Social Media Blows Out With Protests Against Criminalizing Marital Rape: A Classic Case Of Men Avoiding Accountability

Twitter, among other social media platforms, has been stormed with #MarriageStrike and #MaritalStrike from the last two days. The hashtag inundation is the result of a protest showcasing “concerns” and dissatisfaction with court hearings on a plea seeking the criminalisation of marital rape under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In recent times, there has been an overhaul of laws related to sexual assaults. However, the judiciary has failed to give protection to a married woman being forced to have sex without consent.

A divide is being seen where men and women are taking sides. Arguments are being kept from the proponents of the social media protest that criminalising marital rape will lead to false convictions of men as a result of frivolous allegations. They argue that altering India’s rape law would make it dangerous for men to get married.

#MarriageStrike: A Proliferating Sign Of Rape Apologists

There has been significant support for this hashtag protest across social media platforms, especially by the men’s rights activists. They have been raising their concerns for insubstantial accusations. Whereas, several women’s rights activists are calling them out for making their “sexist” comments.

Men tweeting in favour of #marriagestrike are potential rapists. Possible rapists. Previous rapists. Why would any man who is self-respecting not want for marital rape to be criminalised? How can there be legal protection for rape only becauseit happens in a marriage?

— Dr Meena Kandasamy ¦¦ இளவேனில் மீனா கந்தசாமி (@meenakandasamy) January 19, 2022

The ongoing protest showcases how males in the name of men’s rights are setting a deterrent for losing the concept of consent. The demands raised by men against display the worst kind of criminal character against women, rape apologists.

#MarriageStrike till the judiciary, government and society will understand that Men's have Dignity too.#MaritalRape

— iAtulp (@IM_atulp) January 18, 2022

The hashtag protest sets a significant precedent of normalising raping wives. Aligning the male dominance and their ill motives over females with the “Indian family system” is a simple proclamation of vindicating Indian marriage.

@RealSIFF is contributing to a new culture, where strong families & communities exist without wife or wives.#MarriageStrike

Marriage & wives are not a must to have a family. We have community, brothers, sisters & elders. That is more than enough for our health & well being.

— Save Indian Family Foundation (@realsiff) January 20, 2022

The social protest distinguishes the hardliners who believe if married men are accused of raping their wives, it is the end of the elysian heteronormative system of Indian families.

Limitation In Indian Rape Law

Influenced by the colonial era, the Indian judiciary and legislative have been turning a blind eye to the case of non-consensual sex between a married man and his wife. As a result, India is among 30 countries that have not criminalised marital rape. The list includes countries such as Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.

The Indian law protects married women from being physically assaulted or killed by their spouses. Thus, excluding the criminalisation of marital rape from its clause.

The law fails to address non-consensual intercourse by a man with his own wife above 15 years of age as rape. “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape,” notes Section 375 of IPC.

Indian Marriage: A Bond Of Limitless Implicit Consent

The basis of marriage in India has always favoured the males and their families. The sacrosanctity of Indian marriage is based on the pretext of women handing over the agency of their bodies to their husbands.

In a country with a population that averses divorce, women find it close to impossible to resist countless suffering, abuse, and harassment and end up being dependent on their husbands.

For ages, men have been cushioned against being accused of their misdeeds. They have been protected from taking accountability by imposing the blame on women. The current protest is a call for propagating the toxin of patriarchy.

Hijacking The Spotlight

Social media campaigns such as #maritalstrike and #marriagestrike are the outcome of male ego, that has been built over the centuries through unprecedented favouritism by society.

Evidently, men have a tendency to hijack the spotlight from real issues when those issues put them under the microscope. This happens more when there is an uprising talk on gender inequality. There was a #NotAllMen campaign against #MeToo to needlessly defend the male stand.

I strongly hope that men who are going on #MaritalStrike remain on strike for ever. They are not safe for any woman to be married to. Anyone who thinks consent has no place in a marriage, should never marry.

— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) January 20, 2022

The very argument of the protest is nonsensical. Criminalising marital rape would lead to several innocent men being framed. Every law in the world has room for error in its misuse.

In spite of shrugging of accountability, men and their sympathisers must come forward to fight against the evil of marital rape.