India’s Supreme Court ruled that sex with an underage girl is rape, even if she is married pic.twitter.com/DCEy68oasi
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 11, 2017
After decades of protests from women’s rights activists, a massive rape epidemic that saw hundreds of women violently gang raped and in some cases even murdered and a system that continues to delegitimise the problems and complaints of women, India finally took a step forward in women’s rights. The Indian Supreme Court this week ruled on a petition put before it by the non-profit organisation, Independent Thought, asking that the court criminalise sex with underage women who are given off as wives.
Independent thought argued that since the legal age of consent in India is 18, creating a clause that allows men engage in intercourse with underage women under the guise of marital union is therefore illegal and unconstitutional. Indian law formerly provided an escape clause for married couples and often this clause was abused to force rape victims to stay quiet.
The Supreme Court will not retroactively implement the law, which while unfortunate is the path of least friction considering 5 million underaged girls were married just last year in India. However the new law will hopefully protect more women from suffering a similar fate.