In India, marital rape is not yet a crime and like anywhere else a sensitive topic to deal with for policymakers, rights activists, lawmakers alike. But the data is staggering. If we were to talk of violence against women in absolute numbers, according to the Indian government's latest National Family Health Survey, about 30% of Indian women aged 18-49 reported having experienced spousal violence. Let that sink in!
In terms of sexual violence, the average Indian woman is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from anyone else, according to the survey of 724,115 women. Marital rape is back in the spotlight as the Delhi High court is listening to a series of petitions demanding that it be criminalised. But what does that actually mean for the feminist movement and women’s rights in the country?