Goa branch of the Bombay High Court recently held that men cannot be convicted for rape in love instigated consensual sex. As per a report in The Times of India, a trial court had awarded seven-year jail term to a chef from Goa after a woman accused him of raping her, on false promises of marriage. The High Court, however, observed that “the consent could not be said to be based only on the promise made by him but was out of love affair”.  This isn’t the first-time High Court refused to treat consensual sex due to an incentive of marriage as rape. Just last year the Bombay High Court had noted during the hearing of a similar case that if two consenting adults “consciously enter into a physical relationship, they are fully aware of the consequences and must bear the same.” (As per an article in The Hindustan Times)

 Women need to consider the possibility that false promises of marriage can be used as an incentive for sex. But that cannot amount to charges of rape.

There is a difference between consensual sex and rape

Rape is when a perpetrator forces a person into a sexual encounter against his or her will. The important word here is “will”, especially in case of adults. If two adults are in a relationship and consensual sex follows, then it cannot be classified as rape. Many times women say their paramours coerce them into sex with promise of marriage. Also, in many cases women use rape allegations to get back at estranged lovers, not being able to move on from a rough break up. But is it right to get back with accusations of rape?

Adult sexual encounters come with a sense of awareness, and neither partner can shrug off their part, citing gullibility.

Rape is a serious allegation

Sexual assault is one of the most heinous acts. Its survivors have a tumultuous afterlife due to their traumatic experience. Rapists deserve stricter sentences and should face severe consequences, because they took away a person’s sexual liberty and forced theirs. This is one crime which exhorts disgust across social sections unanimously.

 A rapist’s tag comes with a very heavy personal, social and civic price. Thus, it becomes our responsibility to make sure we are able to separate actual offences from deception.

I agree that it is a painful experience to get misled into sexual relationships. However, they need to understand what kind of consequences allegations of rape may bear for the defendant. People use all types of incentives to coerce sex out of men or women. But as long as any of the participating parties is getting into it willingly, both physically and mentally, then we cannot call it rape. Its high time women realise that a promise of marriage or coercion for the sake of love, maybe a façade. This is treacherous trickery at the best but it is not rape.

Also Read : Blurred Lines Between Dating, Sex and Non-Verbal Cues

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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