A recent news item that appeared in a leading English daily under the heading ‘Can’t criminalize marital rape as marriage sacred in India’ created an uproar across the country with women activists criticizing the view of the government quite openly. While no personal law encourages force on a wife within marriage, the issue of making marital rape law has stirred a debate.
Leading family court lawyers say that while violence in a marriage cannot be countenanced; such legislation can clash with laws that permit restitution of conjugal rights within a marriage. All these arguments and debates make one think at the plight of those women who over a period of years, must have borne acts of mental torture & moral desecration by their husbands especially since the husbands asserted this as their right. Just imagine! how many of those women must have cried in pain and heaved with a heavy heart because of this cruel act by their own husbands?
Again, how many millions of women must have suffered unbearable insults, incarceration, persecution, inhuman treatment and deep mental agony when their husbands indulged into acts of the slaughter of the former’s conscience by their wanton acts of rape simply because the latter thought that they had the sanction of the custom!
If one goes by the latest statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every day around 93 women are raped and there has been a gradual increase in the number of rapes reported in India – from 24,923 in 2012 to 33,707 in 2013. The most horrifying fact is that in these cases 94% of offenders were familiar with the accused, which includes neighbours, other known persons, relatives and parents. Some people suggest that the cutting edge of the law should be made sharper to prevent such offences. However, they do not realise that what is required utmost is the change in attitudes & not change in-laws. And the attitudinal change requires the change in the wrong belief that man, by an old outdated custom, has the conjugal right and that sexual activity with one’s wife, without her consent, is not rape.
In a patriarchal society, a word is passed from father to son and from one generation to another that a husband has full rights to behave with his wife in any tortuous manner if his wife does not offer herself to him to bear the brunt of his inflamed sex-lust whatever be the voice of her conscience or the state of her health. Thus it should not be hard to imagine the horrible plight of women in the world. Its high time that society wakes up to these atrocities towards women by making efforts to change the attitudes of men towards them.
There is a strong need for the spiritual orientation of man because he may be civilised, but he needs to be civilised now. And in this effort, he should be given the right understanding that a sexual relationship with his wife without her consent is rape & murder of her conscience. So let us all come together to put a stop to this age-old custom of considering feminine gender as secondary to the masculine gender & start practising equality of gender at our own home’s first because Charity begins at Home.