Is there anything, besides “Marital Rape” between Husband and Wife in a child marriage?
Author: Rahul Singh
College: Amity University, Lucknow
“Educating girls is one of the most powerful tool to prevent child marriage.”
The Apex court in its ruling on September 1, 2017, held that it could use child rape law in teen marriages. This observation came to the light where an NGO has challenged the exception of sexual intercourse in marriages where the wife is between the age of 15 and 18. Society nowadays does not follow the texts endorsing child marriage nor will do so in future. Even now, don't you see? As per the survey provided by the National Family Health Survey, in the year 2014, there were 280 cases registered which rose up 293 in 2015 and further 326 in the year 2016. Whereas, the person arrested in total was 2,162 among which only 136 were convicted.
Boorish and harsh conventions have been respected in India attributable to headstrong beliefs. At an age where girls ought to be given books and toys, many are tied into the deceptive ropes of marital life and commitments. Obviously, marriage is an essential to sex, virginity is sacrosanct and turning around this cycle will cause a change. According to this dread, young girls are compelled to wed at the beginning of menarche. While parents parcel in floral carriages, offloading their own duties, celebrating the finish of their parental commitments, they neglect to recognize the expenses of their transient joy and pride. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 gives that, the age to legally consent to sexual intercourse is 18 years for girls. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 sets the minimum age of marriage for a girl at 18 years. However, the marriage of a girl below 18 years is voidable, not void-ab-initio! The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 provides that “a girl below 18 years of age is defined as a child and a child does not have the physical or mental capacity to enter into a sexual relationship”.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (amended) states that a man is said to have conferred rape, if he does any of the intrusive sexual acts as enlisted in Section 375, with a girl below 18 years of age, with or without her consent. However, Exception 2 of the same Section provides that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape!
In this way, a girl below 18 years is a child. A girl below 18 years is not physically or mentally prepared to have sexual intercourse. A girl below 18 years cannot lawfully agree to have intercourse. A girl below 18 years is not qualified to be hitched. Sexual intercourse with a girl below 18 years, with or without her consent, adds up to rape. Is that as it may if this girl is his wife? A man can have sex with his “child wife”, the wife being over 15 years old, with/without her consent and it won't add up to rape! The right to equal protection before the law is enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. However, the law stops to ensure a girl below 18 years old yet over 15 years old, just on the ground that she is hitched to the man abusing her! What sort of equity will we give our little girls when even our laws neglect to insure them?
She cannot swing to her family for help - they got her wedded, She cannot swing to her better half - he is the one rudely tearing through her body, She cannot swing to the law - the law does not address her plight with a cure. An ineffectual legal framework resembles a two-fold edged sword, if the rape attempts do not shred her, the clashing laws will.
Surprisingly, the husband does not start the flood of exploitation - a bride’s parents are the first of her culprits. It is less demanding to manipulate little girls in their initial age. Child wives are more helpless against intimate partner violence and sexual battering than those who wed later. As a child matures, diversions of control will turn out to be less powerful and odds of resentment will increase. The abuse of a child’s innocence and her ineptness to gauge the ramifications of her activities arrive her into the shackles of child marriage. Give our young girls a chance to lead an existence of learning, cooperation, and physical action to guarantee a solid way of life. Training gives a girl heading, encourages mental improvement, imparts certainty, engages her to be free and empowers her to disentangle amongst good and bad. The absence of information, mindfulness, and obliviousness make a larger number of holes than sutures. As per UNICEF, "Of the 16 million adolescent girls who give birth every year, about 90% are already married... some 50,000 die, almost all in low-and middle-income countries." In 2014, the United Nations Committee on Rights of the Child recorded the requirement for India to criminalize marital rape of girls under 18 years old. Doesn't the ludicrousness rest inside our legal system? We empower criminals through the loopholes in our legal system.
The immediate product of child marriage is “marital rape”. Husbands can steer their young brides according to their impulses. Pregnancy can be accidental to rape or constrained with the aim of for all time catching the tyke in wedlock. Young wives are unconscious of the progressions their body will experience. Yet recovering from the tremors of rehashed assault, they are subliminally pushed towards a dead-end. The excruciating pain because of the unbearable power stays repressed under covers of male strength. There is a steady battle wherein girls are battling to remain afloat. The dearth of public opinion brings the genuine trouble up in decreasing sex crime. To redress an issue, we have to perceive and respond. A child wife could be deceived to a point beyond which she may never recover.
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