A comment- ‘Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.’

Depriving wife of sex is cruelty, Mumbai court rules

“The respondent (husband) has no right to deprive the petitioner (wife) from physical relations or to suspect her character. It can be safely said that such conduct is more than sufficient which amounts to cruelty,” the court said. It directed the 33-year-old man to pay the woman Rs 3 lakh as permanent alimony.

The couple was in a relationship for about two years before getting married in February 2009. In her petition seeking divorce in February 2012, the woman alleged once the marriage ceremony was over she was shocked to see her in-laws had occupied the room her father had arranged for their first night.

She said the man refused to consummate the marriage under the pretext he was stressed as he had lost his job and was unemployed till October 2009. She added the situation persisted till March 2010.

The woman accused her mother-in-law of abusing and constantly asking her to leave their home. Things became worse after her husband suspected her character.

Despite several notices, the husband failed to appear before the court and in March it decided to proceed ex parte.

And here’s a comment:

Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.

Reversing the gender would mean the man asks for divorce on grounds of cruelty for denial of sex. – the law does provide that option to men (and women).

Rape means forced sex or ‘sex without consent’. Marital Rape is when a married person rapes their partner.

Asking for divorce is not rape.

Some more comments:

1. Wat happens wen it’s other way around. … Does the law speak the same. …..???

2. If you forcefully try to have sex with your wife, it is marital r@pe. If wife denies sex, you have to obey and keep quiet.

3. What if wife deprives husband from sex than wat is the justice will the wife pays to husband if not she must be jailed for creating unhealthy society and punish for 3 years ….. for the period of desertion due to her and divorce to be granted and the naturally kids custody willbe his no mater minor or major

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52 thoughts on “A comment- ‘Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.’

  1. This is ridiculous! It’s NOT marital rape if you reverse the gender.
    Men have been granted divorce on this basis innumerable times (I’m a law student and read these files everyday)
    Most people jump to conclusions when they read “denial of sex” and don’t read the entire facts and circumstances.
    Did the wife force him to have sex? Physically or emotionally? NO. Did she coerce/blackmail/threaten and say “i won’t do xyz if you don’t have sex? NO. She went to Court as was legally entitled to do, rather than forcing her partner into something. And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.


    • Sitting on other side, we can talk anything, but poeple in india are not very much sensitized towards the rights of husband in marriage in our culture.

      i remember the very same ground a man was granted divorce by Delhi high court some 3 years back. And there was a review petition filed by Falva Agnes (or NGO headed by her i think), asking Delhi HC to review the judgement….

      And the reason, with this kind of judgement, women will be subjected to more marital rape 😦

      Its the mindset of Indians, be it women or men, they dont differ to a great extent


      • … poeple in india are not very much sensitized towards the rights of husband in marriage in our culture.
        Really when did that happen? Guess DG was sleeping.
        Pick up any wedding ceremony it is about celebrating the grooms rights and entitlement, be it packing off the bride to man’s home or giving dowry and other gifts through out the married life by woman’s family to man and his kin or marital rape.
        Problem here is the constant struggle by his family and his wife to have his favors. What business did his family had in his marital chamber on the wedding night? Is there any explanation for it besides they wanted to create hardships for the new bride. Unless desis learn their boundaries these things will keep happening.
        Desi Girl


  2. Most of the comments were similar. I was baffled to see that they have a hard time accepting that she has the right to be happy and did the right thing. I also read a comment saying “Love and sacrifice makes married life smoother”I am starting to think that most of us do not understand the need for sex and intimacy is basic. And it is definitely cruel to expect someone to sacrifice it. How many even know what intimacy is

    And for the last time, Wanting sex is not rape, forcing your way on an unwilling person is.


  3. Why is it so hard for people to understand that ‘rape = sex without consent’?

    She did not forcibly penetrate his body, she went to court. The wife was granted a divorce because her husband wouldn’t have sex with her.. a man would also be granted a divorce on this basis too. The law is even in this matter.

    Alimony or child support issues depend on the law and I know women in the US who earner more than their husbands and pay child support to them. I think these laws should be worded with ‘spouse’ and not ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ since otherwise we assume who the dependant partner is.


  4. Though i dont have any reservation with this judgement, but YES it is very true that if a man goes for divorce on this ground, he is vilified as seeing wife as an sexual object. there will be all comments to make him look morally wrong.

    After all Indian laws works differently for men and women. If wife takes divorce just as in this case she gets money, if man, wants divorce (even on the very same grounds), he has to pay the money.

    So either way its men at loss most of the times.


