Guest Post by MADHU MEHRA
I will critically discuss the campaign for (full) criminalisation of marital rape to call attention to ways by which this campaign reduces a potentially tranformatory agenda on gender, sexuality and marriage, to one of law, crime and punishment. There is no denying that there is widespread sexual and other forms of intimate partner violence against women within marriage (including marital rape), and the absolute necessity of criminalizing such violence. Yet, the campaign for criminalsing marital rape is troubling – in terms of the aspects it selectively probelematises as harmful to women and aspects relating to sexuality and marriage that it is completely silent on. It is also problematic for privileging the criminal law remedies, over non-punitive interventions which require a broader engagement with concerns related to marriage and sexuality that are equally hurtful to women.
Let us first summarise the legal position on marital rape. Continue reading Reflections On The Limitations Of The Call For Full Criminalisation Of Marital Rape: Madhu Mehra
Guest Post by Vrinda Marwah
On 6th March, in the run up to International Women’s Day, I was involved in two panel discussions on women’s rights, both adrenalin-raising but for entirely different reasons. As someone who has been working in feminist organisations, and who, like so many others, is trying to be active and simultaneously make sense of the agitations and conversations following the Delhi gang rape, I decided to write about this experience because it was so revealing about how power operates.
The second panel, which I will talk about first, was in the United Nations Information Center, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM approx., organized by the New Delhi hub of the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum, on issues of women’s safety in Delhi and practical measures that can be taken to address these. I don’t know much about this rather fancy sounding group (in their correspondence with me they describe themselves thus: The Global Shapers Community is a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a contribution to their communities). Continue reading A Tale of Two Panels: Vrinda Marwah
Guest post by MADHU MEHRA
The public outrage in the wake of the Delhi gang rape has been as much a reaction to the brutality of the case, as it has been against the pervasiveness of sexual violence in our society. Instead of condemnation and action, rape cases frequently evoke public statements blaming the victims, and calls to reign in women’s freedom. That our social structures and mindsets remain patriarchal is well known. The question however is, to what extent does the law counter societal misogyny in the way it frames and responds to sexual violence? Do the criminal laws establish norms that uphold women’s bodily integrity and dignity in all situations, against all offenders without selectivity or discrimination? Continue reading Why the law on sexual offences must be changed: Madhu Mehra