Indian Supreme Court rules child bride sex is rape

Indian Supreme Court rules child bride sex is rape

Child brides can accuse husbands of rape (Stock image)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Supreme Court in India has now ruled that men who have sex with their child bride are guilty of rape.

This means married girls who are under 18 can accuse their husbands of rape, however they have to do so within one year of the alleged incident.

Originally sexual relations between a married couple were legal if the child bride was at least 15 years old.

However the age of consent in the country is still 18 and marital rape isn't an offence, so married couples over 18 cannot press rape charges on their spouse, according to the BBC.

The founder of campaign group Independent Thought Vikram Srivastava, who called for the change in law, said this is a landmark judgement. She asked "How could marriage be used as a criteria to discriminate against girls?"

But despite the breakthrough it is thought the new ruling will be hard to enforce.

BBC reporter Geeta Pandey said a married girl is unlikely to have the courage to speak out against her husband, particularly if she has been married with parental consent.

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