“Marital rape is not a husband’s privilege, but rather a violent act and an injustice that must be criminalized,” said a Gujarat High Court.

Sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the consent of the spouse is termed as Marital Rape or Spousal Rape. It does not necessarily involve violence but the lack of consent is the essential element and marital rape is hence considered as one of the forms of sexual abuse and domestic violence. There was a time in history when sexual intercourse between spouses was considered as a right of a spouse but engaging in the act without the consent of the spouse is now considered by the society and the law as a crime. It has been recognized as rape by various international conventions around the world.

It is very important to teach the meaning and importance of consent to people but when the consent of a person is disregarded by the members of their family, it leads to the hideous crimes of domestic and social violence. There are various international organizations across the world have tried to criminalize the act when it first got attention internationally during the second half of the 20th century. There are countries that have criminalized marital rape but there are countries where it is widely tolerated and not even considered as a crime. India is one such country where marital rape is not considered a crime.

It seems that the hope for criminalizing marital rape is false. If marital rape is criminalized in India, it would be a great step towards empowering the women of the country. There might be people who don’t support marital rape publicly for fear of apprehension, hatred and damage to reputation and public image but people don’t publicly oppose it either. It is only lack of knowledge which makes people ignorant towards the concept of consent. The reason behind marital rape not being a criminal offence in India is the illiteracy rate, poverty and strong religious beliefs in the country and the fact that the marriage itself is inviolable.

On an average, almost 5.4 per cent of a married woman are the victims of the sexual violence from their partners. Almost 2.5 per cent married women are forced to have sex without their consent and almost 3.5 per cent married women are threatened to have sex without her consent. The impacts of marital rape are traumatizing and devastating. Marital rape to women has tremendously increased the rate of miscarriages and suicides by women.

When a person, in India or anywhere where marital rape is not a crime, does not consider it important to seek the consent of their spouse for sex, does it make marriage a contract for sex? It is shocking that marital rape is not considered a crime in India while several countries have criminalized the act. The husband who commits marital rape is charged with a minor offence of cruelty for which he can be imprisoned for a period of three years if proven guilty. There remains no law to protect married women in India against sexual abuse and domestic violence. The only protection a woman subjected to marital rape can seek is a restraining order under the legislation for domestic violence. The question which still remains unanswered is that how do we define the rape of an unmarried woman or a married woman? Does rape get any less criminal if the woman is married and the man who raped her is her husband?

What do you think should be the punishment for marital rape?

let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


10 thoughts on “MARITAL RAPE IN INDIA

  1. Spouse rape, I believe, is definitely a crime and should be treated as such. I think it only became illegal in the UK in 1996, which is younger that Taylor Swift. I found that comparison very fascinating.

    India has just legalised being gay, which is a massive step forward. You would hope that started something moving like to get more equality in the daily lives between genders. But then again criminalising spouse rape only benefits women, while legalising homosexuality benefits both men and women 🤷‍♀️ There is always issues with gender equality. And men always comes first no matter how equal you are. But it just gets worse when you are neither man nor woman.

    It’s an interesting discussion and thanks for providing me with your insight in this blog 😊


  2. I recently saw someone (a guy) describing spousal rape as akin to going to the dentist. You don’t want to but you have to and I just… well, I had to turn the computer off but unfortunately that’s the way a lot of people still think. I also have to wonder even in places where it’s illegal how many cases don’t get reported?
    I think it should be treated and punished just like any other rape.
    Very good information. I hope things start to change.


    1. You don’t want to but you have to?! Is this some kind of obligation to sustain a marriage or something?! It is even worse when it comes from educated people! What do we expect from the uneducated then? I think many cases don’t get reported due to fear of victim shaming.


  3. Rape no matter the relationship or lack of is rape. It is a violent crime. Not making love which is between consenting adults. Rape is a serious crime. The motivation behind it can be very disturbing. The penalty should go with the severity of the crime. Forced to have sex can not be treated the same way as someone who is severely physically harmed. Not making light of any but the worse the crime the worse the punishment. Prison without parole for a set guideline of years. I’m not going to be judge and jury but this is a serious crime permanently changing the victim. No circumstance should ever be a gateway to rape. Like marriage. It is a violent crime. The end.


  4. Thank you for liking my views on Greece. Too much credit is given to Greece and Rome as if they started everything. The archaeologist Charles Bonnet found evidence about Kerma. The people thrived long before ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians called Kerma Kush whereas the bible called it Cush. Most people aren’t familiar with Cush at all, but they can tell you about the Celts, and other Europeans. We can learn something every day. Take care.


  5. Very Deep post focusing on naked truth of the society…Rape is rape, whether it is with wife or with known…. by the way Marital rape is due to possessiveness of man on his wife… mostly in these kind of marriages there is no love no understanding, man only knows he possess wife as a commodity, he never consider her as a person… the whole society is responsible for this kind of happenings… Rape is not a way of making love- the woman is screaming, she is shouting and trying to escape…it cannot be love…
    You know what, very big mistake done by so well educated societies is, somewhere in the minds of the youth, the male youth, society have inserted the idea that the female is an object, a thing that one can possess… In the deep psychological structure of human mind there is an idea that a woman is a commodity, it is deeply implanted in people’s mind.
    We don’t want to destroy the root, we just want to prune the surface because right now it hurts us. That is not a solution.. the fundamental thing is that one wants to possess, humiliate, and subjugate another human being… This is happening because of a certain level of inadequacy, a certain level of incompleteness from within…One thinks by possessing something or someone he will be complete or feel better… Solution is not the revenge, the right solution is to transform man… the male youth.. Human have to go beyond the physicality of the life and to experience the beautiful connection with other beings so as to love them, understand them and respect them…


  6. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know this was the situation in India or that there was even a term for this, so this was very enlightening. Rape is rape, no matter what, and not only should sex be consensual, but DESIRED BY ALL PARTS. So the punishment should be the same in any case, in my opinion.


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