ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Marital Rape

The article written by Flavia Agnes (“Section 498A, Marital Rape and Adverse Propaganda,” EPW, 6 June 2015 ) opens a fresh debate raising some relevant questions regarding the shortcomings of our legal system in handling gender assaults like marital rape. The article rightly highlights how in our male-dominant society, ridden with orthodox patriarchal values, women’s sexual oppression is reinforced by rationalising the chastity of marriage. Just being someone’s husband cannot provide legitimisation or rationality for sexual abuse as well as the brutal use of physical power. Marriage cannot be considered as an institution where a woman has to sacrifice herself entirely, physically, mentally and socially, to the whims of her husband. A woman’s consent to have sex or not should be perceived as her vital right from which she cannot be deprived even after marriage.

Rape cannot be considered a sexual intercourse between two partners, rather it is just an act as the subject is not involved in it, there is no partnership. It can only be considered as an act of aggression whether within or outside marriage. Marital rape is also an act of aggression and oppression. It is a crime directed against a gender, it is both an assault on a woman’s body as well as honour. Forcing a woman to have sex after her marriage is brutalising her just for being a woman, therefore it should be considered a heinous crime. Relaxing or opposing the provisions of Section 498A would be legitimising deep-rooted crimes against women.

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