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[Marital rape] Married parties may have right to expect sexual relationship, unmarried couples do not: Delhi High Court remarks

Earlier, advocate Karuna Nundy argued that marital rape violates a woman’s right to dignity, personal and sexual autonomy and her right to self-expression enshrined under the Constitution of India. She added that if a wife does not have the right to say no to her husband, then she does not have the right to freely say yes either.

“Harm is not dependent on being married or not. This is the man who was supposed to protect me. It is not slapping in public but it is the rape which is most violative of my self,” she argued.

Nundy also argued that a minuscule proportion of marital rape case are reported and of those, the number of false cases is even smaller.

“Married women hesitate to report such incidents even to their lady health visitors. While all criminal justice suffers from ‘false negative’ i.e. acquittal of the guilty and ‘false positives’ or conviction of the innocent, there is no evidence that false cases concerning rape and sexual assault in case where the assaulted and accused have prior sexual relationship are misused more than other criminal laws,” she submitted.

Citing the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data she further argued that among married women who were victims of sexual violence, over 83% experienced it from their husbands and in 9% cases, former husband was the perpetrator.

“An estimated 99.1% of the sexual violence cases are not reported, and in most such instances, the perpetrator is the husband of the victim. Evidence suggests that a woman is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from others,” she contended.

Source: Barandbench

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