She covered the bruises wearing a full sleeves blouse and draping the sari in a way that not even a spot of skin of her waist or back was visible. She was sore from last night; no one heard her screams as they concluded it to be moans of pleasure. When she walked into the kitchen wobbly, trying to balance herself so that she does not collapse, sly smiles were passed between her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Because they knew exactly what happened last night, it’s the same story every alternate day. No one talks about it; it is something that happens behind the closed doors, something that should not be talked about in public or in the bright day light as it concerns the dark fantasies of a human.
No one asked her then if she wanted to study or get married, no one asked her if she liked him or not and now no one asks her if she is willing to offer her body to him as and when he pleased! To cover those bruises stings more than the bruises themselves when a loving relationship of a husband and wife is tossed over. Why is it a taboo? People intervene when there are rumors of wife sleeping with other male but where are they when a wife is forced to sleep or rather “have sex” with her husband, Just because they are a couple on legal documents and according to the religious rituals? Maybe because when a woman marries it is forced upon her as a duty to heed her husband’s sexual urges, even if it meant in the form of a lifeless body. No longer is it love making between two adults who respect each other and share their life with care and affection, it takes the face of a disgusting reality called ‘marital rape’.
And still our constitution does not consider ‘marital rape’ as an offence. If only the wife is below sixteen years of age the husband will suffer the consequences not the gruesome ones though. He might be imprisoned for a year or two and pay a fine provided the female complains. But the real irony is that the same law states the legal age of consent for marriage for the females to be eighteen. The law makes no sense then because it just becomes the ink that adorns the government documents and the law books. Because there is no law for women beyond the age of sixteen that protects her against the sexual assault of her husband. Sir Mathew Hale, chief justice in England, during the 1600s. Wrote, “The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given herself in kind unto the husband, whom she cannot retract.” Hypocrites we are when we talk about liberty, equality and feminism for that matter. None comes to rescue the female that dies every night as she weeps in pain. Cold she becomes when she loses hope, love, respect for the man she is married to and society even.
Approximation states that in every six hours there is at least one young married woman who is beaten or burned to death or emotionally driven to commit suicide by her husband or her in laws. The UN population fund brings to light that more than 2/3rd of women in India that lay between the ages of 15-49 have been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex. The statistics that we read today are not recent and still it does not fail to alarm us. The current studies say that, between 10-14% of married women are raped by their husbands. Sexual assault by husband’s accounts to 25% (approx.) of rapes committed. And indeed sad it is that 56% of Indian wives believed that it is justified if the husbands beat their wives occasionally because that is something natural that they have grown accustomed to.
Toy she is played with when felt like and tossed aside when bored. She loses her self confidence and suffers from low self esteem because she cannot face herself in the mirror every morning. Scared she is that maybe she is not successful enough in concealing the bitter memories of the previous night. Though there she is every morning to serve her husband tea with the newspaper, and he does not even glance her way. The calm, poised and the decent looking man in front of her then is someone else because she does not see any traces of the beast that forced him on her last night. She feels caged in the big house with so many people who are her family but not with her. Heck! Even the walls can no longer keep her screams, cries and agony. Leaning on the window frame as she sees the parrot fly, she could only wish for such a freedom one day. The day when she won’t be forced against her will and actually find love in the man she married. She won’t shiver at the mere mention of the night or won’t wake up sour in the morning. The day when she will breathe to live and not live to breathe!