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Indian husbands lose marital rape 'right'

Oct. 27, 2006 at 12:16 PM

NEW DELHI, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A new law in India for the first time will take away husbands' so-called marital rape right, a problem women have endured for years without legal remedy.

The law will make it a crime for husbands to commit such abuses as marital rape, or inflict sexual, emotional or verbal abuse on their wives in their own homes, reports Britain's Independent newspaper.

"It's going to orient women to stand up for their own rights and take the necessary precautions to empower themselves," said Renuka Chowdhury, minister of women and child development.

Most of the violence against women occurs inside the home in India, while it is still quite safe for them on city streets at night. The report said every six hours, a young married woman is burnt to death, beaten to death or driven to suicide by emotional abuse from her husband. Previously it was difficult to prosecute marital rape because it was considered part of a husband's conjugal rights.

Violations of the new law will carry a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $450. It will also take away a share of an abusive husband's earnings and property to help the victim.

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