Marriage Sacred in India, So Marital Rape Does Not Apply: Government

Live in Relationships continue to be safer for Indian women. [Marriage Vs Live in Relationships : Twelve points to note.]

Marriage Sacred in India, So Marital Rape Does Not Apply: Government 

“It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors, including level of education, illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat marriage as a sacrament,” Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in the Rajya Sabha.

He was replying to a written question by DMK’s K Kanimozhi, who had asked whether the government was planning to amend the law to make marital rape a crime. She had also asked whether the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women had recommended to India that marital rape should be criminalised.

On the contrary, permitting Marital Rape makes it impossible for Indians (rich or poor, educated or illiterate) to understand that sex without consent is rape. It makes the society view sex as something men are entitled to, and something that the society owes them.

Poverty and illiteracy do not make men view rape misogynistically  – Patriarchy does. Patriarchy defines rape as a crime against the owners of the person raped. ( for e.g. the victim’s future husband whose property/honor is attacked; or the male members of her community).

The ‘concept of marital rape, as understood internationally’ is actually the easiest to understand – Sex without consent is Rape. Making Marital Rape a crime would make all Indians understand this international definition the most easily. (It’s common sense actually, if viewed without Patriarchal glasses)

Once we view rape as a violent crime, like stabbing or an acid attack – we will see why being poor or illiterate doesn’t make it easier to live with threat of being sexually assaulted.

Also consider, ‘Myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs’ are all meant to enrich and empower, not threaten the society and empower the violent or abusive.

Also ‘social customs’ allowed infanticide, male child preference, dowry and widow burning, our ancestors had the wisdom to see them as inhuman crimes.

The ‘mindset of the society to treat marriage as a sacrament’ leads to women being raised as future daughters in law.

It leads to almost half the population being raised to view Getting Married, Staying Married or Die Trying as their goal in life. And we know this leads to male child preference, dowry, sex selection, skewed gender ratio and lack of value and respect for women in our society.

Four things that can change the mindset mentioned above:

1. Define lack of consent as rape.

2. Acknowledge Marital Rape is a crime.

3. Law for fair division of Marital assets in case of divorce or separation (to make it easier for victims to walk out of abusive marriages).

4. Ban forced marriages, and child marriages. Make it easier for young adults to walk away from semi-forced marriages.

5. Make it easier for women to walk out of abusive or unhappy marriages.

Related Posts:

India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study

Five rapists in Patna want to marry gangrape victim.

Three thoughts on Bhag Milkha Bhag.

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high court

Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages?

Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her?

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

Rapist groom should have waited a little to satiate his lusty desires without problems which he has got into.

For Victims and Survivors of Marital Rapes.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

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

Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

What do you think of these doubts regarding recognition of marital rape as a crime?

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.




53 thoughts on “Marriage Sacred in India, So Marital Rape Does Not Apply: Government

  1. “Sex without consent is Rape”
    Such a simple definition, but many people in India have lost all the common sense to understand it. They are rather intelligent enough to mould things as per their whims and fancies.


  2. IHM-

    You very conveniently ignored the flip side of the coin, the abuse of laws by women. It is a fact accepted by the SC itself, that women are using laws against dowry and domestic violence as weapons against their husbands. 498A is a weapon used by countless women make their husbands and in-laws dance to their whims.

    In such a scenario, do we really need yet another law that can serve as a method to victimize men?

    And laws against domestic abuse already exist. And AFAIK, the domestic violence law covers all types of violence-including sexual. So why the need for a separate law?

    To be honest this is unfair on your part as a prominent feminist blogger. You claim to stand for equality and yet you’ve never ever raised the issue of husbands harassed by their wives using laws.


      • Right, but in no other law is the accused considered guilty unless proven innocent. Police actually needs proof to act.

        Incase of 498A, men are locked up without any proof and need to shell out money to get bail just so that they can arrange legal help for themselves.


        • The question is – Should it be legal for a husband to sexually assault a wife?

