In a horrendous move, a court in Delhi, India, has acquitted a man of raping his wife, ruling that because the victim was married to her rapist, the attack could not be considered rape—in fact it wasn't even in the same ball park as rape. Upon acquitting the accused, Judge Virender Bhat stated:
"The parties being husband and wife, the sexual intercourse between the two does not come within the ambit of the offence of rape, even if the same was against the will and consent of the victim."
This is one of the more baffling statements I have ever come across. The judge deems her a victim and understands that the intercourse was nonconsensual. And yet the circumstances constitute an acquittal? Nope. Nope nope nope. Rape is rape, and marriage is not consent.
Even more harrowing, the victim claims that her attacker had drugged her and married her while drugged in 2013, meaning that even her marriage itself wouldn't have been consensual. While the rapist is flat out denying that story, the fact still remains that the court believes that "being legally wedded husband and wife, the prosecutrix being major, the sexual intercourse between the two, even if forcible, is not rape and no culpability can be fastened upon the accused."
This is absolutely outrageous and devastating for women who are consistently face sexual assault at the hands of their spouses, however, it's an unsurprising ruling from Judge Virender Bhat, who recently proclaimed that all premarital sex was immoral—as he acquitted another man of rape after he had sex with a woman after promising to marry her. Of course, he had this to say:
"When a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse with a friend or colleague on the latter's promise that he would marry her, she does so at her own peril."
This is clearly a huge setback for justice in rape and sexual assault cases in India, especially in light of the huge movement to bring the huge range of women's safety issues in India to the forefront of Indian culture. But it's unfortunately perfectly indicative of just how lengthy and rigorous a battle it is.
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