Married women are not subjected to being treated in whatever way their husbands desire; they have full rights and authority over their bodies just like their male counterparts. Despite little media and academic attention every 9 married women out of 10 experience marital rape which is one of the most dangerous types of intimate partner abuse.
The Concept of a Marital Rape
Forced sexual activities with a spouse without his/her consent is known as marital rape. If a spouse refuses to engage in intercourse such sexual contact under any circumstances is a “marital rape”. Violently gained concord in pressure is not an agreement. Most rape laws in the past classified rape as forced sex with a woman who was not your wife, granting husbands the right to harass.
The concept of marital rape among people is less serious than any other sexual abuse in Nepali societies. Women shouldn’t be entitled to suffer cruel behavior just because two people are married by law. If anyone in the marriage says “No!” the other cannot force into sexual activities whether the person is a husband or a wife.
In the United States on July 5, 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes. Because most societies still see rape in marriage as a less serious offense than other types of rape, which is a sign of social patriarchy, there are some marital exemptions.
Marriage is not the license to rape. There should be consent and agreement. Divorce can resolve incompatible issues, but a dominant, violent temperament or domestic violence cannot be resolved without punishment. If your partner chooses not to share an intimate moment with you, you must respect that choice.
Law of Marital Rape in Nepal
For the first time in Nepal, marital rape was defined as a crime under the Criminal Code.
In Nepal, there are legal penalties for marital rape. Marital rape is punishable in Nepal under Section 219 subsections 1, 4, and 5 of the Muluki Criminal Code 2074 (The National Penal (Code) Act, 2017).
The Supreme Court of Nepal acknowledged that marriage is not the license to rape and any non-consensual sexual interaction in married couples is considered rape.
Section 219 (4)
Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (3), if the husband commits rape to the wife, except in any of the following circumstances, he shall be liable to punishment with imprisonment not exceeding five years:
But the following condition is not regarded as marital relation in existence:
- Separated from the husband and a suit for a share of the family property has been instituted.
- Living separately from her husband and has taken her share of the property.
- A suit for divorce with the husband has been instituted.
In the due process of the case and demand of the wife, the court can order the following conditions:
- To give money for treatment or provide proper treatment.
- If there is a problem living under the same roof, find a separate house.
- To protect the wife and not torture her.
- To give her a separate space in a home where both reside.
Time Limitation to file a complaint for Marital Rape in Nepal
The complaint of marital rape must be filed Within one year. The victim has one year to file a formal complaint of marital rape with the police and court. It is incredibly difficult to collect evidence and defend against this crime in court. The victim’s statement and allegation contribute primarily as evidence in the case’s judgment.
Assumption and Victimisation
The law and society assume that only women are the victims of a martial rape because of the patriarchal nature of our society. Yes, women mostly are the victims, but men too equally suffer marital rape but the statistic can be lower for men than women.
Why Don’t People File Complaints Against Marital Rape in Nepal?
Many women do not come forward to seek legal remedies because of
- The lack of legal knowledge.
- Obligated to remain silent because of societal and religious virtue of marriage.
- Concept of their duty to fulfill the sexual need of their partners.
- Family loyalty.
- Fear of their abuser’s retribution.
- Fear that they will not be believed.
- Inability to leave the relationship.
- They may not know that rape in marriage is against the law.
In the case of Nepal, wives do not have decent places to live after filing the complaint. If the husband’s family has already been torturing her after she decided to file the complaint she can suffer more. For this reason, marital rapes, are subdued and women suffer silently. Therefore, a strong case against the victim’s accusation is a must. Wives who are sexually assaulted are likely to suffer several offenses and frequently face serious long-term medical and emotional problems.
- It questions their masculinity and they bring shame to society.
- Talking about Sexual intercourse is still taboo and is often considered a private affair in Nepal.
The Effects of Marital Rape
The physical effects of marital rape may include injuries to the vaginal and anal areas, lacerations, soreness, bruising, torn muscles, fatigue, and vomiting. Other physical effects that can occur during the sexual violence against women by their husbands include fractured bones, black eyes, bloody noses, and knife cuts. The physical harm is then augmented by lifetime mental trauma. Lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem are the worst results of marital rape.
The Obstacle to Filing Cases of Marital Rape
It is a serious matter because it can be misused and the cases can be blown out of proportion rather quickly. The claim of marital rape could also be used as a valid defense or act of payback to cover up one’s dishonesty with their partner or for a broken marriage. The law for filing a “fake complaint” should equally be punishable.
There need strong defenses in marital rape cases. It should include the identification and cross-examination of witnesses, and DNA testing, and every dot should connect all allegation stories of either spouse.
Punishment for Marital Rape in Nepal
If a husband commits rape on a wife, he shall be liable to punishment with imprisonment not exceeding five years according to the Muluki Criminal Code 2074. There is no mention of the men who are harassed by their wives.
Counseling and mutual understanding can be the solution for any type of marital issue but not forced sexual activity or marital rape. The phyiscal and mental agony that a spouse experiences as a result of having undesired and unnatural sexual activity are enormous.