    • It’s a vicious cycle, Sunny. Because women are otherwise seen as someone that MUST “provide” sex on demand to their lawfully wedded husband, when a husband files for divorce on these grounds, he is seen as someone trying to exert his apparent “god given” right on the poor woman. For all you know, this man probably did not want to force himself upon an unwilling wife. It is all about perception. This is another not-so-happy side effect of patriarchy. This is why IHM and many other commentators rightly point out repeatedly that it’s not only women that suffer from this system(we have some men that write in here complaining about how they cannot break the shackles of this system)

      First of all(at the cost of being too progressive), couples must be able to evaluate sexual compatibility. How else would you know that you who wants to have sex every night can stay married to someone who wants to get under the covers twice a month?

      Second, This idea of sex being a wife’s duty must go out the window. It has to be a mutually agreed upon, pleasurable activity for both. If a husband forcing himself upon his wife is seen as perfectly legit, this is what you end up with (notice how marital rape is still not an offense in India).


  5. “Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape”

    That is ridiculous. Asking for a divorce is not, in any circumstance, remotely similar to rape. You have to wonder whether someone who makes such a statement lacks reading comprehension skills or is trolling the website.

    In any case, this woman should have been granted an annulment. If the situation was reversed, he should have every right to go to the court to get an annulment as well.


  6. There was a case in the near future where the man was allowed divorce on the pretext that his wife was denying him sex
    But then what I was wondering is why was the man asked to pay a alimony in the above case? It was the woman’s decision to walk out of the marriage , would it be right to say that if it was vice versa and if it was the wife who had denied sex, would she have had to pay any alimony? I mean I am just not sure how this alimony works…isn’t that a discrimination in the favor of women?


    • The spouse who is dependent is paid alimony. Women have paid alimony too, but it is very rare (as yet) when the wife is the earning spouse. I think instead of alimony there should be equal division of whatever the couple made together during their marriage.


    • alimony has nothing to do with who denies sex or who is denied sex.. As IHM mentions, the dependent spouse is paid alimony.. in most cases you will find that the women are dependent..


      • I never meant to say alimony is related to who denies sex and who doesn’t…my point was why would a woman be paid alimony when she was the one who wanted the divorce when men are not paid the same during the role reversal….Yeah IHM’s and your reply do clarify that the dependents are paid the alimony, though the general norm is to have the woman getting paid as she is supposed to be the dependent..but then isn’t the whole thing ridiculous…you decided to marry somebody and later found out that it was not possible to continue to be in the relation, opted for divorce and thus ended paying a huge amount alimony(3 lakhs in this case but I have heard that it can go up to be crores)…either man or woman, if no violence or any other kind of exploitation is involved and the ground of divorce is differences of priority or incompatibility, isn’t alimony injust ?As IHM said, dividing finance that they had together acquired sounds a better option


        • Courts usually evaluate who the dominant earning member is. Commonly, it is the man, which is why you keep seeing women being paid alimony even if she is the one who initiated the divorce. The fact is that even if the income is being drawn by one person, it takes two to tango and the dependent member’s contribution is given monetary importance as he/she may have given up her career to support the spouse. So now, when the dependent spouse is suddenly found with no career or income source after 8 years of supporting her spouse, isn’t it unfair to ask her to give up food/shelter etc because she possibly has no income potential?


  7. I do not think the reverse gender comment deserves my comment. About the article, there was a news article a few days back reversing the gender and yes, I think IHM you also posted it on your blog. I would like to see the commentors on that article comment on this.
    About alimony, if the husband was present in the court house he could make a case. There was no case, he had to pay up.


  8. I don’t know if i am going to sound relevant..but this is what occurred to my pea brain after reading the post..Let us just imagine(imagine because what i am going to try explaining may not be the case here) two cases..
    no.1-what if a man is denied sex..he may have three options(not necessarily true,nor i am providing or suggesting these options.its simply what i think is happening these days)..option one may be to force his partner to have sex(marital rape)..option two may be to go to someone else to have sex..option three is to demand a divorce..first option is absolutely condemnable.coming to the option two where the man may go to someone else(which unfortunately is often justified because his partner has denied him sex). Now option no.3,a plausible option in IMO even if he had to be labelled as someone who objectifies women but may not necessarily be one.it depends on the reason for which he was denied sex.(this option after all sounds better than those 2 options).

    no.2-what if a women is denied sex..she may have three options..yes,the same options that i have described above for a man…lets see what may happen in each scenario..1st option- forced sex(i don’t know if this is so common for males as in the case of females). she may blackmail/threaten her partner to have sex(marital rape)..2nd option may be to go to someone else to have sex in which case she may be labelled as a Ho/whore(you know because she is a WOMAN and that she doesn’t and shouldn’t have sexual urges and only a women with no morals has such urges..blah..how imbecile to have such kind of thinking..i felt sick while typing that sentence(and here i am not suggesting that the wife should go to someone else)….option three(this may be the case mentioned in the post)is to demand a divorce which is the appropriate option IMO(in which case she may get those kind of comments which were already mentioned in the post(i think i don’t need to prove it as it is clearly visible in those comments)..

    i have some doubts-
    what were the in-laws doing in the newly wed couple’s room by the way..? :O what else can possibly be their intention other than causing trouble to the newly wed bride..?

