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NO LAW? Know it instead!

  • JWB Post
  •  May 18, 2014

In many Indian marriages, a woman is raped by her husband, and she has no support from her family members, her kith and kin, the society or even her close friends. No one seems to realize that a rape by a husband is as traumatic as committed by a stranger. 

Firstly, let’s get clear with its definition. Marital rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse. It is a form of the domestic violence, and it is the sexual abuse. Women who are raped by their husbands are likely to be raped many times.

Any law for Marital Rape?

According to section 375, Indian Penal Code:

“A person is said to commit ‘Sexual Assault’ with or without the other person’s consent, when such other person is less than 18 years of age.” However, this law makes an exception in the case of marital rape if the wife is over 15. It simply says that even forced sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is over 15 years old, is not a rape.

So now the question is: Do women lose human rights after marriage? If rape is a crime then why marital rape is still not considered as a crime under IPC?

A new study has revealed that 26 percent of women in Pune, 23 percent in Bhubaneswar and 16 percent in Jaipur often have sex with husbands against their desire. The findings by International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) show drinking to be the biggest reason for the rampant and large-scale victimization of urban poor women in marriages.

BUT THERE IS A WAY…

Although there is no law at present to identify marital rape, the Domestic Violence Act 2001 does cover sexual, verbal, emotional & economic abuse as a part of the violence against women. This law can be used as a weapon by women, when suffering with a rape in the marriage.

The other law  – Section 498A defines ‘Cruelty’ very generally, as any act that is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life. As a result, it is left to the judgement of a police officer to assess the complaint and take action accordingly.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013

This new Act has expressly recognized certain acts as offenses, which were dealt under related laws. These new offenses like acid attack, sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking have been incorporated into the Indian Penal Code.

Few other definitions to be armed with:

Redefined Rape:  According to the Criminal Law (Amendment), not just penovaginal intercourse but also the insertion of any object or any other body part into woman’s vagina, urethra or anus and oral sex without her consent is categorized as Rape. And when it comes to age, intercourse with a woman under 18, whether she has consented or not is regarded as rape.

Stalking: Stalking includes the act of following a girl, when she has shown disinterest. E-stalking: Monitoring a woman’s activity online when she checks mails or browses has been punishable. Repeated stalking in order to establish contact with a woman is a crime.

Voyeurism: Voyeurism refers to watching or capturing a woman in a “private act“ where:

  1. Victim’s genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear.
  2. The victim is using a lavatory or taking bath.
  3. The person is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.

These offences are now non-bailable & can result in a jail term of 3 to 7 years.

Stripping: The amendment law criminalizes the forced stripping of a woman with a minimum jail for three years with the maximum of seven.

The amendment into the law for the protection of women has been made, however, it is now upon us whether we can do the most of it. Knowing the circumstances & opting for the right option is what we need to do for our own self. The law is made for the safety but it will work only when we initiate the action and raise our voice.

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