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A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION ON THE IMPACT OF MARITAL RAPE ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF MARRIED WOMEN IN INDIA.

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A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION ON THE IMPACT OF MARITAL RAPE ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF MARRIED WOMEN IN INDIA.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

In India, patriarchal social norms and gender hierarchy enable sexual violence against women in both the public and private spheres. Many women are subjected to lifelong violence and the expression ‘from the womb to the grave’ reflects this. The sexual violence against women in the private sphere is accepted by both society and the State, where the perpetrator can be, for example, the woman’s husband, her parents-in-law or other family members. Most of the women who fall victim to sexual violence lives in family environments that are deeply rooted in both patriarchal and customary practices that can be harmful to them (Arnesh Kumar, 2019). However, women are in a submissive position to their husbands and other family members due to their widespread socioeconomic dependence. Women’s fear of social exclusion and marginalization, as well as the lack of efficient responses regards sexual violence, creates a dead-end by locking them in into a continuing reality of sexual violence.

In addition, The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) Section 375 both defines and criminalizes rape, however, provides for an Exception 2 that is not covered by the provision namely that ‘sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.’ (Exception 2 Section 375 IPC, hereinafter referred to as the marital rape exception) Meaning that forced sexual intercourse within the marriage in India is excluded from being classified as rape. Further more, according to Brigneti and Egbonimali (2019), rape is an act of sexual violence that involves intercourse without consent or against someone being unwilling to engage in the act. The issue of rape cannot be trivialized as it cuts across race, tribe and class. It is a universal phenomenon. And it is endemic. It is an issue that has been subjected to debates by human rights bodies all over the world (Human Right Watch/Africa). Rape is the most gruesome form of violence against women. It is a denial of women’s right of self- preservation. It is an intrusion into the right of privacy of the victim. It is a particular kind of human violence which carries powerful meanings in any culture, ancient and modern. The act of rape is not new. The problem is that it is on the increase and the effects are becoming more harmful to the victims and their relatives.

Conceptually, the term "marital rape" refers to any non-consensual sexual contact with a spouse. Acts of forced sexual contact, including but not limited to vaginal penetration are considered marital rape in India, with the condition that the wife is younger than fifteen years of age. Sexual violence in marital relationships is one of the most privatized and least addressed forms of violence. In India, while rape outside of marriage is a crime, rape within marriage is not necessarily considered criminal and is socially tolerated (Russel, 2019). Under reporting of sexual Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) masks the true burden of sexual domestic violence. Most sexual violence in India occurs within marriages but it is estimated that only about 10% of victims report spousal sexual abuse. This suggests that the lack of accurate reporting on marital rape, has not only undermined an appreciation for the true burden of sexual assault in Indian society, but has also contributed to the paucity of research on the psychological impact of spousal sexual abuse.

Additionally, women who are victims of spousal sexual abuse often suffer from other types of IPV as well; physical, emotional, and psychological, thus bearing a particularly potent burden of exposure and psychiatric risk. Despite the evidence of adverse effects of marital rape on the mental and emotional health of victims, in India, rape in the context of marriage remains largely unaddressed in clinical practice, scientific research, and public health surveillance.Therefore, the study will critically investigate on the impact of marital rape on the mental health of married women in India.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), marital rape is four times more common than stranger rape, yet there is not much awareness about it. It is also stated that one in ten married women will experience marital rape, which is millions in India alone. Battered women not only endure physical and psychological harm, but more often than not, also endure sexual harm. However, the mental effects of rape on women are usually more prominent since their behavior begins to shift rapidly. This then has effects on the women’s social life, work life, academic life, and even relationships with their friends and family.

In addition, rape has a lot of negative psychological and mental effects, especially when done by someone you know or trust (Victorio, Brisa, 2023). According to  Rape victims begin to either believe it was acceptable or pretend like nothing happened. marital rape survivors to have more severe and long-lasting consequences. They suffer from higher ratings of anger and depression than those who were raped by strangers (Kennedy, 2018). Victims express a lot more guilt, humiliation, and betrayal and experience much more sexual distress. Those who experience both rape and physical abuse have lower self-esteem, are unsatisfied with their body image, and are not happy in their sexual relationships (Frieze, 2018).

Further more, marital rape takes a drastic toll on a woman’s overall health. It is a violation that occurs to their mental and physical self simultaneously. Barnhill, E., & Kennedy Bergen, R. (2016) assert that women who once believed and see their home to be their safe space, has now been intruded by her rapist husband, in whom she confided. The person who was supposed to respect and care for her has now violated her space and deprived her of any comfort she once knew. On the other hand, women who were assaulted by their husbands were often physically hurt due to the aggravation. As a result of marital rape, many women experienced pain during intercourse, vaginal pain and bleeding, leaking of urine, miscarriages, stillbirths, and unwanted pregnancies. Women who refused to have sex were often hit, burned, or kicked during sex (Bergen, 2016). Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to critically investigate on the impact of marital rape on the mental health of married women in India.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to critically investigate on the impact of marital rape on the mental health of married women in India. Specifically, the study will;

1.         Examine the prevalence of marital rape among women in India.

2.        Investigate the causes of marital rape among women in India.

3.        Ascertain the effect of marital rape on mental health of married women in India.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

1.        What are the prevalence of marital rape among women in India?

2.        What are the causes of marital rape among women in India?

3.        What is the effect of marital rape on mental health?

1.5 Significant of the Study

A critical investigation on the impact of marital rape on the mental health of married women in India will be revealed to the various levels of government in India, women's rights advocates, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, women, media outlets, and students. It will educate women about the causes of rape, factors associated with it and how to prevent rape incident. Further more, it will be revealed to NGOs in other to help educate women about the issue of sexual assault and rape, and encourage community dialogue on gender-based violence. Also, media will be able to use this research to educate the general public about the Sexual Offense Act of 2006 and the harsh penalties for committing rape.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to a critical investigation on the impact of marital rape on the mental health of married women in India.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on a critical investigation on the impact of marital rape on the mental health of married women in India. Theoretically, this study will examine the prevalence of marital rape among women in India, investigate the causes of marital rape among women in India and ascertain the effect of marital rape on mental health of married women in India.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to women in Goa, India.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Rape : unlawful sexual activity.

Rapist: a person who rapes someone.

Women: an adult female human being.

Mental health:  is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with stress.



This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Methodology: available


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