“Rape in the marriage”- 2 January 2013
Since the season is sullied by the Delhi gang-rape and the nation is still haunted and mourning about it, we could also talk of yet another sensitive issue of marital rape. This often goes unnoticed and un-talked of. It is a taboo subject in civilised society. Yet, this is a something that is happening in a great number of marriages whether we like it or not. Truth is always bitter. Honestly speaking, even though marriages are made in the heaven and executed on the earth, a great number of them represent hell, no matter how much ‘lipa poti’ (papering over) we may do to conceal the serious issues that countless marriages face. And one the major issue is what is described as marital rape or rape in the marriage.
True, this issue is very sensitive and most people avoid talking about it. True, most people may never admit that they have to confront this issue almost regularly in their marriage. Yet, it is also equally true that countless women who I happen to meet during my professional duties admit that they have been victim of this dirty phenomenon. It must be stated here that it is mostly the woman who has to face this problem, when she has to submit to the man’s wish even though she is not willing for whatever reasons — fatigue or listlessness or even just revulsion. I have known many women who have been subjected to a crass unfair treatment on this count in their own families.
As a marital counsellor, I realise that in a shockingly high number of families, people stick together because they have no alternative. A peep into an average family and one would realise that the place may not have been blessed with a sense of harmony. The peep may also reveal that in that family, the woman of the house does not enjoy genuine, true respect. Of course, nobody would admit to this. On the contrary, most would deny this vehemently. But if one can scratch a little deeper beneath the surface (skin), then one would stumble upon shocking realities that are mostly sad.
Let me not be one-sided in my thinking. There are many families where women dominate unfairly and make life difficult for men. There are many homes that have got converted into houses. There are many families that do not prove to the true sanctuaries of escape from the big, bad world for all the members. I know many young persons — boys and girls — who learn to find solace outside their families just because the father or even the mother do not prove to be those places where they can come for rejuvenation of a spiritual kind.
That explains the high number of young people going astray and getting into wrong habits such as alcohol consumption or drug abuse or smoking. That also explains why a good number of young people are turning to undesirable and impermissible sexual escapades even against the social norms.
Returning to the woman of the house -the matter is not just about physical intimacy; it is about an intimacy of a spiritual kind, something that is missing increasingly sadly in many Indian families. Women generally would crave for companionship, tenderness of feeling and touch, accommodation, conscientiousness. On most counts, the woman is as good as the man, and in some cases, better and finer than he is.
In most places, life is lived more on practical terms rather than on spiritual or sublime terms. And therefore, the woman suffers. For, what she gets is not a respectful reciprocation of her qualities and traits, but a scant regard for those virtues as well as needs. She is often forced into submission to male domination that shows no regard for what the woman stands for, symbolises.
Yet, in a way, there is in it an element of truth that cannot be erased easily.