Men’s rights activists protest the introduction of marital rape law in India
A 2018 Thomson Reuters study found India to be the most dangerous country in the world for women, due to the high risk of sexual violence and the likelihood of women being forced into exploitative bondage. debts.
According to a 2016 Indian government study, more than 30% of 610,000 women surveyed in five Indian states had experienced physical or sexual abuse from their spouses, according to a 2016 Indian government study. This figure rose to 44% and 40% in the states of Karnataka and Bihar, respectively.
Any suggestion that Indian women make false reports of sexual assault against their husbands is “a lie” and instead the rape of Indian women is vastly underreported, said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, an Indian women’s rights leader. organization.
Indian society is inherently patriarchal and in poorer rural areas it is common for women to move in with their husbands and in-laws, making them vulnerable to abuse.
Many women rarely leave their homes, let alone their villages, and do not have the financial means or the social support to file a complaint with the courts or the police against their husbands.
The Indian government is keen to enforce current legislation to appeal to the majority of Indian male voters at the polls, Ms Krishnan suggests.
“The current government of India is a far-right Hindu supremacist, which is deeply anti-feminist in its ideology. It is therefore not surprising that she defends [colonial]-era of marital exception as a crucial pillar of the ‘sacred institution’ of Indian marriage,” she said.
“Patriarchal Assumptions [in India] however, creating an unfair situation where the complainant herself is judged and harassed and shamed in the courtroom. This is why Indian women are reluctant to file formal complaints.
Current Indian law is based on the “cover doctrine” – a British colonial-era law that consolidates a wife’s legal rights into those of her husband and prohibits him from engaging in activities against his husband’s will. husband.
There is a precedent for the reversal of colonial era laws in India. In September 2018, the Indian government legalized gay and same-sex relationships.
However, campaigners are skeptical marital rape will now be criminalized. The autocratic ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) wields considerable influence in Indian courts and its opposition to the criminalization of marital rape means the Delhi High Court is unlikely to take a different stance.
Women activists face an uphill battle to change the mindset of many Indians. On Monday, a group of men took to the streets of the tech hub of Bengaluru, widely regarded as one of the most progressive cities in the country.
Chanting slogans in favor of marital rape and waving banners with slogans such as “Down with the National Commission for Women”, they salute the position of the Indian government.
“There is an agenda of some political and feminist groups to attack communities and families,” said Anil Murty, co-founder of the Save Indian Family Foundation, an all-India men’s rights group.
“It will divide and destroy the social fabric of Indian society.”
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