What is a Marriage Strike?

Feminists are concerned that if marital rape is made a crime, it will provide Indian women the opportunity to misuse the legislation by falsely accusing their husbands. A summary of the history may shed light on whether these concerns are genuine or not.


On January 11, the Delhi High Court’s two-judge bench of Justice Rajiv Shaker and C Hari Shankar decided to hear cases challenging Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, the phrase “without your consent” is not included in the section of the Indian Penal Code that defines rape and consent. This exception to IPC 375 states that sexual intercourse between a man and his wife is not considered rape if she is under the age of 15. This legislation legalizes men’s consensually or non-consensually having sex with their wives.

In other words, the husband essentially has a right to do whatever he wants to his wife’s body after marriage, regardless of her consent or bodily autonomy. To put it plainly, marriage is a way for a man to acquire a license to take over ownership of a woman’s body for his sexual pursuits.

In the above scenario, words like rape and sexual abuse are intended to be used for unmarried women. As a result, in this portion, the consent of a wife is assumed not to exist in a marriage.

Section 375, which discriminates.

Section 375 distinguishes between married and unmarried women; At the same time, there are rules to protect an unmarried woman; Section 375 fails to safeguard married women from marital rape by providing ‘marriage implies implied consent as a legal definition.

Those who are against this exception argue that it is unconstitutional and dreadful, as it disregards the consent of married women. On the other hand, men’s rights activists have threatened to denounce marriage if such a proposal is legalized.

But if the proposed law is only meant to protect women, how will men be affected? The answer can be found in Section 375 which, like most other penal laws passed by the British colonialists, has remained largely unchanged even after 73 years of independence. In contrast, marital rape was criminalized in the UK in 1994.

The case of Dilip Pandey and others vs. The State of Chhattisgarh.

The shocking case of Justice NK Chandravanshi in the Dilip Pandey and others versus The State of Chhattisgarh is one illustration. In August 2021, the Chattisgarh High Court acquitted a man from being charged with raping his The judge referred to the exemption in Section 375, saying, “in this case, the complainant is the lawfully married wife. Therefore, sexual intercourse or any sexual act with her by the husband would not constitute an offense of rape, even if it was without her consent.” accomplished against her will.”

This case is noteworthy since it demonstrates how, like many other defective laws before it, Section 375 inhibits women’s control over their bodies. In Indian culture, consent is given the least significance. It isn’t simply a case of disregarding the wife’s permission; rather, the court has ruled that the institution of marriage invalidates the wife’s agency.

The Indian Penal Code has been enacted for160 years, and its effects can be seen deeply ingrained in the minds of men across generations in Indian society.

Why is #MarriageStrike trending on social media?

On January 19, the Union government notified the court to speed up the investigation into whether or not marital rape should be criminalized. The hashtag #Marriage Strike began trending on Twitter a day later.

The #MarriageStrike hashtag was started by men to decry the government’s proposed decision to criminalize marital rape. They believed that if it were illegal, women would be able to file false cases.

The many tweets that use the hashtag Marriage Strike show that most men are afraid and insecure. The belief that all women would file false cases is misogynistic and based on a fear of men losing their power in a household.

The 2019-20 National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) states that over 30 percent of women in five out of 22 States/Union Territories have experienced spousal violence. The statistics surrounding spousal violence are horrifying, which makes it all the more shameful that men see themselves as victims if marital rape is criminalized.

If these men’s rights activists could see the issue from the perspective of a father, brother, friend, or ally, would they still side with their male relatives? When they learn about the traumatic and unfair experiences that their female relatives have gone through, will these men continue to support them?

Women in India are staging a protest against marital rape.

India is one of 36 countries that have not criminalized marital rape. Society always sees consent in black and white as a mere yes or no, but this does not acknowledge the power dynamics at play.

Unfortunately, the fact is that a woman’s consent is frequently disregarded. The Section 375 ban must be reversed. It considers a married lady her husband’s property, limiting her autonomy and basic rights by restricting her bodily freedom.

It is important to note that on February 2, the Union Minister of Women and Children’s Development, Smriti Irani spoke in the Rajya Sabha, saying, ‘every man is not a rapist.’ At the same time, she said, ‘protection of women and children should be a priority for all. Intriguingly, a minister who upholds women’s rights made a contradictory statement trivializing the crux of the problem by making it an issue of men vs. women.

Ultimately, it all comes down to one thing: this commotion is confined to the city area alone.

However, it is important to remember that even if the legislation passes, as long as patriarchy exists, The current power dynamics in our society will continue to exist. Women will continue to suffer as a result. They are built by their husbands.

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