Even though Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India, it’s still a taboo in our society. According to NCRB DATA 2018, 1 rape is reported every 15 minutes in India.
It is not just a large number of rape cases that are alarming, but also the lack of awareness among people about Marital Rapes.
The lack of consent is an essential element of Marital Rape. It is considered a form of sexual abuse yet it remains a non-criminalized crime in India.
Anushka – a 22-year-old law student from UPES Dehradun, has recently written a book titled “The Criminalization of Marital Rape in India: A Distant Dream”.
The book has been published by Lambert Academic Publishing, in English and 8 other languages including French, Spanish, German and Italian.
In this book, Anushka talks about the various judicial pronouncements, arguments of the government, and the court against criminalizing Marital Rape. She also suggests a model that emphasizes the need for change and the implementation of certain laws.
Hailing from Tata Nagar, Anushka, at this young age, not only understands the hardships of women in our society but is also dedicated to uplifting their condition besides pursuing to become a lawyer.
Anushka has written several research papers on topics like Surrogacy, Acid Attack, Menstrual Hygiene, Legalization of Prostitution and many more.
Prior to her book on Marital Rape, she also wrote a research paper on Marital Rape, for which she was conferred with the ‘Young Researcher Scholarship Award’ at the National University of Singapore.
Her efforts towards women empowerment don’t end here. She has started her own organization ‘NAARI’ to promote menstrual hygiene among rural women.
By now she has authored two books, her previous one “Because Being Together is Enough” was written by her in the 12th standard. Currently she is working on another book which is based on her struggle with depression and anxiety.
Anushka, herself, was under depression for a long period of 6 years and was under treatment and heavy doses of antidepressants. But ultimately she realized that it is only she, who had to fight for herself and she stood against all the odds and overcame it.
Now, the young author also talks about how mental health is given least important these days, which eventually leads to suicides.
Although she admires a lot of people, she owes her success to her father, Mr. Ram Dayal Singh — who works as a senior manager with Tata Steel, and has been her constant support in every ‘thick and thin.’
Her message for the readers of DehradunTales is:
“Please take a step towards contributing a little for the betterment of the society, it is our primary responsibility, being the youth of the nation.”
DehradunTales congratulates Anushka for publishing a book on such a sensitive topic as Marital Rape. We are proud of her revolutionary mindset against such social evils and wish her good luck and fortune for her endeavors in awakening the people.
Read her complete interview, wherein she shares about the book, her journey filled with challenges, and much more.
Q. Before going into the details of the book, tell us about yourself, your family, and hometown in brief.
I come from a city called Tatanagar which is also known as the Steel City, I have been born and brought up here.
Since a very small age, I had realized that I always wanted to work for the betterment of the society and so I have been writing about issues like gender equality and sanitation, hygiene since I was in school.
My family has always been very supportive of everything I do and has always pushed me to come to the forefront and voice my opinion.
Q. Tell us about your book, what can one expect from it, and what it is all about?
The title of my book is “The Criminalization of Marital Rape in India:- A Distant Dream”, it basically talks about the exception clause of Sec. 375 which explicitly mentions that consent is presumed within marriage and hence Marital Rape cannot be classified as a crime.
I have tried to include every aspect of this issue in my book where I have talked about the existing laws, various judicial pronouncements, arguments of the government, and the court against criminalizing Marital Rape.
Further, I have suggested a model that emphasizes on the need for change in certain laws and the implementation of certain laws from the ground level.
Having said that there is also an urgent need to create more awareness about this so that people start acknowledging the fact that wrong has been done to them.
Q. How did you conceive the idea of writing a book on marital rape and what was the most challenging part of writing on such a sensitive topic?
Well, the first time this idea came up to my mind was when I had a conversation with my house helper about the instances where she was not only beaten up but was expected to submit to the sexual needs of her husband when and where he desired.
The only question I asked myself at that point of time was “Whether a woman’s autonomy over her own body is a right which is curtailed post marriage?” That was when I decided to research this issue.
I have always been a strong advocate of women’s rights and this seemed to be a widespread problem that certainly had to be talked about.
Nevertheless, the most challenging part was to get people to speak about it because there’s this stigma attached that speaking against marital rape would eventually destroy the sacrosanct union of marriage.
Q. According to you, what is the root cause of marital rapes and your views on circumstantial evidence and classification of rapes?
