Last month, in judgement, the Kerala High Court said treating a wife’s body as something the husband owns and committing a sexual act against her could be termed “marital rape”.
“In this instance, the respondent was forced to seek divorce due to the husband’s unquenchable need for cash and sex. The appellant’s licentious and wasteful behaviour cannot be regarded as typical in a relationship. As a result, we have no trouble believing that a spouse’s obsessive desire for cash and sex is likewise cruelty “, according to the court.
Whereas the Chhattisgarh HC order says, ‘sexual act with wife is not rape, even if forced.’
Justice N K Chandravanshi relied upon an exception under Section 375 of the IPC, which states that “sexual intercourse or sexual act by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
The judge, hence, noted, “in this case, complainant is legally wedded wife of applicant No. 1, therefore, sexual intercourse or any sexual act with her by the applicant No. 1/husband would not constitute an offence of rape, even if it was by force or against her wish.”
The wife claims she was exposed to cruelty, violence, and dowry harassment in the days following her marriage. She has also claimed that her spouse had unnatural physical relationships with her, like inserting fingers and radish in her private parts despite her protests.
According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) study from 2013, which covered over 9,200 men and 3,100 women, from seven Indian states, 75% of men expected their partners to agree to sex, 50% didn’t expect their partners to use contraceptives without their permission, 2 out 5 men stated that women shouldn’t either be seen or heard, 60% men admitted to using violence to assert their dominance over their partner if the woman either expressed her desire to step out of the traditional role assigned to her or was unable to meet the expectations of bearing a son.
52% of women reported going through some form of violence during their lifetime, 38% suffered physical violence, including being kicked, beaten, choked and burned, 35% spoke of being subjected to emotional violence, including insults, intimidation and threats.
The study titled “Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India” concluded that the average Indian man was convinced that masculinity was about acting tough, freely exercising his privilege to lay down the rules in personal relationships, and, above all, controlling women.