Extending the protection from domestic violence to marital rapes

Rishika Khare

Domestic violence is one of the very common forms of violence in a family and in an intimate partner relationship. Despite the different laws in specific jurisdiction, the rate of domestic violence is fairly prevalent in almost all classes of the society. To reflect on the question ‘what more can be done to address domestic violence’, this article deals with the specific issue of marital rape to be defined as domestic violence in law. The article advocates that marital rape is the violation of human rights of women and to ensure true equality in the modern society marital rape should be criminalised. The article, in the first section, focuses on the growing issue of domestic violence as a hindrance to full enjoyment of human right and how it has been on going in the patriarchal society of India. The second section underlines the origin of marital rape exemption and discusses theories for and against the need to criminalise marital rape. The third section specifically examines the incidents of marital rape in India, and why a complex social structure of Indian society needs criminalisation of marital rape to fulfil the International Law and Constitutional obligations. The last section, summaries the arguments to do away with the exemption of marital rape, to ensure domestic violence is address in an improved way.

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