In 2013, when India’s rape laws were thoroughly reviewed, many eyebrows were raised. Not only because of what found a place in the law (death penalty), but what didn’t (marital rape). It’s bewildering how much sex outside of marriage is stigmatised, but rape in a marriage isn’t even recognised. A new video by The Viral Fever’s new channel Girliyapa, addresses the issue with stinging satire. Called ‘How I Raped Your Mother’ (Yes – they did it on purpose), the sketch plays out similar to the setting of a Hindi soap opera, complete with a laughter track – but one that’ll make you squirm uneasily in your seat because of where and how it plays out.
There has been enough debate and flip-flop on marital rape, spearheaded by our own Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi. In 2015, while she strongly stood against it (while in Opposition), this year she has said it is a ‘western concept’ and cannot be applied in India due to factors like illiteracy and poverty (oh, and also because marriage is a sacred institution). Such callous comments despite how more than 30% of men in a survey said that they had committed sexual violence on their wives, at least once.
And you know what’s even more shocking? Rape is committed every 20 minutes in India, and this is without counting figures of marital rape (because guess what, that’s not even counted). Is this why our reaction to rape is outrage, but our reaction to marital rape is, ‘Come on, hota rehta hai’ (it keeps happening)? Shameful, isn’t it? Also, what comes with marital rape is the society’s mindset to completely belittle any violence in relationships because that’s not ‘real’ violence is it? It’s ‘intense lovemaking’ or ‘passion’ or ‘just deal with it’. The video calls out this attitude as well and forces us to reflect on what we’re doing to someone when we trivialise what they’re going through.
In some places, it’s over-the-top and dramatic, but maybe over-the-top is what we need because nothing else seems to be driving the point home. Watch this and don’t forget the absolutely uncomfortable feeling it leaves you with. Instead, pass it on.