          The purpose of laws is to define what is legally acceptable and what is not. Domestic violence is not acceptable. Dowry, sex selection and consensual sex with a minor is not acceptable. Rape of married women, by their life partners is actually legally acceptable – what does this say of our society and our respect for women and relationships? Don’t we want sexual crimes against women (and children) to be controlled?

          If a law is being abused, the loop holes should be dealt with – we had the two finger test for rape victims until recently. Anybody asking for rapes of married women to be legal, needs to understand exactly what they are asking for. How is any rape okay? What exactly is this sense of entitlement that makes anybody (specially a man) want legal right to sexually assault their life partner? Why would anybody want that right? This doesn’t make sense at all.


    • If dowry laws are being misused, the right thing to do is to consider how we can minimise harassment of innocent people, not to make dowry legal again. Making the harassment of one set of people instead of another set of people is stupid. Marital rape is a crime, and needs to be recognised as such, irrespective of whether other laws are being misused or not. Or are you okay with thousands of women being raped by their husbands as long as a few men don’t have to face ‘false’ charges? What are your thoughts on anti-terror laws? Should we do away with them since they are often liable to have the wrong person arrested? Should we simply scrap all the laws because all of them can be misused by one person or the other? That would be brilliant! It’s only when it comes to laws protecting women that you will rise and scream, but when it is about other things, you like your laws protecting you. That’s called patriarchy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Quite frankly, I don’t understand the need for a separate law either – I think rape is rape – and it doesn’t need to be qualified as martial or pre-marital or extra-marital. I think that we need to stop treating marriage as a sacrosanct relationship and start seeing it as a contract just like employment.

      But your comment raised some red flags for me, which I’m going to point out.

      You say that 498A is (ab)used by many women – and there’s some truth to that statement. But would you recommend doing away with it altogether knowing that the majority of women are genuinely being harassed?

      Sometimes people are falsely convicted for murder, but does that mean we don’t want that set of laws? Of course not! Because all laws have the potential to be abused. This just means that we need to make the functioning of the judiciary stronger. THAT is what we should be talking about.

      And in the process, if some people have to suffer at the hands of evil conniving women, we need to think of this as sacrifice (since our country is so high on the concept) that we need to make to arrive at a state of stability.

      I wrote a post last year that may give you an inside perspective on rape:

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with the first point. The idea of “Marriage should continue no matter what.” is wrong and needs to go. However, equating marriage to a contract between an employer and an employee is, well, naive, to put it lightly.

        No, 498A shouldn’t be done away with altogether. But stringent checks need to placed to ensure that misuse doesn’t happen. A good start would be punishing women who register false complaints against their husbands.

        So you don’t have a problem with people’s lives being ruined as long it benefits the women and her family? Wow, just wow.


        • I think you may have missed my point entirely so I’ll spell it out clearly.
          1. Marriage is a contract, nullified by a divorce, and it needs to be seen exactly that way. There are two parties involved, and both need to see the value in being involved.
          2. If people are misusing the law, then there’s something wrong with the trial mechanism. Let’s not blame our shoes for the fault of our feet.
          3. The greater good is far more important than individual lives. Now obviously it’s not fair to that one person who was falsely accused, but I don’t really think we need statistics to prove that women in India are largely oppressed.

          And when changes like this happen, society enters a state of flux/chaos. The oppressed become the oppressors with a vengeance. It takes time for things to settle down.

          Just my opinion. You don’t have to agree, of course.

          Liked by 1 person

        • ‘A good start would be punishing women who register false complaints against their husbands.’

          Someone being pronounced ‘not guilty’ does not legally mean that the complaint was false, right? It simply means that the evidence was not beyond doubt. People are not proceed ‘innocent’, simply ‘not guilty’.

          The vast majority of rapists are not convicted due to lack of evidence, corruption, all sorts of reasons. Even Manu Sharma was not convicted of shooting Jessica Lal until mass protests happened! Did that make the complaint false?

          You’re calling everyone a hypocrite here but you yourself seem just worried about punishing ‘false complainants’ and not about punishing rapists of women in marriage. You don’t seem to have a problem with women’s lives being ruined as long as it benefits men and their families either.

          Why not demand that they fix the dowry raw AND the rape law both? One doesn’t come at the cost of another.


