One of the most disturbing things I have read lately in the Indian papers is about this concept of marrying a survivor of sexual assault to her perpetrator.
Yes you read that correctly, a man forces himself on a women and she is then forced to marry him. WTF?
The rationale for this seems to be two-fold:
- To “save grace” for the young woman, as she has been raped then she will not be able to be “married off”;
As a means of lessening the sentence of the perpetrator (ie. either pay Rs15,000 fine for your crime or marry her), so it is kind of like a punishment for him to marry her.
It feels like something is fundamentally wrong in a society that validates a criminal’s behaviour by essentially telling them that they continue to perpetrate the crime against another for the rest of their life (I am assuming here that the woman does not wish to have sex with her rapist again, but will no doubt be forced to as his wife). It seems that women are just chattels to be passed from parents to husbands, and anyone who wishes to force themselves on them.
If you don’t believe me then read this article. Unfortunately, this is not just practised in India but several other countries allow survivors of sexual assault to marry their perpetrators from Morocco to Latin America.
I have no suggestions or answers, just a very sad feeling for the good men and women of India.