Sexual assault even by husband is rape, rules K’taka HC as victim asks other women to speak up

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Sexual assault even by husband is rape, rules K’taka HC as victim asks other women to speak up

Bengaluru: The victim in a landmark judgment case which ruled that sexual assault even by the husband is rape, has appealed to other sufferers to speak up if they are going through a similar traumatic experience.

On March 24, Karnataka High Court Justice M. Nagaprasanna dismissed the petition of the accused husband in the case seeking to quash the legal proceedings against him. The judge had pronounced that sexual assault even by the husband is rape. In the order, the bench has noted that Section 375 (rape) of the IPC is not progressive but regressive.

Speaking to IANS, the young victim who got relief from the verdict shared her experience of brutal sexual assault by her husband. “I was quiet regarding the matter for 11 years,” she said.

“I had become a sex slave to my husband right from the day of my marriage. I was compelled and forced to have unnatural sex by imitating sex films. My husband forced me to have sex even after my pregnancy and continued to have sex even after my baby got terminated,” she said.

“I didn’t tell my mother. I didn’t even go to my parents’ home. I was able to share what happened to me only after learning of the plight of another victim of sexual assault. I came out of depression and dared to speak about my experience.”

Speaking about the court’s judgment, the victim stated that she awaited the order for five years. The ruling should have come much earlier. “Itna tadpaya humko, aisa lag raha tha ki useeke saath hi hoon,” she said.

“My husband is totally inhuman and he forced me to have sex in front of my daughter and on many occasions he had beaten her and had forcible sex with me. There was continuing sexual harassment which no female in the world would like to express. I am in pain from knowing that my husband had sexually harassed my daughter by bringing her early from school. I do not want any daughter or mother to undergo the suffering which both I and my daughter have undergone,” she stated.

The bench has directed the jurisdictional POCSO court to also register a case under section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, which is a more heinous crime than section 376 (rape) of the IPC. The stay issued on the trial of the case was also vacated after 4 years, said senior advocate Ramananda who represented the victim.

Ramananda explained that “the investigation has not proceeded properly as per the POCSO Act. The prosecution had not supported the case. As per the Supreme Court guidelines, the trial should have ended within 6 months. Because of the delay, the accused secured bail and shockingly the lower court said the victim is dragging the case.”

The bench headed by Justice Nagaprasanna considered all these factors while giving the verdict and described the ordeal of the victim as ‘ghastly’. The bench in its judgment said that the entire issue springs from the complaint registered by the wife alleging brutal sexual acts by the husband against her, as also sexual abuse of the child. It, therefore, becomes necessary to notice the complaint and its ghastly narration.

The bench talking about the chargesheet submitted by the police opined that it also has graphic details of the demonic lust of the accused who according to the investigation had unnatural sex, torturing or abusing his wife, or threatening to beat the daughter or beating the daughter, all for the satisfaction of his gory carnal lust.

The bench in its order noted that the communications made or the letters written by both the wife and the daughter are so chilling and abhorrent that they cannot be reproduced in the order. After consideration of all aspects, the bench refused to quash the proceedings against the husband. “A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man, ‘the husband’, on the woman, ‘wife’.

The judgment said the Constitution, a fountainhead of all statutes depicts equality. But, when it comes to Section 375 of the IPC the exception springs. “In my considered view, the expression is not progressive but regressive, wherein a woman is treated as a subordinate to the husband, which concept abhors equality.”

It is for this reason that several countries have made such acts of the husband penal by terming it marital rape or spousal rape. Marital rape is illegal in 50 American states, 3 Australian states, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia and several others, the verdict said.

Ramananda explained that he was working for a social cause in this case. Senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaisingh had contacted him and heard the matter and assured that she will appear for the victims in the Apex court if needed, he claimed.

The victim said that Ramananda had given her food, shelter and also got her daughter admitted to a school. “I lost my father at a very young age. He is taking care like a father. Without him, coming from a north Indian state, I would not have survived here. My daughter is a rank student. It is my dream to make her an IAS officer. Afterwards, I will get back to meditation and support other victims like myself,” she added.

The daughter, who is also a victim of sexual abuse, told IANS that she will fulfil her mother’s wish and help other girls who have suffered like her. “I avoid friends in school but have a good rapport with teachers. Sometimes I feel sad and depressed. I feel like hanging my father.”


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