The root cause of Marital rape is primarily the presence of innate social misogyny in the society which has led to the exploitation of women at different stages of life.
The act of marital rape shows the presence of dominance within marriage, it clearly indicates that it is treated as the ultimate weapon by the husband to demean and degrade the wife.
I, personally do not believe in the classification of rape as a major, minor, marital, or no marital because of the simple reason that the physical injuries, the mental agony that a victim goes through after this brutal act is committed with her is just the same irrespective of age or marital status.
Talking about circumstantial evidence, it will play a major role in ascertaining the facts of the case in the issue of Marital Rape as has been mentioned in my book.
Q. What model or legal provisions have you suggested in the book to criminalize marital rapes?
There’s a particular model that I have suggested in the last section of my book which includes certain changes in the provisions of the Evidence Act, 1872, Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Apart from that, I have also highlighted the need for more awareness to be created around this issue so that women in the first place know that it is a wrongful act and such pain should not be inflicted upon anybody, doesn’t matter if the perpetrator is her own husband.
Q. In a country like India, what measures would you suggest in order to tackle such an issue?
It is pertinent to say that in the absence of laws relating to the same, there is no accurate data on the number of cases that fall within this ambit.
In the era of legal reforms and revolutions, it is of utmost importance to take steps towards criminalizing marital rape so that we can move a step ahead in the road of progress in a real sense.
Q. Since writing and publishing takes a lot of time, so tell us how much time the entire process took and share some insight on the entire process.
So I had first written a research paper on this issue of Marital Rape which I had presented at a conference which was held at the National University of Singapore where I was given the “Young Researcher Scholarship Award”.
Thereafter I decided to conduct more detailed research for my book so the entire process roughly took around 6 to 7 months.
Q. Tell us about the publishing company and languages in which it is published?
The publishing company’s name is Lambert Academic Publishing established in Germany and it basically specializes in thesis, dissertations, and research projects worldwide.
My book has been published in English as well as 8 other languages which include French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.
Q. Tell us about the international exchange programs that you have been part of?
I had been to Sri Lanka for an international internship that was based on Entrepreneurship, I basically wanted to study the trend of entrepreneurship currently going on in Sri Lanka and my major goal was also to get some exposure by interacting with students from different cultures and backgrounds.
Q. Apart from this book, what other books and research papers have you published?
I had written my first book when I was in the 12th grade called “Because Being Together is Enough” and I am currently working on my third book which is based on my struggle with depression and anxiety.
Talking about research papers I have written many of them mostly focusing on women-centric issues like Surrogacy, Acid Attack, Legalization of Prostitution, Menstrual Hygiene, Female Genital Mutilation, etc.
Currently, I have also started a youth organization called NAARI which promotes menstrual hygiene and distributes sanitary napkins to women especially in the rural areas.
Q. Please throw some light on depression and how to overcome it?
So I had been suffering from depression for 6 years, was under treatment and heavy doses of antidepressants along with anti-anxiety injections. It was a difficult process both mentally and physically, life just seemed to have come to a standstill.
But all I realized was that it is your own struggle for your own life and nobody but you will have to fight for it. This life has been given to us for a certain reason, we just cannot give up.
Having said that I would always say that society still considers mental health issues to be of least importance which eventually leads to people committing suicide. Be kind and see how the world can become a better place to live in.
Q. What are your immediate future plans and where do you see yourself 10 year down the line?
I am currently pursuing law and I am in the 4th year so I will be completing my graduation in the year 2022. Thereafter I am planning to pursue LLM from one of the ivy league colleges, at least that is what I am working for day and night as of now.
10 years down the line I certainly believe that I will be able to make a greater change in the society by the role I would be playing through the work I would do for the empowerment of women in my country and the development of my country as a whole.
Q. Who is your role model or source of inspiration? Please share about their contribution in your journey.
My source of inspiration and strength has always been my father, I always try to become at least a part of what he is, the attitude of not giving up in life is something which is very important and that I have learned from him.
He has been with me through thick and thin, has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do in life irrespective of whatever the world had to say and I owe all my success to him.
I also am extremely thankful to my mother for being that close friend a child always needs.
Q. Your message to the readers of DehradunTales.
All I want to say to all the readers out there is to please take a step towards contributing a little for the betterment of the society, it is our primary responsibility, being the youth of the nation.
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