'Night after night, the torture grew': A survivor of marital rape speaks up

Anita, assaulted by her husband every day, waits for marital rape to become a punishable crime in India.

 |  4-minute read |   05-12-2016
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I still remember the day I got married, at the age of 18. While taking the vows, I glanced at the tall frame of my husband and felt a tug at my heartstrings. I felt tears of joy washing me over, knowing I had a protector now. Alas, even before I could wipe them dry, I was in for a rude shock. On the "suhaag raat (the first night of our marriage)" instead of care, kind words and companionship, I was met with verbal abuse, force and assault.

I could not imagine it was coming from an IAS officer. As he forced himself on me, I felt the overpowering smell of whiskey coming from his mouth. My dreams drowned in the screams that shot through the abyss of my soul, shattering the night's silence.

I began hating the mention of "honeymoon", a word I had once loved. It was synonymous with torture. “Is this how it is all supposed to be?” I wondered. Coming from a middle class family, I had limited exposure and had agreed to the marriage after two meetings. Curious to find out, I called a recently married friend to know about her experience.

“Of course it is painful for virgins", she said laughing. This confused me thoroughly and I passed the rest of the month dreading every single night.

Also read: Dark truths of sex behind closed doors in India

It seemed as if besides doing the household work and being at his disposal at night, my husband had no other use of me. One night, when I gently refused to sleep with him as I had a headache, he picked up a candle, forcibly inserted it into my vagina and said, “Not to worry, you scumbag, I have a remedy for everything." I sobbed endlessly, but he refused to spare me the horror.

The next morning, I got up feeling like a zombie and called my mother to tell her what had happened. “Anu beta, try to adjust. There is no way out.” Her response left me numb.

Night after night, the torture grew. My husband forced me to watch porn and perform all the acts the female pornstars would. I thought it was my duty as a wife to follow his command. I dreaded the days his orders were not followed at work. Those nights were the worst. He would hit me lightly, abusing his colleagues. All hell broke loose when one night, I was running a high fever and pushed him away. He picked up his golf stick and beat me till I passed out.

Watch: License to rape?

Enough was enough. I ran to the police station the next day knowing well that domestic violence was a punishable crime. Would you believe what they told me after hearing my story? One of them smirked and said, “Be grateful lady that your husband is coming to you every night and not going to a prostitute. Go home and keep him happy." This is the one day I regretted being a woman and an Indian.

It has been two years since I began living with this monster. I am now determined to make myself economically independent and file for divorce. In the meantime, I am waiting for the day marital rape will become a punishable crime in this country. That day, I will become my own protector.

- As told to Darshana Doshi

Facts about marital rape in India

- India is among 49 nations that haven't criminalised marital rape

- In their first year after government set up an emergency hotline for women, it received more than 6,00,000 calls from women, some describing assault and rape within their marriage

- When it comes to changing the law, however, the buck is still being passed. But soon it will change if we raise our voice

Like Anita, are you too trapped in an abusive marriage and a survivor of assault? Voice your concerns and tell us your stories. [We will not reveal your identity.]Be the change you want to see. Let us take inspiration from Pakistani women who have dared to react to a recent bill proposed by the clerics in their country that allows men to beat their wives "lightly".

Use #TryBeatingMeLightly to speak up and speak out.

(The above post was reproduced from a Bonobology blog.)

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