Human Rights Should Begin at Home: An Argument for Classifying Domestic Violence as Torture Under the UNCAT

Human Rights Should Begin at Home: An Argument for Classifying Domestic Violence as Torture Under the UNCAT

By Co-Editor Varsha Vijayakumar As Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) comes to a close, it is imperative to consider the ways in which this pervasive form of intimate harm is consistently overlooked on a global scale. In paralleling domestic violence with torture— particularly by dissecting the four core components of Article 1 of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT)— practitioners can begin to uncover the biases inherent to the human rights system as it exists today. Domestic violence is a phenomenon that exists everywhere. It is not restricted to any race, region, class, language, or any other marker of identity-- many people across the globe share this experience.  While it is important to clarify that domestic violence is not only experienced by women, this form of harm is severely gendered and does skew heavily toward women as victims. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies violence against women as a public health...
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Recognition of “Marital Rape” As a Valid Ground for Divorce – An Affirmative Step towards Marital Equality and Women’s Rights in India

Recognition of “Marital Rape” As a Valid Ground for Divorce – An Affirmative Step towards Marital Equality and Women’s Rights in India

By guest contributor Yamika Khanna* The Madras High Court in a remarkable judgment (case name was redacted due to the sensitive nature) upheld that marital rape, although not penalized under the Indian Penal Code, is a valid ground to claim divorce. The judgment is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel in recognizing the heinous nature of marital rape as a gross violation of bodily autonomy, privacy, and dignity of a married woman, especially under a legal regime that considers non-consensual sexual intercourse with the “wife” by the “husband” as an exception to the crime of rape. An appeal was filed before the Hon'ble Court against the judgment of the Family Court. The Family Court vide its judgment allowed the petition for divorce sought by the wife on the ground of cruelty. The gravest contention of the wife with reference to cruelty against her pertained to the worst forms of sexual perversion including unnatural intercourse against the wife’s will. In...
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