In Bangladesh’s perspective, married is a religious issue. Most of people whether they like religion or not, make marriage religious. This effect is even more noticeable as it is a Muslim and Hindu inhabited country. Every people are concerned about that yet marital rape is not stranger history in Bangladesh. Although there is speculation among theologians about this issue, it is desirable for the state to find out a fair solution for those who are being persecuted.
Especially male-based society, they think the issue of marital rape is not an important issue and most people tell against this issue. There are many who do not say anything about marital rape for fear of religious outrage and those who say so have to listen to atheist titles given by religious theorists. Not only men but also women believe that after marriage: all rights on women are husbands. Although it is included in sexual abuse, women accept it.
No matter what people say, rape and marital rape are not the same things. Although incidents of rape are usually reported in society, marital rape remains hidden from view. Occasionally some cases of marital rape have been heard in the different parts of the country, the socialists are reluctant to accept it. But those who agree to marital rape of marital sex are foolish to accept unconditional acceptance. Again those who do not agree to say rape for the sake of religion, but cannot deny the responsibility of such inhuman torture.
In Bangladesh, there is no use of the term for marital rape. It’s not a familiar term in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi family culture is unique from Western family cultures. In Bangladesh most of the wife’s thoughts, a husband is the second god-like god. The issue of marital rape has been neglected for a long time. Considering social or religious values, maybe this is being done. The law enacted by the British in 1860 also did not provide any clear remedy for marital rape. “The Penal Code, 1860” section 375 provides a statement about marital rape- “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under thirteen years of age, is not rape.”
As per section 375, if the wife is beneath 13 years of age, as it were in that case sexual intercourse by the husband with or without her consent will constitute the offense of rape. That’s to say, if the wife’s age isn’t less than 13 a long time and her husband compels her to have sexual intercut with him, it’ll not sum to rape. Hence this exclusion clause makes it lawfully inconceivable for a man to rape his wife who is over 13 years of age.
This law states that if a husband in a married relationship forces a 13-year-old girl to have sex with him as his wife that girl cannot file a rape case and through this we are legalizing the rape of a 13-year-old girl. To punish the husband, the wife must be under 12 years of age. And the maximum punishment for any kind is 2 years.
Although the punishment for rape has been ensured by various act of Bangladesh after independence, there is a marked indifference towards marital rape. Punished for the rape in “The Prevention of Oppression Against Women and Children Act 2000”, Section 9(1) If in consequence of rape or any act by him after rape, the woman or the child so raped, died later, the man shall be punished with death or with transportation for life and also with fine not exceeding one lac taka.
Also, if more than one man rape a woman or a child and that woman or child dies or is injured in consequences of that rape, each of the gang shall be punished with death or rigorous imprisonment for life and also with fine not exceeding one lac taka.
Bangladesh is one of 36 countries in the world where a 13-year-old child can be forced into intercourse. BRAC survey found that almost no one considers rape after marriage to be violence against women. Only 4% of people think that a wife can be raped by her husband. People in our society think that a husband can enjoy his wife whenever he wants, in any way he wants. A famous scholar Dr. David Finkelhor said in his work, testimony supporting the criminalization of marital rape: “When you are raped by a stranger you have to live with a frightening memory. When you are raped by your husband, you have to live with your rapist.”
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 27.3 percent of women said they were forced into sex by their husband’s coercion against their will. A survey conducted by BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health has revealed alarming information. 63% percent of men in the country still think it is permissible to force a wife if she does not agree to have sex, and 62 percent believe that there is a time when a wife should be beaten for her own work.
It has always been a controversial issue in academic arena whether any marital actually exists or not especially in the eye of Islam or Sharia, marital rape does not exist because when a girt enters into the age of menstruation she becomes capable of physical intercourse and in this case physical capacity is pre-condition for intercourse (not for marriage, one can get married even before menstruation in Sharia) after marriage. Basically marital rape is the output of secular modern liberal philosophy which is linked with the feminism. So we have to think about the probable social consequences before using the term ‘marital rape’ and its legal enforcement.
The writer is a member of Social Research Group (SRG) and student of Public Administration at Comilla University.