      • ‘Quite frankly, I don’t understand the need for a separate law either – I think rape is rape –’

        No need a separate law. We just need the law makers to remove the exemption for ‘husbands of women aged 15 and above’ from the general rape law. They’ve gone out of their way to keep this exception, its not even about a new law.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Should we do away with all laws? Every single piece of law out there is rampantly misused- some more than the other. A good society will work to patch up the holes and make the system stronger and protect it’s citizens better. And no, by no stretch of imagination are men victimized at the same rate that women are. The domestic violence act is basically a civil act. The penalties are not even close to the extent of those imposed by a rape charge.


    • Are you disagreeing with the **definition** of the crime or the *law*? Our MP’s disagree with the idea that marital rape is a crime. Surely you can see that it isn’t?

      Your point about potential abuse of the law is very valid. However, does this mean the victim of sexual abuse should have no legal recourse?


    • ‘the domestic violence law covers all types of violence-including sexual’

      Why is there a rape law at all then? Because different crimes are assigned different punishments, different legal precedents and different types of evidence burdens. I’m curious, why do you think a marital rape law would be abused but not a domestic violence law? No one said the men should be considered guilty until proven innocent, so what is the link with the dowry law? Do you think it’s only ‘rape’ if the woman is visibly brutalised (as covered the domestic violence law)? What if she is drugged or the signs are less visible? It’s still rape.


  3. I was reading the comments below this NDTV article. About half of them thought it was horrible that a woman could get raped and it would not be a crime. The other half put forth the usual “dowry laws are being misused” argument. No point I suppose telling them that murder laws also tend to be misused but murder is still a crime.
    There was this one baffling comment: “The concept of rape doesn’t apply in India because women are considered sacred.”
    I hope it was sarcasm! Otherwise, it sounds seriously messed up.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. society is more important than a individual. recognition of marital rape will strike on the institution of marriage. nationalist govt of this nation dont want 50% divorce rate like west or single parent children. damage to children in single parent family is not considered by these feminists. but this nation will reject these corrupt ideas.


    • Ok so its ok for women to suffer n bring up kids in a toxic environment ? They grow up seeing abuse n become abusers later….hence cycle repeats *slow clap*


    • Society, is NOT more important than an individual since without happy and contented individuals, there would be no happy and contented society. What strikes at the institution of marriage is not recognition of marital rape, but marital rape! 50% divorce rate or single parents are a much better solution than incompatible marriages filled with abuse and violence. Damage to children from abusive families is not considered by these patriarchal idiots but the nation will reject these corrupt ideas some day.


    • Did you actually just call this a “corrupt idea”? You really need to think things through. Allow me to help.

      When you accept an offer from a company, you don’t automatically give your employer the right to physically assault you. Similarly, when you agree to marry someone, you don’t give them the license to rape you. Please understand that each human being is his/her own sovereign, and no matter what relationship they are in; we all own our bodies.

      So rape is rape, marital or otherwise – it is a violation of the most basic human rights. It is not a “corrupt idea” to walk out of an abusive marriage.

      Because if marriage is sacred and marital rape is okay, then by the same logic it should be okay for a parent to rape their child, or vice versa; because obviously the parent-child relationship is sacrosanct and FAR more permanent.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Why society is more important than individual?
      Who is society?
      If individual are unhappy then what kind of society it is?

      Is institution of marriage all about raping wife?

      What damage happens to children who don’t view mental and physical violence day in and out? What children learn when they see their father beating their mother, shouting on them, humiliating them and still are waited hand and foot?

      Why single widow mother is okay but single unwed mother is bad? Why nobody care about widowed mother’s child?


      • Yes, and let’s try and defend this argument without beating up on the US, which might be many things but it is not bad for women. I’m tired of hearing this holier-than-thou crap from misogynists who believe that the US is oh-so-horrible because it has a 50% divorce rate. Well, so what? If Indian women who wanted divorces had better options you’d see a huge increase in divorces – it is on the rise now.

        Indian women remain in unhappy marriages not because of the “Great Indian Culture” or out of love for their abusers, but because there is very little support (financial or familial/societal) for a female wanting out.

