Inside Magazine | Men Speak
How should rape or forced sex in marriage be addressed?
A research shows that people are more inclined to misbehave with their spouses…
Radio Presenter, Hits FM 91.2
In Nepal, we are taught to respect people, keep quiet, and take orders. We are never taught to take a stand against evil practices, or report incidents which disrupt our well-being. To end sexual violence – such as marital rape – one needs to be told that there is no denying wrong practices. One needs to speak up, share, and seek help from others if they face acts of violence. A research shows that people are more inclined to misbehave with their spouses, and indulge in forced sex if they are exposed to violence from a very early age. Therefore, people need to understand that violence witnessed at home modules a child’s mind to believe that violence is acceptable. This very thought transpires into gruesome acts like forced marriage sex. We also need to tear down the practice of silence to please the society. I have seen people keeping quiet about acts of marital rape to keep their family name intact. But dignity, protection and well-being of a person is more important than status or societal respect.
Director, FightBack/ PRisMs
Legally and punitively, both marital and non-marital rape must deserve the same sentencing, although neither should incur death penalty. Nepal, having quite a poor record in women’s welfare, new legislatorial reforms must be introduced with empathetic approach to dealing with rape trauma victims during registration, unbiased investigation, legal proceedings, justice delivery fast-tracking and psycho-social counselling. Socially and culturally, by duly regarding rape/marital rape as an outcome of psychopathic/sociopathic mindset, speedy punitive and/or corrective measures must be delivered to mitigate the risk of spreading and perpetuating these psycho-social and cultural pathologies, traits and impacts onto other members of the family and society. Furthermore, victims must be encouraged to solicit legal recourse by denouncing the norms of chastity/purity and marriage/ family sacrosanctity at the cost of individual safety and human dignity. Most importantly, women must be groomed and trained to high preparedness levels in dealing with all possible rape and violence scenarios through reality-based self-defence training systems.
When we hear news about marital rape, a question arises, “How does this happen in a marriage?” Even though we think a husband and wife are capable to tackle the matter of sex, the situations may sometimes be created by misunderstandings between married couples or simply one of them wants to prove their power over another, husbands being at fault is usually the case. Whatever the reasoning, a husband does not have the right to force sex on or rape his wife without her consent. The rape law is a vital instrument to extinguish heinous crimes and it must be honed prudently. In serious cases of forced sex in marriage, divorce from the husband and going through legal procedure is the best conclusion.
Mohit Bamsha Acharya
Director, Bricks Cafe
I think it’s mostly women from rural areas or those from poor economic backgrounds who have been suffering from such social evil, and unfortunately, they even don’t know that what they went through was rape. Marrying someone does not mean that husbands have the license to force themselves upon their wives against their will or consent. The victims are still unaware of the fact that forced sex by their husband is also considered a crime and there is a law against it. I believe our society is also at fault for this and for most victims not being courageous to raise their voice against it. Therefore, punishing these acts and holding a huge media campaign from grass-roots level to bring awareness among both genders can help neutralise this heinous crime.
Advocate, Abhinawa Law Chambers
The seriousness of rape as a crime cannot be discounted. It is violation of female victim’s personal integrity and choice as to choosing intimate partners. Sexual intercourse by a man with a woman without her free and conscious permission amounts to rape. The usual thin line of defence in most rape cases is whether the female victim has ‘consented’. The proof of victim consenting or not will be largely based on the investigation carried out by police department. This will require police department to locate evidence, witness and conduct thorough forensic examination to build of strong case to the satisfaction of the female victim. Only a thorough investigation by police department to prove the act of penetration as non-consensual can provide true justice to the female victim.