Updated December 20th, 2023 at 14:53 IST
Rape is rape regardless of whether man commits it on his wife: Gujarat HC
The court stated that men, possibly more than women, had a responsibility to prevent and oppose violence against women.
The Gujarat High Court stated that a rape is a rape regardless of whether a man commits it on his wife, stressing the need to eliminate the taboo around sexual violence against women in India.
Judge Divyesh Joshi said in a recent judgment that women may still encounter hostility and stay in violent circumstances, and that the true rates of violence against women in India are likely far greater than what the data indicates.
The order stated that social attitudes typically identify certain behaviors as "minor" offenses, such as stalking, eve-teasing, mild verbal and physical assault, and harassment, which are "regrettably" not only underplayed or normalized but even romanticized and promoted in popular lore like movies.
It was stated that mindsets that support sexual crimes and see them through the lens of "boys being boys" “have a lasting and pernicious effect on the survivors.”
The court made these observations while dismissing the regular bail plea of a woman held for putting her daughter-in-law to cruelty and criminal intimidation while her husband and son raped and videotaped her nude to put videos on pornography sites to earn money.
"In most of the cases of (assault or rape on a woman), the usual practice is that if the man is the husband, performing the very same acts as that of another man, he is exempted. In my considered view, the same cannot be countenanced. A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man, the "husband", on the woman, "wife", the court said.
The Constitution treats a woman as equal to a man and considers marriage as an association of equals, the order stated.
The causes and factors of violence against women include entrenched power imbalances between men and women, which are "aggravated by cultural and social norms, economic dependence, poverty and alcohol consumption, etc." It was stated that gender violence is “most often unseen and is shrouded in a culture of silence.”
"In India, the culprits are often known to the woman; the social and economic "costs" of reporting such crimes are high. General economic dependence on family and fear of social ostracization act as significant disincentives for women to report any kind of sexual violence, abuse or abhorrent behaviour," it observed.
It's time to break this stillness. The court stated that men, possibly more than women, had a responsibility to prevent and oppose violence against women.
It further observed that marital rape is illegal in 50 American states, three Australian states, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia and several other countries. (With inputs from PTI)
Published December 20th, 2023 at 14:53 IST