Consent: What Is It And How It Is Related To Marital Rape?

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We have always talked about consent in terms of power, rather than something that is so basic and necessary that it can be applied almost anywhere. But what does it actually mean and what is its role in understanding 'Marital Rape'?
Consent and Its Relation Between Marital Rape- The Uncharted Minds
Illustration: Sebastien Thibault

She: Hey, Can we stop?

He: Oh, sure…but why?

She: Well, I can’t tell you right now because it’s just too personal to share in such a vulnerable moment. But, if you decide to go on, I’ll lose the respect I have for you because I’ll realize you gave none to me.

This is how a healthy conversation should look like when you get intimate or physical with your partner.

It’s very important to ask for ‘CONSENT’ every time you get physical with your partner.

CONSENT is when a person agrees to the proposal or desires of another.

This term can be applied to fields of law, medicine, research and sexual relationship.

There are four types of consent.

1. Expressed Consent

When a person clearly states his will in the situation either by writing, by speaking or my showing any gesture.

2. Implied Consent

Marked by a person’s action or inaction by simply remaining silent.

3. Informed Consent

It means the people engaging in sexual activity are aware of the consequences like sexually transmitted diseases or results of unprotected sex.
In the research field, it is seen when participants are asked to make sure they understand the facts and consequences of the project.

4. Unanimous Consent

It is the generalized consent given by a group of parties which accounts to Consent of the association.

Now, let’s have a look at how ‘Marital Rape’ is related to ‘Consent’.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as ‘sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped or is of unsound mental health and in any case, if she is under 18 years of age.’

Photo Illustration, Shutterstock

Marital rape is considered a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse
Where there is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent.

But this law is misused by some women by falsely accusing their husbands of harassment as it was seen in the dowry law. It is also very difficult on the part of the court to prove if intercourse was forced or not.

Apart from this, the marriage certificate doesn’t serve as a consent.
However recently, Odisha High Court ruled out that Sex on the pretext of the false promise of marriage does not amount to rape. Setting aside the order by a lower court, the High Court granted bail to a man who was accused of impregnating a 19-year-old woman, after falsely promising marriage.

‘A consensual relationship without even any assurance obviously will not attract the offence under section 376 of IPC (Indian Penal Code)’ Justice Panigrahi said.

A huge part of the issue is due to how sex is viewed in our country and how a large part of men are sex deprived and the concept of the first night, which pushes the idea that you have to do it.

The base problem is mixing premarital sex with honour and sheer lack of awareness. Couples should have the freedom to do it when both feel like not just legally but emotionally as well.

The consent applies to all arenas apart from sex.

Here are some examples of times where it is essential to ask for ‘CONSENT’.

  • Before you hug someone.
  • Before you touch someone’s dog/animal.
  • Before giving advice.
  • Before touching a pregnant women’s belly.
  • Before sharing information that isn’t yours.

Asking for consent or permission sends the message that you respect and value the other person’s wishes, limits and boundaries, ultimately creating a much healthier relationship.

  • ‘NO’ means ‘No ‘
  • ‘Stop’ means ‘No’
  • ‘Wait’ means ‘No’
  • ‘It hurts’ means ‘No ‘
  • ‘Not now’ means ‘No’
  • ‘I’m not sure’ means ‘No’
  • ‘I have changed my mind’ means ‘No’

And doesn’t mean “Convince me”.

Remember, we don’t always know someone’s history or how they might respond, so don’t go assuming and ask for ‘CONSENT’.

References and Citations

  1. What consent does—and doesn’t—look like.
  2. Types of consent – Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Heena Gupta
Heena Gupta
3 years ago

It’s rare to find such critical topics in the internet but you guys did it again…More power to you Ankita ❤️

Jimmy Sampson
Jimmy Sampson
3 years ago

Consent have to be assertive and clear…if not then don’t do anything that you have to regret later.

Subhashree sahu
Subhashree sahu
3 years ago


Deepak Chauhan
Deepak Chauhan
3 years ago

This is a growing topic to be discussed. Consent has become so crucial in marital rape and false rape charges that the understanding of it should be mandatory.

Khushbu Chokshi
Khushbu Chokshi
3 years ago

A must read for all who think NO means YES.
Don’t get inspired from the Bollywood. Those are all drama and acting ?

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