In India, a shocking 98 percent of rapes are committed against women by their husbands, yet, despite this horrifying statistic, all of these rapists are able to avoid punishment. According to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, a man cannot rape his wife, even if he engages in sexual intercourse with her without her consent.
But women’s rights activists are trying to change that. They’ve argued that a woman’s right to choose whether or not she would like to have sex is solely hers, and have told the Delhi High Court that more than 50 other nations have criminalized the practice.
What has the government said in response? In an almost unbelievable rebuttal, they contend that: “The fact that other countries, mostly Western, have criminalized marital rape does not necessarily mean India should also follow them blindly,” and that criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage.”
These excuses are both retrograde and dangerous. The Indian government needs to protect the rights of women to say no, even if it is to their husband.