Make Marital Rape Illegal

Anti-Rape Protest in India

Target: President of India Pranab Mukherjee

Goal: Reverse the decision to keep marital rape out of India’s legal definition of criminal rape.

The Indian Parliament has recently decided that marital rape should not be included in the country’s legal definition of rape and, therefore, cannot be a criminal offense. The country’s union minister for women and child development has stated that she did not believe marital rape could be enforced in India “due to various factors such as the level of education/illiteracy, poverty, a myriad of social customs and values, religious beliefs, and a mindset of the society to treat marriage as a sacrament.”

Parliament issued a similar statement as well. It cited the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, which states that married citizens must have sex if their partner requests it and is typically invoked when men want to divorce their wives for withholding sex. Until four years ago, the act of women denying their husbands sex was considered “cruelty” in the eyes of the government.

Parliament also went on to say that any movement to make marital rape illegal had “the potential of destroying the institution of marriage.” Sign the petition below to urge the Indian government to change its decision and make marital rape illegal.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Mukherjee,

Marital rape should be seen as a crime in India. The number of women in India who are sexually assaulted by their husbands is 40 times higher than the number of women who are sexually assaulted by others. Considering that an average of 93 women are raped in India every day, the number of women attacked by their husbands must be shockingly high.

There are many grotesque cases of rape, including one where a baby was thrown out of a bus by two men as they raped its mother. The men were arrested, but the women assaulted by their husbands have no voice.

It’s possible that the number of women raped by their husbands would drop significantly if marital rape was considered a criminal offense. The law would cause husbands to rethink and to treat their wives with respect and love. Marital rape is even seen as an inevitable part of marriage–something that a wife will not be able to escape if she “isn’t a good wife to her husband and subservient to him.” I urge you to reconsider your decision and make marital rape a criminal offense.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jim Ankan Deka

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