Kolkata man forces wife to have sex, booked for ‘marital rape’
KOLKATA: A recently married man has been booked for rape after his wife accused him of forcing her to have sex with him against her consent. She has also lodged complaints of dowry demand and torture against her in-laws.
The woman, a resident of Sinthee, approached the court to register a case after she claimed the physical assault continued even after she got pregnant. The legal fraternity said this was one of the first cases of domestic abuse, where a woman has slapped rape charges on her husband.
Police investigations have found that when the wedding was fixed, the woman’s family was told that the man was a senior official at a private bank. But on reaching her in-laws’ home at Bansberia, she realized she had been cheated as he turned out to be a junior employee at a small private firm. A few days later, he stopped going to that job as well, the woman claimed. Betrayed, as she tried to avoid him, he forced himself on her and the in-laws tortured her, she alleged. She claimed she was forced to move court on finding no other alternative. “We are looking into all the aspects and seeking legal help. We do not want to jump to a conclusion,” said an officer, saying they were checking the woman’s statement.
Women’s rights organisations, which have been demanding an amendment to an Indian Penal Code section to include marital rape, said the FIR was merely the first step and that the real test would be the chargesheet filed by the police. They’d have to see if that would stand judicial scrutiny, they said. “Rape has been defined as sexual intercourse or any penetration against someone’s will. Just because a woman is married, it does not take away the right to say no. A husband cannot own his wife’s body and use it the way he pleases. There must be consent,” said women’s rights organisation Swayam founder-director Anuradha Kapoor. She pointed out that owing to the lacunae in the law, most marital rape cases are usually registered under the Domestic Violence Act or Anti-Dowry Act.
Saswati Ghosh of Maitreyi, an umbrella organisation of action groups committed to end violence against women, lauded the Sinthee woman’s courage. “But she may have to pay heavily for her brave act. She is unlikely to be accepted in the family and may have to raise the child as a single mother,” said Ghosh.