• The Legal Rapist: Simar Singh’s Hard-Hitting Poem On Marital Rape

    It’s 2017, and the debate on criminalizing marital rape is still a grey area. Although social activists, comedians, poets, writers etc. are trying to spread awareness regarding the subject, some people still don’t seem to get it. Sexual consent in a marriage is assumed as a given. The popular mindset is that if it’s done by a husband to his wife, then there is nothing wrong about it. Some people in fact blame the wives for not “fulfilling” their duty.

    But it’s refreshing to know that young men and women are choosing to speak up against it, and trying to spread the importance of consent in any situation, whatever the relation. One such spoken poetry – “THE LEGAL RAPIST” – by Simar Singh is a hard hitting one. The poet’s take on marital rape is very strongly worded.

    His poem starts with first establishing how being a housewife is a full-time job, and how the wife and her husband both work full time to make ends meet. Then slowly he tells how in the name of “love”, her consent is not considered. “As if making love to him was not an option but an obligation,” the line reads. He then goes on to state how the wife had to consider her husband’s consent when he said no for making tea because “My no has lesser value than his no, and it’s justified because he earns for the family”.

    The poem then continues with the wife realizing that what was happening to her was marital rape. The poem states the much asked question about marital rape “How could it be rape if we were married? How could he be jailed for loving his wife?” the wife says “It sounds so unreal but it feels so true”. The poem mentions how “Husbands have turned into legal rapists from lovers”, and how “so many young boys have been taught this crime as a ritual” He ends it by questioning “if being an housewife a full-time job then isn’t it harassment at workplace?”

    Like I mentioned, it is strongly worded poetry hitting all the right buttons. We went around to know what youths understood by marital rape. Here’s what they have to say:

    Anukul Jain, who belongs to Udaipur, Rajasthan, said, “I don’t understand why it is given a different name? Like rape is rape, no matter who does it, if the girl says no it should be no. Just like stealing is a crime, even if you steal from your own parents. Similarly rape is a crime, even if it’s the husband who is doing it.”

    Some feel the entire wave of criminalizing marital rape is stupid because rape is already a crime and they are the same thing

    “I don’t understand why are people fighting to criminalize it as if it’s different from rape. It is the same thing, the fight should be to make people understand that having any relation doesn’t remove the need for consent, that marital rape is just as wrong as rape, and the punishment should be the same as the criminals who commit rape,” says Kaushal Mehta, a MBA, residing in Ooty.

    There are some who feel it’s worse than getting raped by a stranger.

    Ravi Shah, a Mithibai College student from Mumbai, said, “It is worse because you have to live with your rapist and then even give him food.  It is bad because, umm how do I explain? Think of it it this way — when a stranger pokes a knife in your back, you’re going to be very hurt, it’s going to be painful, and you’re going to be very angry and would want to punish him, but when the same thing is done by your friend, the hurt, the pain and the anger is still there, but what’s more is the disbelief because your friend is someone who was supposed to protect you, you will be disheartened because you expect your friends to think about you and care for you.”

    You can watch the video here. Do share with us your views on marital rape.

    Picture credit: Hindustan Times

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