        The US is no utopia, but I can take a walk here wearing clothing of my choice, live and work alone without needing a male defender, and remain unwed without flouting the honor/izzat of my family. And the US justice system isn’t perfect either, but marital rape is a crime here. A women being abused can call 911 and policemen do respond. If a woman needs out of her marriage, she can get out without having society’s wrath break over her.

        “society is more important than a individual.”

        What society do you speak of? Society itself is corrupt, serving only the powerful/patriarchs and demeaning and devaluing the women by trying to bind them to “family honor” and unhappy marriages. Why should such a society be more important?

        You talk about damage to children in single parent family? What about damage to children in families with an abusive parent/husband/father? A responsible single parent home is far better than an abusive 2-parent one.


    • ” recognition of marital rape will strike on the institution of marriage”

      Why? Do you consider the institution of marriage to include rape? How ridiculous. I manage to be married to my husband without raping him. This law only strikes the marriages of rapists (which SHOULD be struck).


    • Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children! *roll eyes*

      Misogynists are always very worried about children, even at the cost of their mothers being raped or beaten (which must be great for children eh!). About half of these children grow up to be women again subject to rape and abuse that people like anon are defending for the sake of ‘children’. The irony!

      Liked by 1 person

      • And the other half grow up to be men who think that abusing a woman is OK. I recently saw this Pakistani play “Kankar” which deals with domestic violence and how an abusive mentality is fostered. Fantastic play, IMHO. Deals with this issue superbly. Highly recommend watching it – it is on Youtube.


  5. Our government will never let marital rape be criminalized because then more than half of them will be behind bars as soon as it is amended. And the other reason for not criminalizing marital rape is that by doing so they’ll allow more power and rights for females which will be a threat to the existing male-dominant society.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aha! I get it, it just a round about way of saying “Say NO to Marriage” (sarcasm intended). I think thats wonderful, as I can hope that this will pave the way to do away with the institution that is nonsensical, steeped in misogyny and poses a threat to everything a woman needs and wants in her life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is exactly what I was thinking yesterday. If we use reasoning –
      – rape that happens in marriage is not a crime
      – a married woman who is raped has no legal recourse nor can she protect herself from continued occurrence of the crime
      – if you get married in India, you are signing up for potential rape, because the government clearly tells you that your rape is less important that your marriage


  6. Oh c’mon its simple, if women were not forced to be in marriages but various means,pressure etc., half of them would flee, no stigma to divorce will ensure 50% of the men get dumped 🙂
    marital rape criminalized there goes the sex for 50% of men 🙂
    why on earth would a male dominant patriarchal society like i the one we have agree to this , it’s basically digging their own graves.
    men have guarded their rights for centuries, trampling over women if reqd, not likely to give up that pleasure so easily…


  7. Wow! its just amazing to see “Sacred” and “Rape” used in the same sentence to make it seem like its an absolute truth. I guess we can finally conclude that what Society sees as Sacred, is Rape(a metaphor for everything that is a crime against humanity).


  8. Checklist:

    1) Legal protection from (non-marital) rape : Yes
    2) Legal protection from sexual harassment : Yes
    3) Legal protection from domestic violence: Yes
    4) Legal protection from marital rape: No

    1) Legal protection from (non-marital) rape : No
    2) Legal protection from sexual harassment : No
    3) Legal protection from domestic violence: No
    4) Legal protection from marital rape: No


  9. If lack of consent is rape, then I think I have committed marital rape a few times. Shouldn’t the definition of rape involve an expression saying “NO” to sexual advance. Not a rhetorical question, I am actually trying to understand here.


    • One reason is that the person might not be able to say no . Think inebriation, a minor who doesn’t understand what’s happening, or a disabled person.


  10. Is society and its so called regulations more important than the individual?

    Hell no…

    Though we should contribute and support other members in the society we live, it should not mean that society needs to dictate what kind of life we should live.

    And having forced sex is wrong…it seems like disrespect to one’s body. When having sex, both should be on board.


  11. 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

  12. 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

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