A Lesson In Consent, With Love, For BJP's Social Media Chief

18/03/2016 5:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
A participant holds an umbrella with rainbow colors as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community and their supporters from across India participate in a pride walk in Surat in Gujarat state, India, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. The walk was organized for the first time in the Gujarat state demanding social acceptance and equal rights. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Dear Amit Malviya,

As the "in-charge" of the IT cell and social media division of the country's governing party, we expect from you clear articulation of your party's positions on social media. So when you tweeted about marital rape yesterday, we were shocked at how confused you were at an elemental level about issues surrounding sex and consent. As your well-wishers, we can't allow you to embarrass yourself publicly further in this manner. And hence, here, please accept this introductory note on issues relating to sex and consent as a gift from us.

Also Read: RSS Stand Is Clear: We Disapprove Socially, But Decriminalize Homosexuality

We see where you are coming from. If you look at it from a "role of the state" perspective, it would seem like those who ask the state to get out of the bedroom when it comes to homosexual relations, those pesky liberals, are the same folks who are asking for the state to intervene in the bedroom by legislating a marital rape law. #Ironymax, right?


The difference is consent. What people are demanding is for consensual homosexual acts to be decriminalized. Not homosexual rape. Forced sex or rape is violence and ought to be a crime--irrespective of whether the pairing is homosexual or heterosexual-- and the state has a legitimate role to play in offering the protection of law to those who are vulnerable to such violence.

Now, let's look at what consent means. Simply, a 'yes'. And this is how it works in sexual relationships: If say two people say 'yes' to kissing each other, they kiss. If, they both say 'yes' to cuddling, they cuddle. If they say 'yes' to have sexual intercourse, they have sex. However, if one person says yes to intercourse and another person doesn't, they DO NOT have sex. Also, a 'yes' to kissing and cuddling doesn't naturally mean a 'yes' to sex. Stay with us, it's not that complicated.

Now, if the willing person forces himself or herself on the unwilling person, it is called rape. 33,000 Indian women were raped in 2013 and those are just the reported figures.

Being the legally wedded partner doesn't give you a pass to forcibly have sexual intercourse with someone. And like married people kill, abduct, cheat and beat people up, they also rape. If the husband (in most cases the offender has been found to be the man) is unhappy with the state of his conjugal rights, he can discuss it with his wife and if she is still unwilling to have sex with him, seek a divorce on the grounds of that. Marriage gives him no legal right on his wife's body and vice versa. And Section 498 (A) doesn't mention rape in its ambit. If the government insists on looking away as women get raped by their husbands, it's no different from looking away as a someone gets lynched right in front of your eyes.

Marital rape is not somehow more benign because the perpetrator is your husband. It needs to be criminalized, and no, Indian families won't suddenly fall apart, as many of your partymen have argued, just because the husband is required to treat his wife as a human being.

Also, no, there is no irony here, unless you are also confused about what the word means.

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