether they’re married or not. The current state of law is depicted in this map on wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marital_rape#20th_and_21st_century_criminalization

    Recent countries to criminalize marital rape include Turkey (2005), Cambodia (2005), Nepal (2006), Mauritius (2007), Ghana (1998/2007), Malaysia (2007), Thailand (2007), Tunisia (2008), Rwanda (2009), South Korea (2009),and Jamaica (2009).

    The remaining countries where raping a married partner is not considered a crime, are mostly in Africa, in the middle east, and a few in southern Asia.

    I have hopes that marital rape will be considered a crime in the entire world inside of the next decade. Look at how many countries improved these laws in the last decade !

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    • Wow, good to know that Muslim majority Malaysia, Turkey and Tunisia have criminalised marital rape but “secular” and “democratic” India hasn’t.

      Criminalising marital rape is something that fundamentalist Hindus, Muslims and Christians will all oppose, tooth and nail.

      Good to know that these guys share SOME common ground.🙂

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      • I like it when people use the world ‘democracy’ as a talisman for all that is fair and just; and then act surprised when it isn’t. Democracy is just that – rule of the people. If the demo is made up of unprincipled people, the cracy is going to be unprincipled.

        But never mind the politics now. If you look at these cultures with the lens of a socio-culturalist, you’d observe a pattern that goes above religion. Arranged marriage cultures where marriage is seen as the only legitimate way to have sex (and strictures imposed on the social codes of both men and women to maintain the status quo). Is it any surprise that some of these countries are so unwilling to put marital rapes as a cognizable offence?

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    • A point to ponder over is how many marriages occur with consent of both spouses in the countries where marital rape is legal. I think there is some correaltion between that – choice of marrying anyone they please and if marital rape is legal

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  10. Education, Education, EDUcation.. we need to spend more time teaching our kids the rights and wrongs and how to treat other human beings …and maybe less time trying to make cookie cutter engineers🙂

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  11. I might wana know outa curiosity! A few months ago a temple priest was jailed for one year for forcibly raping his wife! What was that then? And what is this!? Indian legal system! Alas, a failing body that always needs reasons to not convict rape victims!

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  12. While I know this doesn’t exactly go with your blog, I was surprised to learn just last week that in Virginia (USA) the law says the same thing as your headline. It is legal to force sex upon your wife in the state of Virginia as long as it does not result in injury. It’s not rape if you’re married, regardless of what is done. So while I won’t get too graphic with the details, basically a husband can do pretty much anything he wants to his wife as long as he doesn’t leave a non-consentual bruise or worse. And I say non-consentual because if they’re into bondage and she changes her mind but the bruises come from her being bound, then they don’t count for the purpose of rape. It’s absurd that a man (or technically a woman) can rape their spouse and there is nothing she can do about it. Marriage is not a license for free sex. End of discussion.

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  13. Pingback: #India-Criminal recognition to #maritalrape in India is long overdue #Vaw « kracktivist

  14. Pingback: In India the Court Says: “IPC does not recognise any such concept of marital rape” « Impressions

  15. Pingback: The Concept of Marital Rape Is Not Recognised in Indian Law « Impressions

  16. It’s a scary thought IHM. What if the Court rejects my Divorce plea? Or if in fact they order me to go back to him and “provide sex” to him as his “marital right”?
    I wasn’t raped…. but only because I came out before he had the chance to!

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  17. Well not just bad its unforgivable …lot of people including me put up with Shit coz of parental pressure …meri pagdi tumhare haath me hai types….but after sometime i realised that i am doing this to myself by leting rape within the marrige happen…so i walked out …luckily my brother and younger sister and college friends gave me a lot of emotinal support ..maybe i also had the courage since i was financially independent …first i made sure i shipped my documents out and then one fine day walked out

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  18. Pingback: #India- Women not safe in their bedrooms too #Vaw #Maritalrape #WTFlaw « kracktivist

