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UP Wife’s Demands for Justice Remains Unheard as India Lacks Marital Rape Laws

A woman in Uttar Pradesh has been a victim of forced sexual intercourse by her husband while the law does not consider it “rape”.

“He ties my hands and feet and has forced sex with me and thrashes me badly after that,” said a woman from Uttar Pradesh who was forced to have sex with her husband. But this is not considered “rape” because according to Exception 2 to Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 375, forced sexual intercourse with a woman by a man is not “rape” if the accused is her husband. 

Unwilling sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife over 15 years of age is immunized from prosecution as it does not fit the definition of “rape” because of the exception in Section 375. 

5.4% of Indian women say that they are forced to have intercourse with their husbands despite multiple refusals, according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4). The current law states that if a couple enters into a marital relation, then the wife’s consent to have sex with her husband is presumed. “This started soon after marriage, and has gone so bad that I don’t have the capacity to tolerate any more. At times he does it from behind or in other ways, which is beyond tolerance,” said the victim. 

According to NFHS-4 17.7% of Indian men believe that it is their right to have forced physical relations with their wives. “I went to Krishna Nagar station, women’s cell. There is no police station where I haven’t approached. But no one listened to us. I sent an application to the District Magistrate's office also, but there was no action from there too. The police said it is a family affair and must resolve it amongst husband and wife,” said the victim regarding her failed efforts to take any legal action. 

However, the marital rape is considered a form of sexual violence and domestic violence and the accused can be tried under their respective sections of the IPC. Union of India's response in Delhi High Court on a petition said that if a law is passed on marital rape, then the institution of marriage will collapse and it will become an easy weapon for harassment of husbands.

On the other hand, the victim demanding justice, said, “I don’t want to stay with him, I am somehow bringing up my children by doing household jobs, but I don’t want to live with him. I want that such offenders, whether he is my husband or even my father, there should be strict legal action against him.”

Video by Community Correspondent Amit Kumar Mishra

Article by Kavyasri Srinath, member of VV Editorial Team

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