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MP Priyanka Chaturvedi Responds To Justice C Hari Shankar’s Observation On Marital Rape On Twitter. We Agree!

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TBH, ever since the split verdict on marital rape delivered by the two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court, Twitter has turned into a warzone. One faction of the social media users is hailing Justice Rajiv Shakdher for striking down the marital rape exception and terming it unconstitutional while criticising Justice C Hari Shankar for upholding Exception 2 of Section 375 of the IPC. The other faction, however, feels otherwise and has been hailing Justice C Hari Shankar for protecting men’s rights. Excerpts from the judgement passed by Justice Shankar were tweeted by several platforms of which, one led to a social media outrage. Justice C Hari Shankar noted that on occasion a husband may compel his wife to have sex with him while questioning if it can be said that the wife’s experience in the case is the same as that of a woman being raped by a stranger.

Several social media users including MP Priyanka Chaturvedi responded to the statement. Take a look at what she had to say.

She wasn’t the only one outraged by this rather derogatory statement. Netizens took a moment to point out that two cases of sexual assault cannot be compared just because a woman is married to the accused in one. Tweeple also stated that if anything, a husband raping his wife is much worse and traumatic as the husband is a person who not only wields a status and power bestowed on him by the society and the law but is also someone who has the duty to protect his wife.

Users further shared that this statement is not only demoralising but also lacks empathy while calling out the judiciary for having men mull over women’s rights. People also question how it’s okay to strip a woman of her right to bodily autonomy due to marriage.

Also Read: Delhi HC’s Justice Rajiv Shakdher Says False Cases Not A Reason To Not Strike Down Unconstitutional Marital Rape Exception

Women on Twitter also shared their anger over the statement, and rightly so.

Several social media users questioned the judiciary while pointing out that the concerned judge is going to go down in history for making a statement this derogatory and ‘obnoxious’.

Some went on to question if the judge understood the concept of consent at all.

Twitter also questioned Justice Shankar for using the term ‘ravaged’ instead of rape.

With all due respect, I cannot even begin to explain everything problematic with this statement. While I accept the verdict delivered by Justice C Hari Shankar of the Delhi High Court (not like we have a choice or a say in it) but the statement made here is questionable. Using the term ‘compel’ itself shows that there is a clear lack of consent and TBH, this term is just putting things lightly. We’re not talking about a situation where a husband convinces his wife to have sex but of a situation where the man forces her. And when the judge says ‘on occasion’, it seems like there is an upper limit to it which again sounds just as problematic. Calling a married woman’s sexual assault as an ‘experience’ and an unmarried woman’s sexual assault as being ‘ravaged by a stranger’ is just as bad. We’re not here to question and compare two cases of sexual assault. Moreover, we’ve already established the fact, with data might I add, that most women in India are raped by known persons. Now does that make the crime less violent? No, right? If we take cases of sexual assault on a woman by known people and relatives as heinous crimes, why do we let it slide when this known person is her husband? Moreover, is a woman supposed to accept her fate to get raped when she walks into a marriage which strips her of her fundamental rights of bodily autonomy and equality before the law? Another thing to note is the usage of the term ‘ravage’. We really aren’t talking about being ravaged but being raped. As a woman in India, I can vouch for the fact that the two things are not the same. Rape does a lot more than just damage or destroy a woman.

Also Read: Hautetalk: Marriage Cannot Take Away A Woman’s Right To Say ‘No’. Criminalising Marital Rape Is The Need Of The Hour

Over the years, we have already established that rape does ravage a woman so, why is the crime not called a crime because the person doing it is known to the woman? If anything being raped by her own husband can be much more traumatic and violent for a woman and I’m not even going to compare it to being raped by a stranger because rape is rape and the relationship that the victim has with the rapist has nothing to do with the crime. If a husband were to murder his wife, we wouldn’t say that the experience isn’t the same because of his relationship with the victim, would we? A crime remains a crime irrespective of the relationship. While I do understand the point that the judge was trying to make here but it could have been said in a better way. As a woman, I find that statement to be disrespectful. But at the same time, I do not agree with the people calling names and abusing the judge for his verdict (he’s just doing his job, even if it doesn’t sit right with all of us). And let us not forget the fact that one cannot disrespect a presiding judge no matter how strongly we feel about the subject. Being disrespectful towards a High Court judge for doing his job does not make us better people. Yes, we live in a free nation and can express our opinions on his observation but we can do this without being mean and disrespectful.

Also Read: Amid Delhi HC’s Split Verdict On Marital Rape, Twitter Seems To Be More Concerned About “Falses Cases Against Men”

So, a word of advice for my dear readers and netizens, please be a little respectful while making your point with facts and logic. Being rude on social media and shaming a judge is not the right way to go about this. We may not agree with him but we are obliged to respect him. His one judgement does not make him a bad person. It is okay to disagree but it’s not okay to disrespect or use derogatory terms for a presiding judge of the High Court.

Marital Rape: Smriti Irani Says Not All Marriages Violent, Not All Men Rapists. We Think The WCD Minister Is Missing The Point


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