Recently feminists have protested vigorously for the introduction of ‘Marital Rape’ in India. There is a blog that addresses this and advocates the same. This is an open letter to the blog writer who is promoting fresh legal terrorism in India –
You said, “in our laws wife is considered as a property to husband”. Good, even I am against it – so please abolish laws on maintenance that forces a husband to maintain a nonexistent wife and in Adultery law make wife punishable. Today, if the wife is given so many facilities from the husband that is because on marriage a husband becomes duty-bound to maintain his wife, including those who are working, adulterous leeches.
Regarding Pratiksha Baxi’s analysis – Per her argument, the basic premise of introducing ‘Marital Rape‘ is other countries have this provision. You all have started this debate afresh after Delhi incidence which has NO connection with ‘Marital Rape‘. How conveniently you are missing the fact that global laws on rape are gender-neutral including marital rape. There are women who are found raping men and boys and punished too. So need of the hour is to make the original rape law gender-neutral and punish (jail term) false complainants. I am not sure in an era when LGBT rights are talked of, demanded and ensured to a certain extent what is the problem of feminists like you to accept the hard reality, unless you want to save the criminals. The main argument of non-characterization of women-only means that even prostitutes can file rape cases without being raped. That only means putting a hard STOP to all kind of sexual activities in India. That will only make life miserable for all (including women who are having good sexual life today) and lead to increased violent crimes.
Now regarding the theory that women are always trafficked and forced into prostitution is also not valid nowadays. Many do this to earn some easy bucks and thanks to people like you, they still get equal or more honour compared to hard-working women who are decent and work hard to earn a living. Recently even Hon. Supreme Court has observed that a number of high society females are getting engaged in sex rackets and asked our govt. to curb that.
When one says “don’t judge us by what we wear and we are free to wear anything and everything anywhere”..I wonder how you want to control the civic sense of some women. Even men are NOT supposed to wear anything and everything in all places. I wonder how displaying private parts in public can be a rights issue. I wonder why anyone would want to promote voyeurism in that form.
This only shows that Pratiksha Baxi being a lawyer herself has some vested interest in bringing in this legislation and finds her legal business being inflated with the introduction of yet another section. Now coming back to your analysis, let’s discuss them pointwise –
First – How do you think that marital rape will be proved? Lawyers say these will be proved like in any normal rape case. How funny – In normal cases medical examination and proof of rape like sperm traces on the victim’s body, presence of the accused in the spot, inebriated state of the parties etc are seen. It is more likely that in a marital relationship all these pieces of evidence will be quite normal to be available. Then the only point of contention will be to prove the consent clause. In ALL such cases, it will be verbal. How do you expect anyone to prove? Now when tomorrow the conviction rate becomes abysmally low, people like you will again jam India gate demanding increasing conviction rate, judiciary reforms etc and accepting women’s verbal evidence or false affidavit as more powerful than anything else. This is what we have in stupid DV act. And then all husbands will be sent to jail simply on wife’s verbal evidence, and this will surely make all husbands a rapist.
In this argument, you have categorically demanded the introduction of criminal marital rape provisions saying DV Act is Civil (which is not, it conducted in criminal courts only punishment is payment of money and property in the form of maintenance. Again for not paying maintenance a husband is jailed). So you want to project all husbands as criminals rather than thinking about the possibility of a mismatch between sexual drives of two people. When a woman is nymphomaniac when you say don’t look at her sexual history or her sexual conduct then why you want to do the same for a man? Why not a peaceful divorce only? In a marital relationship most of the times we adjust with our partners and that is what love and understanding mean and that is what makes a long-standing relationship. By bringing in this element of criminalization you are striking on the basis of any happy marital life. This will surely break our families. Even if we have a regular quarrel with any of our neighbours we don’t easily go to the police or court. Why you want to bring such nuisance in our private life?
So it is evident that your argument is not only weak but is motivated to create a new business for advocates and other women NGOs (so we understand your money-making plan now).
Second – So you don’t agree with high misuse of family laws, 498a, DV, maintenance or adultery laws (even though u have not mentioned about other laws). Anyways I feel pity for your ignorance. Today, whenever a marriage breaks that becomes a problem of dowry, DV and others. We have also seen wives taking shelter under adultery laws and many children are cheated of their true identity.
With this so-called empowerment of women, you have given shelter to criminal women, helped in breaking Indian families and also promoted prostitution in our society. Now you are afraid of gender-neutral marital rape law because a wife can also be accused under the same. Question is why do you believe that women can’t have sex without man’s consent? It may so happen that the man is very tired after a hard working day but the wife wants sex and the husband has to comply. Don’t you think that is also the rape of the man?
Now for argument’s sake, I take your word that a few married women might have to have sex without their consent in some situations. Similarly, men also may have a similar situation. In these cases, if you want justice for the victim then why not suggest coming out of the relationship peacefully without sending anyone to jail? Because there may be the incompatibility of sexual desire between two partners and that will NOT be good to criminalize this offence if done by one partner (yes, even if the wife is offender).
The heavy misuse of family laws is only ‘SOME’ misuse to you. So, why not having punishment for these law misuses. You said ‘Lack of evidence’ is the reason for acquitting the accused. This only means without any substance women file such cases when they see their marriages breaking. Anyone giving the opportunity to legally extort money from others will do so unless prevented by strict punishment for misuses. So when we all can understand the ‘Marital Rape’ is also a potential act where proving will be next to impossible for lack of evidence, why bringing such a criminal act in our marital relationships when you can’t stop paternity fraud? This will only generate business for lawyers with NO recourse for anyone. And middlemen like you and your NGOs will earn heavy profit from both the parties.
3rd – While I agree that at times partners do go against their partner’s wish in sexual matters but that is both ways. Even many a time men do submit to many wishes of their wives. These incidents never become a criminal offence. Now people who wanted to bring in this legislation are all related to the legal profession and their entire family may be in that profession. So they have vested interest like you do in bringing in yet another legislation to loot every family.
Regarding proving marital rape, I have already explained earlier how it will get stuck to the consent clause and making it difficult to prove any such incidence.
Conclusion – In your conclusion, you said the first argument assumes that women are weak and are worse off by sending their husbands to jail. This only leads to the conclusion that you want these wives to send their husbands to jail and enjoy their money and property. Do you think these women will be happy ever? And the reason why today many of our sisters and daughters not getting married is because of these one-sided laws. Now no one trusts a girl and arranged marriages for girls have become SOOO very difficult. YOU are responsible for this situation and owe an explanation to those women and their families. This is another clear plan for extortion. This shows that people like you who advocate such provisions have only one thing in mind – extort money from ALL Indian families and making all our lives miserable while you earn a whole lot of money.
Now regarding your second point of ‘women being dishonest’ was construed because India has seen the misuse of dowry, maintenance and adultery laws over the years. Many people who fought for women’s rights in the country have realized the hard truth and they have realized that because there is NO punishment and always it will be ‘lack of evidence’ that will lead to the acquittal of the accused, these laws are not for any good and need to be scrapped immediately. So India is up against your planned extortion and criminalizing all Indian marriages.
Lastly, you blamed centuries of patriarchy for all these ‘stereotypes’. Well if patriarchy is bad why not scrapping maintenance and alimony clauses, why not making all laws gender-neutral and punish women for their offences. Why not punish the wife for her adultery? Why not forcing women to maintain their husbands, be a provider and protector for their families? Do you think India is ready for that? Hehe. I know you will not agree to any one of these because –
Patriarchy is never construed as bad when it provides free lunch to women or criminalize men just for being ‘men’.