    “Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape”(????),what is the commentator trying to say in this comment?(is there anything about her forcing sex on his partner?)i don’t have an inkling about what he is trying to yell from the roof top..somebody please enlighten my ignorant soul..

    Disclaimer-This is strictly my opinion and may not be 100% correct and i mean no offense.


  9. I still fail to understand why the Indian courts need a reason for divorce. Not wanting to have sex with your spouse can be a deal breaker in some marriages and not a deal breaker in others. The couples should be setting their own standards for their marriages and should be able to simply cite “incompatibility” as a reason for divorce.

    Anything else that is illegal outside of marriage should be treated as illegal inside of marriage too. Which means violence, rape, abuse should be illegal irrespective of your relationship with the perpetrator.

    Why do the courts even need to know how many times the couple had sex or if they had sex at all? What is relevant is that atleast one person in the marriage is unhappy with the arrangement.

    And coming to answer the question on if it is rape if the genders were reversed – no. It is not rape unless someone forced sexual advances on another person. Asking to have sex and being told no is not rape.


    • I can’t understand this either. Why the hell do I even need to tell the court the reasons for a divorce? If even one party wants it, that should be enough. Now there are concerns that most women won’t want a divorce and that men will start divorcing left and right. I don’t see a way around that. In the name of protection etc we cannot force a person to remain married to someone they no longer wish to be with.

      Of course, alimony/child support etc can be taken into account if necessary, but by no means compulsorily.


      • Maybe it will be GOOD thing if men are able to divorce left and right. Hopefully that will force women to think about their well being – financially and emotionally before deciding to get married. The law treats women as little children incapable of making decisions, who should be “protected” from the mistakes they make.


        • Please correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think the court asks for a reason if it is Mutual Consent Divorce.
          But yea, court creeping the sex history of couples sounds quite creepy.


    • This is exactly the problem. India does not have ‘no-fault divorce’, because of which means for a divorce to be granted it has to be proven that one party is at ‘fault’.


    • Marriage, according to Hindu traditions is a sacrament and not a civil union (unlike western and Islamic marriages). Hence, courts in India have statutory guidelines not to dissolve a marriage unless they are convinced that the marriage cannot be salvaged. Hence, the fault based divorce under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Special Marriage Act 1955, etc.
      Proving a fault in a court and convincing a judge to grant divorce is a difficult, cumbersome, uncomfortable and time consuming process – it takes decades of litigation to actually finalize a divorce after making a petition.


      • Ugh, therein lies the problem. Linking religion and law. The Indian constitution declares India as a secular country, which means that the state should be completely indifferent to religion by definition of ‘secular’. However ‘secular’ in this case seems to mean making religion based laws but for more than one religion.. rather than that state being completely removed from religion. That’s not really helpful at all.


  10. “Reverse gender and it is marital rape”
    This is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever read. What baffles is that if that if people know how to use internet, actually read a newspaper online and then pass such comments, which mean s that the world is so full of educated fools who clearly lack reading and understanding capabilities.. All of them should be made to do reading comprehension exercises….
    In my own family, I have seen a “MAN” being granted divorce because his wife was not ready to consummate the marriage even after a year and he never forced her and waited but beyond a certain point there was nothing else he could do except file for a divorce and he never paid any alimony too because “SHE” was not dependent on him so they were both granted divorce…
    In this case it would have been rape if he would have forcibly had sex with her which he did not do..
    Moreover the woman in question here had every right to file for a divorce as she waited for a year and during this period she was also subjected to emotional violence with her husband suspecting her character which is enough to file for a divorce according to me…


  11. Did the wife hold her husband down and have sex with him? No. Did she tie him up without prior consent and against his will? No. Did she forcibly have sex with him? No. Did she, at any point in time, feel that she was entitled to sex, and that the consent and enjoyment of her husband was an added bonus? No. So explain to me how this is marital rape. Rape is sex without consent. Nowhere in this case did the wife have sex without the consent of her husband. So no, the reverse of this, the wife denying her husband sex, would not be marital rape, because no rape has taken place.

    What happened here, to me anyway, seems like a difference of interest between the husband and the wife. The wife wanted to have sex. Her husband refused. Perhaps the two of them had different ideas of what a relationship entailed. Perhaps the husband was not attracted to his wife and did not love her. This difference of interest engendered a divorce, because the priorities of the two people involved were not the same. This happens all the time.