  19. Pingback: Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  20. Pingback: Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  21. Pingback: “Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  22. Pingback: What do you think of these doubts regarding recognition of marital rape as a crime? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  23. Pingback: Rapist groom should have waited a little to satiate his lusty desires without problems which he has got into. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  24. Pingback: A comment- ‘Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  25. Pingback: Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  26. The lack of seriousness with which the issue of marital rape is addressed in India discourages many girls from getting married as marriage in such a situation becomes nothing more than glorified bondage. When a woman marries, she effectively loses control over her body (especially her reproductive system) and is often forced to bear her husband children that she neither wants nor is mature enough to adequately care for. The Indian argument against marital rape is that women are generally reticent about expressing their willingness to participate in sexual acts and thus cannot be relied upon to give informed consent. In case of arranged marriages, older relatives fear that if a husband gives his wife enough time to adjust to him and the new household, childbearing (which is still considered the #1 priority for “good” Indian brides) will be delayed and they (the relatives) will not get to see the latest “vansh (heir)” of the family and impart “good” values to him. Further, these relatives also fear that if they give a woman too much leeway, she will rebel against their wishes and become too “rigid.” Indian society tries to contain these “undesirable” things by marrying women off early (by around the age of 22-24) and putting a moralistic spin on the “duties” that a woman is expected to carry out in her new roles of wife and daughter-in-law. These cruel things are done so that she always remains subservient and subordinate to the male partner even though she may be physically, intellectually and emotionally equivalent to him. As per the unwritten and sometimes unspoken rules of Indian marriages, an Indian bride is duty bound to cut or limit ties to her parental home and cook, clean and serve her husband in every which way and so that she can get her ultimate reward (dying before her husband after having worked like a dog). Only when an Indian woman’s roles as wife, daughter-in-law, mother etc. etc. etc. are properly defined, can she spare a few minutes for “frivolities” like love, romance and passion with the man she married under strictly chaperoned conditions. Once again, these are “concessions” that the oh-so-wonderful older generation did without when they were younger. What’s wrong with living in a loveless marriage they raise their grey eyebrows and ask as in their view, another name for marriage is sacrifice and their own marriages are older than the hills and “successful” in the conventional Indian sense. Despicable as it may seem, this is the prevailing situation in India even today. Parents of single girls are hounded, ridiculed and pressurised until they reluctantly marry their daughters off to a person they barely know and whose only qualification is pedigree. To add insult to injury, law books assume that if a girl has consented to such a marriage (even if she has been coerced to do so), she has consented to every single sexual encounter that follows even if she is uncomfortable with what is being done to her . It can thus be inferred that consensual/non-consensual sex (and all forms of it) are part of the Indian marital package and the price of “social acceptability” and “security”. These violations of basic human rights are the ugly facts that we so carefully tiptoe around to avoid ruffling feathers. At the risk of slightly digressing from the topic I want to draw your attention to some facts. The law does not criminalise marital rape but it criminalises consensual sex between homosexuals simply because these acts are “against the order of nature.” I am really baffled by this and am trying to rationalise it in my own mind, but to no avail. The truth is, Indian society is scared of the unconventional. Anything that does not fit the neat square mould of what has been followed for 10 generations is termed evil and abhorrent. The result of this sort of social conditioning is intolerance, which gives undesirable elements the “unofficial licence” to perpetrate heinous crimes such as rape and murder in their bid to act as “saviours” of Indian culture and set right “anomalies” that have been brought about by ” female emancipation” and “liberalisation.”

    The evils that I have alluded to above affect all Indian women, albeit in varying degrees. A woman’s engineering degree and MBA degree are valued only if she has married into a financially unstable home that is in desperate need of the extra funds she can provide. In all the other cases, the reaction of a prospective Indian mother-in-law would be something like this, ” You’re an MBA from Harvard? Wow, that’s nice dear, now tell me why you can’t lose some weight and go in for a fairness treatment so that my son will find you more appealing. Also, can you make round chapattis and tasty sweetmeats? You know what they say, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.'” More likely than not, an Indian mother to a son would not care about whom she would be offending by making such shameless statements. She believes that she earned her bragging rights the day she delivered the boy (who might be a balding alcoholic without any aim in particular). A woman’s intelligence is unfortunately not valued as much as her looks and cooking skills in the Indian marriage market. Thus, one cannot expect such people to value a woman’s rights to her own body. In India, once a bride has entered her marital home, it is almost understood that she has resigned herself to the good, bad and ugly of the trap of her arranged marriage. Once she enters the kitchen, she is the property of her mother-in-law and once she enters the bedroom, she is the property of her husband. I am repulsed by the fact that I belong to a country that treats women as slaves. The time has come for change. If we do not heed this call for reform, Indian women will be forced to continue living lives of indignity and all Indians would have to hang their heads in shame at international forums debating the various issues that come under the umbrella of human rights.

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  27. Pingback: 7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  28. Pingback: 40% of rape charges were filed by parents of girls who had eloped consensually with a boy | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  29. Pingback: ‘Madam so many rapes don’t happen in Germany coz girls don’t refuse to have sex.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  30. Pingback: Should Lawyers ML Sharma and AP Singh be disbarred for their remarks and opinions expressed in the documentary India’s Daughter? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  31. Pingback: The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal ‘Consequences’ for women. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  32. Pingback: Marriage Sacred in India, So Marital Rape Does Not Apply: Government | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  33. Pingback: “It was OK for her to say ‘no’ after saying ‘yes’? Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  34. Pingback: The right to deny or to give consent takes the power away from Patriarchy, and gives it to the individual. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  35. Pingback: “Time isn’t far when even Indian men will quit their faith from women and the Institution of marriage.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  36. Pingback: CRIMINALIZATION OF MARITAL RAPES – LawSchoolNotes

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