According to a study released by the International Center for Research on Women, one in every five Indian men have forced their wives into sex.
According to the first large studies of rape and sexual violence, about one in 10 men in parts of Asia admitted of raping a woman who was not their partner. And the figures for rape were even higher, when their wife or girlfriend was included.
In the Quantitative Findings from the UN Multi-country Study nearly one out of four men in Asia confessed of committing a rape and marital rape was by far the most common type of rape, followed by the rape of an intimate partner.
The study was conducted by talking to 10,000 men from six Asian countries – Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. Reportedly, the word ‘rape’ was not used in the questions, but the men were asked if they had ever forced a woman to have sex when she wasn’t willing or if they had ever forced sex on someone who was too drunk or drugged to consent.
However, the justification given by the surveyed men for their act was ‘sexual entitlement’- the ‘credence that men had the liberty to sex regardless of consent’ and what came out to be more shocking was that half of them said they committed their first rape as teenagers.
Though, India was not a part of the survey; however, if it would have been included, the figures would have been higher than what have been reported now as in India the law says ‘sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape’ and cannot be counted as a crime.
In 2011, a similar study released by the International Center for Research on Women, a Washington-based non-profit, said one in every five Indian men surveyed admitted to forcing their wives into sex.
A previous report from the World Health Organization found one-third of women worldwide say they have been victims of domestic or sexual violence.
According to Hindu traditional beliefs, refusing to sex is against the responsibilities of an ideal wife and it is commonly seen that the courts allows a divorce on the argument that a wife denied her husband sexual intercourse.
Criminalizing marital rape was among the proposals of the Verma Committee, a three-member panel formed to suggest amendments to India’s sexual assault laws. However, the government rejected this suggestion, saying this move has the potential of destroying the institution of marriage.
I agree to the fact that amending Hinduism laws is near to impossible in India given to the fact that religion is a capricious subject in the country. But I would like to question the government and judiciary that how can forced sex, even with wife, would strengthen the institution of marriage and lead to a happy married life?
Rape is rape; there are no exceptions to it and turning a blind eye towards the problem will not lead to any solution.