Does marriage sanction a right to abuse your spouse? Is marriage a license to have sex, no matter it is consensual or not?

The concept of marital rape has been disregarded in India under the belief that criminalising marital rape would affect the sacred nature of marriage in India. The very idea of criminalising marital rape is seen as a “western” concept by many. However, does that mean marital rape does not happen in India? There are many questions regarding how we as a society perceive marital rape, and we invited experts for a twitter discussion to throw some light on the issue.

The discussion was held on the topic ‘Why do we not consider marital rape as a crime?' with experts Ashwin Mohan and Scherry Siganporia on the panel, and people joined in to share their views and raise questions on the issue. The conversation revolved around questions on whether marital rape is a crime, why is it not considered as a crime, what are the stigmas attached to it, and how the mindset of people regarding marital rape can be changed. Here are few points from the conversation:

The discussion highlighted key issues in accepting and recognising marital rape as a crime in India. There are stigmas attached to the concept of rape within a marriage that cannot be undone unless people realise that no marriage can be sacred if it involves heinous acts like rape, be it on men or on women. Our experts pointed out that first, non-consensual sex within a marriage needs to be considered as rape, and only then will people realise that it is a crime. Besides, to tackle sexual offences within marriages, authorities too need to recognise and criminalise marital rape. Stringent laws, awareness and open discussions can help addressing the issue of marital rape.

If you have any opinions on the issue, feel free to write to us.

More about the Experts:

Ashwin Mohan is an activist working towards gender equality. He is a trustee at the non-profit Na Boli trust and he creates free programmes on handling consent and rejection so that such issues can be handled with non-violence. He is also a keen observer of the ways in which patriarchy operates.

Scherry Siganporia is Technical Advisor, and a Gender Equality and Human Rights Expert. She has worked extensively towards social transformation in HIV/AIDS and Health sector in India, women's and children's safety and social empowerment, and gender sensitisation. She also helped set up the first ever helpline for drug addiction and substance abuse.


Views expressed here are of the author alone and do not necessarily represent that of the brand.

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