This week, as the Delhi high court hears arguments to potentially criminalize marital rape, the debate has crash-landed out of the courtroom into keyboard warrior territory.
The hashtag #marriagestrike has been trending on Twitter in India, with a number of men vowing to shun marriage altogether if marital rape becomes a criminal offense in the country.
Proponents of the marriage strike movement believe that a marital rape law could wrongfully prosecute innocent married men with false rape charges, especially as a means for wives to gain additional alimony in divorce cases.
“Already as of now in India, it is a crime for a man to get married. If a man gets married and if he is accused [of rape], there is no way for him to defend himself. He has no protection,” Anil Kumar, creator of the #marriagestrike hashtag and founder of men’s rights organisation Save Indian Family Foundation.
Men’s rights groups such as Purush Aayog are pushing back legally and saying rape laws have no space in a marriage.
“I strongly think that consent and willingness of sexual acts are ingrained within the act of marriage. If you will bring this rape law inside the marriage and the husband will be given punishment, then who will marry?” Barkha Trehan, a woman and president of Purush Aayog.