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  • Marital rape, an issue which long been disregarded, has never been paid the heed that it truly deserves. The pious nature that has long been attached to marriages in India, coupled with the shame that has been attached to rape, has discouraged women from speaking up on this traumatic occurrence.
  • Women who find the courage to report the same are laughed at by the authorities, are said things like ‘katore mai bhar ke consent de di jab saat phere liye’, “you’ll file a case against your own husband?”, “Husband hai to rape kaise hua?”. It is statements like these, made not just by the authorities but society in general that have shielded the ignorance shown by the Legislature when it has not even considered the fact that marital rape is something that is actually happening and it is high time that the same is addressed.
  • In a bunch of petitions seeking the criminalisation of marital rape in Inida, one of them being RIT Foundation vs. Union of India, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves has argued that marital rape is the biggest form of sexual violence against women in the matrimonial home, unrecorded and unreported.
  • The factual background of the case was also referred to by Gonsalves wherein a 27 year old woman was brutally raped by her husband and sustained very serious injuries in consequence of the assault. He also argued that in cases of marital rapes, no one ever helps the victim, neither the parents nor the authorities.
  • Various cases were also cited by Gonsalves in support of his contentions, one of them being the case of R vs. R in which the House of Lords held that a husband can be covicted of rape or attempted rape of his wife, overturning the old Common Law rule which stated that marriage automatically gave consent for sexual intercourse.
  • He then referred to the case of C.R. vs. United Kingdom where the European Commission of Human Rights held that a rapist remains a rapist regardless of his relationship with the victim.
  • The Supreme Court of Nepal has also held that a marriage does not turn women into slaves. They do not lose human rights just because they are married. To say that a husband cann rape his wife after marriage is to deny her independent existence, self- respect and her right to live with self determination.
  • Vermilion on the forehead or a mangalsutra on the neck should not become a symbol of the loss of all human rights that a woman is born with. The right to one’s own body is the most sacred of all human rights, and it is high time that the Courts and the Legislature of this great country pay heed to the pain that a woman suffers when she has to make sandwiches for her rapist every morning.
  • A country and a culture which takes pride in worshiping goddesses will have to do more than just say “husband hai to rape kaise hua?”.

And now, a question for our aspirants-

State the name of the case wherein the Hon’ble SC has increased the age of wife from 15 to 18 years in Exception 2 to Section 375

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