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USA TODAY/GLOBAL POST — One in every four Indians is illiterate, and one out of every five lives below the poverty line. Many in the country are deeply religious.
These qualities turn ominous when they make it easier to get away with raping a woman in her own home.
While laws on domestic violence and rape exist in India, rape in the domestic sphere remains unacknowledged. India is one of the few countries in the world that have yet to criminalize marital rape, despite studies and statistics that show a terrifyingly high incidence. Earlier this month, the explanation for this oversight came from an unexpected source.
“The concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context,” said Maneka Gandhi, the minister for women and child development, in response to a question posed to her in Parliament, “due to the level of illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc.”