On Liberty and the Subjection of Women
Why is marital rape legalised in India?
Indian society stems from a monolithical patriarchal mindset, where 65% women agree that "there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten." So the path to criminalising marital rape is rather downtrodden or extremely complex.
Voicing one's opinion against all sorts of conservative ideologies that discriminate against women, and yet to be "harassed online," and to have a juxtaposing view that "marriage solely is not licence for sex," is a rather diabolic situation, where feminism is considered hyperbole and patriarchy is subjective.
Irrespective, keeping the solemn sanctity of marriage in mind, one must keep in mind that there shouldn't be any bilateral views related to the concept of marriage – What is thrown in your face are some irrational arguments, like "Should I sign a consent form every time I have to sleep with my wife?" "To say this is consensual so she doesn't file a rape charge at me later?" or "Will you install cameras in the marital bedroom now?" "How will you prove it?"
At times, in practicality giving dictatorial powers to "the people" is no wiser than giving such powers to Napoleon I or Napoleon III. Today, if Indian society goes on voting against these females, it will be notable as a defence of proportional representation, and for an account of female suffrage that takes it for granted that denying access to the marital rape of women is as irrational as denying it to the red-haired men.
Such is the orthodoxical mindset of people in the country that it makes one wonder whether John Stuart Mill's emphasis on resisting societal changes really works or not! Paradoxically after Victorian liberalism, opinion varied about his early life and works…
The sense in which Mill and Harriet Taylor were specifically liberal feminists, and the subjection of women a contribution to liberal feminism, isn't easy to spell out. Recent feminists have criticised liberalism for maintaining a distinction between the public and the private realms, which they complain permits men to tyrannise over women behind closed doors that shelter family life, and gives men licence physically to assault their partners, is doubly misdirected against both Mill and Harriet Taylor.
This theory remains ferociously hostile to domestic violence and in the light of later discussions, it is an oddity that neither on liberty nor the subjection of women does it pay attention to the distinction between public and private.
Both of which permit equality, justice and a respect for individual autonomy over all our relationships!
Diabolically, a marriage between equals is hasty; preaching an ideal was one task while resisting brutality is another.
There-forth, taking an equitable take on marital rape in India is a sceptical issue: we do not know what men and women could and would do under conditions of genuine social, economic and political equality.
However, one could still discuss and deliberate on the following outcomes so as to draft a well-read legislation…
The frenzy amongst the general class of men is such that the low conviction rate for rape cases - which sits at around 29% in India - is evidence of the high number of false accusations.
But the low conviction rate is not evidence of that; it's evidence of how poor our judicial system is as a whole.
(The naive young-adult in me still vouches for a Neuberger experiment to be held in the appellate courts of the country.)
To say the least, in our country the survivors of rape, by law, are only allowed access to public prosecutors while the accused can hire the best counsels. Here are some mere facts to be construed from these cases:
* It takes three months for the evidence to come back from a rape kit test (three months minimum).
* Often the prosecutrix will pull out of the case, out of distress due to the drawn out nature of these cases.
* Most important, filing a case in court still remains an arduous and cumbersome process involving multiple visits to hospitals, police stations and the courtroom – in total amounts to a period of two to three years on average.
Now talking, about the systematic dispensing of the law via "robust evidence":
* The legislature can draft legislations that have strict provisions in place against false or frivolous complaints. For example - Make the offence bailable as opposed to the husband being arrested right away and not getting bail at all.
* Ensure the conviction comes through expert testimony, from the doctors that provide the circumstantial evidence, i.e. the brutality on the body!
* Or via a prolonged medical history and police reports where you can substantiate sustained periods of violence against the woman.
The right to anatomy over a woman's body should be a legislative matter!
Juxtaposing to this view on the rare side of the mirror that there is a non-conforming right over people's body, it becomes a legislative matter, which means you directly give the politicians a right to decide whether a woman should have anatomy over her body or not. This despondent view means that the partial population of the country gives its members of parliament according to the statistics the right to stand.
Razual Purewal is a lawyer