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India's Supreme Court ruling bans sex with child brides

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By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
10/12/2017 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Sex with child brides will now be prosecuted.

Men in India who take child brides can now be prosecuted for rape. The Supreme Court in India has ruled that girls below the age of 18 are not to be sexually assaulted, even if the assailant is her husband by law. Previously, men were allowed to force their child brides into sexual relations. The ruling is an advancement for women's rights in India.

Women have organized in India to demand their government provide them with greater protections from predatory men.

Women have organized in India to demand their government provide them with greater protections from predatory men.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
10/12/2017 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: India, Supreme Court, ruling, child brides, sex


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Around 5 million girls are married in India, and as such they can be compelled to have sex with their husbands, who can be much older. If forced to have sex, these children have no legal recourse, until now.

Women's rights are an issue in India which has seen women treated as second-class citizens. Rapes are rarely reported, rarely investigated, and prosecutions are rarely successful. Meanwhile, victims are often blamed and shamed.


Several sensational attacks against women has galvanized millions of Indian women to rally and demand better protection under the law. Now, it seems the message has been received, and the lawmakers and courts are starting to do more to protect women.

A recent ruling from the Supreme Court now says that men can be prosecuted if they force their child brides into sex. Until now, men have been allowed to have sex with their underage brides, regardless of consent.

Child marriage itself is technically illegal in India, but the practice is still common. Poverty, social customs and weak law enforcement allows the practice to persist.

About a quarter of women in India say they were married before the age of 18, and about twenty percent of men say they married child brides.

The way to end such practices lies in policies that ensure equal pay for women and men. Minimum wage laws also help. Women find it difficult to find profitable work that allows them live independently or to delay marriage until they are adults and find a suitable husband.

As women earn more money and became capable of supporting themselves without men, marriages and birth rates tend to decline, taking place later. Women also enjoy greater status and autonomy in society.


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