Marriage is a very pure bond of two human beings based on their mutual love and respect for each other. When it comes to my opinion on marriage I completely agree with a dialogue in a famous Indian movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna Kehte hain shaadi ki buniyaad sirf aur sirf beinteha mohhabat honi chaahiye kyunki agar buniyaad galat ho to rishte toot jaate hain (A marriage should always be based on immense love for each other ’cause a relationship based on anything else can’t survive long). In our Indian society, often marriages are ‘arranged’ by the parents of a girl and a boy. The girl’s family generally considers a boy who is earning well and has some family property a good match for their girl while the boy’s family often looks for a good looking girl who can cook and do other household chores efficiently as being a perfect match for their boy. So, you can understand very well, love is something most ignored when we talk about marriage in India.
In such a scenario, often couples find it difficult to adjust with each-other after marriage. The situation becomes terrible especially for women when they get trapped in a bad or abusive marriage. One such very less talked about the issue which women trapped in abusive marriages face is marital rapes. Yes, you heard it right, a woman getting raped almost every day inside her own home by her own husband. This feels so scary, doesn’t it? Just imagine the helplessness of the woman who can’t raise a voice against the cruelty she is facing because her perpetrator is none other than her own spouse! In case a woman is living with her in-laws, the in-laws also support their son and his acts. Even her own parents often tell the woman, learn to ‘adjust’. Surprisingly rape or forced sex in a marriage is often considered something very normal and natural. A woman’s consent is often taken for granted. If the husband is in the mood to do it, he does it without considering the mood and other things about his wife. Marital rapes are often accompanied by physical violence against the woman. The pathetic and heart-breaking reality of many Indian households.
Like all other crimes against women in India, marital rapes problem can also be solved by giving the right upbringing and education to boys. It all starts with the parents telling their boys, ‘You are a boy, you can do anything. You are strong, you can not cry like girls. You should never do any household chores as they are to be done only by women. Your wife should always respect and obey you’ and so on. All this builds up to toxic masculinity in boys from a young age. This must be stopped. If parents start telling things like, ‘Both the genders are equal. You must respect all girls. Stand up for them if you see them being mistreated. Help your mom and later your wife in doing household chores. There’s nothing wrong with crying when you are hurt’ and other positive and gender-neutral things. Please train your boys to be good human beings and respecting hubbies.
We can only expect to see some betterment in the condition of women in our country if we start trying to bridge the huge gender gap seen from ages in our society. We must encourage our girls to be economically independent before we marry them off. We must also be always there to support them in case they face any problem in their lives. Marrying them should never mean to get rid of the burden to any parents whether in a city or in a village. Similarly, boys must be trained to be self-dependent by learning basic life skills like cooking, cleaning, raising kids etc. They must also be trained to be sensitive and caring human beings instead of being strong and showing their strength by being abusive.
I don’t see the logic behind Indian law not considering marital rape as a crime. Marriage is in no way a license for a man to have forced sex with a woman against her wishes. Men need to understand this and our law needs to criminalize this. Women must empathize and acknowledge the need to help other women trapped in an abusive marriage. May the women find the strength to walk out of an abusive relationship. We as fellow women and as a society must give all possible support to such women. Let’s fight together and criminalize this crime called marital rape.