    And also, the reverse of this? That happens all the time too. PLENTY of men divorce their wives because of their refusal to sleep with them. PLENTY of men dump their girlfriends because they refuse to “put out” as it were. So your point is kind of moot in any case.


  12. The problem of men that are reading about the case is the fact that court granted the woman with alimony. My dear indian men, legally speaking you don’t take dowry from women when you marry, right? But now honestly how many of you don’t take? Court is knowing that dowry is banned but still practiced. You can consider alimony like a compensation for dowry and not to shout so much about this. Solution for this problem is don’t go in arranged marriages, marry by choice, no dowry, no expensive weddings if you can’t affort it. The attitude of court regarding divorce will improve and also incompatibility will became an accepted reason for divorce. Usually incompatibility is a reason used in mutual divorce.


  13. This is exactly what happens when pre-martial sex is such a taboo. They could have easily found out they were not compatible (in one night or a couple of hours) and not have to go through an expensive wedding, messy divorce and the social stigma afterwards. Sexual compatibality is non-negotiable in a marriage, much more important than religion/caste/family background crap that Indians care about so much in an arranged match. I would absolutely divorce the guy if there is no sex, what’s the point of marriage otherwise? Yes women have sexual desires that needs fullfillment in a mutually respectful, loving committed relationship, without that marriage is empty and void. Yes, the woman in this case absolutely deserves an alimony if she was financially dependent even if she asked for the divorce.


  14. I feel like there needs to be a clear definition of what marital rape actually is. Not only that – but good touching/bad touching, rape, etc – everything!!!!!!!!!!!
    Honestly it sounds like just-your-average divorce story of a marriage that didn’t work out – the two weren’t compatible from the get-go, I think.
    But what’s so shocking for people? The fact that it implies that a woman has sexual desires and intimacy desires in a marriage – DUH!


  15. This woman getting the divorce is completely fair, though there is the double standard that men will be looked upon as monsters if they do the same i.e. file for divorce because of sexual incompatibility. Leaving that aside, why was she awarded 3 Lakhs ? He did not abuse her or anything. She made the choice to leave him. So, she has to face the consequences. Either women are independent persons who can take care of themselves and should have all the rights or they are dependent and others should take care of them. You cannot have the cake and eat it too.

    Probably IHM will say that she should get half his assets acquired during marriage. But why ? If the woman does take care of the home, she should be compensated something but definitely not half the property. Let’s say the husband is a surgeon. I am sure you can get a maid/cook/baby sitter for much much less price than half the surgeon’s salary and assets.

    And, why is it that most women tend to marry high (hyper gamy) and then pretend that they are abala naari’s during divorce ? If all you want is money, then advertise your hourly rate for being a wife so that future husbands will know well in advance if they can afford you or not.


    • Hypergamy is a patriarchal concept and most men and women are comfortable with roles assigned by patriarchy, so even if the woman is earning the man is expected to be the primary bread winner and even if the woman works full time, she has no ‘wife’ to take care of her children, parents, home etc.

      About Joint Ownership of whatever a couple makes during the marriage – it doesn’t make sense for one partner to give up self reliance and invest years in making a life that leaves them dependent and can be taken away if they were divorced. And also, should child bearing be taken so much for granted? If women continue to have to choose between having and raising children and being self reliant, they might (and do in many countries) choose self reliance. Mostly, religion and Patriarchy control these choices for women – they are not allowed to have a say – their uterus is seen as belonging to Patriarchy.

      And house work – if there were fewer women being semi-forced to perform these tasks and fewer women struggling to save their marriages (frequently due to financial dependence) – we would see more women being able to choose if they would rather marry and save those marriages to have a roof over their heads or would they rather build their own roofs over their heads.

      If getting married leaves one partner dependent or without any assets, then maybe they should be allowed a real choice in this matter- which Indian women are not allowed. Women and their families (who semi force them to ‘settle down with a suitable boy’) should be made clearly aware what marriage means for women – the present system leads to women struggling to save failing marriages because they sacrifices their financial independence when they are raised to be ‘ideal daughters in law’.


  16. If the wife does not want intimacy and the husband wants, it is marital rape. If he does not want and she wants it, it is “Denial of conjugal rights”. Wow. Justice. Bull shit. Either way, laws are designed in such a way that women control when and where and how to do it. And yet, they say they are the ones abused in marriage.


    • Post specific examples please. Else you’re just pulling that statement out of your hat.

      As long as the wife did not force herself upon him(or vice versa), it is not rape. How hard is that for you to follow?


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