Consent, Marital Rape, and Social Acceptability: An Exploration across different Cultures

  • Gopika Bansal
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  • Gopika Bansal

    Student at O.P. Jindal Global University, India

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History vocalizes that women were subjected to being property either of their father or husband. Whether the offence was rape or adultery the reasoning in legal precedents prescribed it to be a violation of stealing the property of someone else rather than treating it to be a violence of human/sexual rights and not bringing this crime to be defaming their honour. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution tends to guarantee equality to all citizens, yet there is a difference based on marital status with the victims of rape in terms of justice being provided to them, where the predators of such heinous acts are not given equal punishment or are not even given any punishment. This research paper focuses on the position of marital rape, a form of domestic violence, by looking into its history and its legal position across different cultures, nations, and perspectives. Often women perceived across the world that fulfilling a man's sexual desire in marriage is bound because it is their duty or else they would be a victim of physical violence. Since consent is paramount, this paper examines its appearance and evolution and explains that the institution of marriage is no free license to sex regardless of consent. Societal norms mixed with gender play a crucial role in the ongoing process of giving women equal representation for their right against such crime and with diverse opinions about it, the social acceptability of accepting it as a crime differs. Yet even if some states around the world have taken a step forward, it is to be seen that marital rape due to physical force, illegal threat, or societal pressure can lead to honour killing or other forms of violence against women. It is said that religious beliefs and social customs, merged with staggering illiteracy form an environment wherein marital rape cannot be criminalized seemingly because society isn’t prepared for it. The acceptance of the phenomenon that "once married, women’s perpetual consent is implied” is reassessed through this paper as it calling out and popularising the value of consent by saying that sex without consent is rape- whether the attacker is your spouse or not. The wave of feminism has started the conversation of letting the women to have the autonomy to make decisions regarding their bodies regardless of their relationship status and having a statute on marital rape that penalizes the guilty. Overall, this paper emphasizes the importance of consent by looking at different cultures and their social acceptability which may even lead to falling apart of marriages.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 4, Page 2136 - 2143


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