Today’s Needull is a follow-up on my answer on Quora to ‘What are some facts about India that Indians are generally unaware about?’.
As per United Nations Populations Fund, 75% of married Indian women are subjected to ‘marital rape’ and despite that, it is not a punishable criminal offence in India.
Due to religious and cultural curtains on our minds, both the ‘rapist’ and the ‘victim’ are convinced that there is nothing wrong in the act. Read through the comments in the above link and you’ll realize most people see criminalisation of marital rape as an attack on their culture and the sanctity of the institution of marriage. This mentality was true in case of ‘domestic violence’ till a few decades ago (and maybe still is in rural hinterlands) wherein wives considered a few punches from their husbands as an acceptable act. So, if ‘domestic violence’ is punishable now, why not ‘domestic sexual abuse’?
The myth of the ‘wifely duty’ and the ‘conjugal right’ must end because marital sex, as all sex, must be with mutual consent and pleasure.
Today’s Needull, an article from NPR, talks about this very mentality of Indians and the implications of Indian government’s denial to recognize the seriousness of this issue. Refusing to criminalise marital rape is to accept that sexual coercion against a woman, so long as it is within a marriage, will be endorsed by both government and society. And that is quite disturbing if you delve deeper in it.