We love Girliyapa, the no-holds-barred all-girl comedy video team from India, and we’ve covered some of their work in the past. But this video, which parodies How I Met Your Mother, a show that had an obsessive following in parts of India, is hard to laugh at.
It starts with a young woman returning to her family with a suitcase. Her legions of aunts and uncles sit around asking why she left and when she says her husband raped her over and over again, they all laugh. Watching this hyperbolic parody of India’s culture of victim-blaming and marital rape denial was like walking into a cold shower. And as the short goes on, more and more realities are turned into objects of derision. There’s a clear tension in the way the older women both try to make it clear they’re the same boat as the young newlywed while also maintaining that it’s not rape, it’s “intense love-making.”
In early March, Maneka Gandhi, India’s union minister for women and child development, said she did not believe marital rape could be enforced in the country, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament etc.”
Despite this being a 180 degree turn from her statement on the subject last year, a point mentioned in the short, marital rape is still not considered a legal crime. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 states married citizens must have sex if their partner requests it, and there have been cases of husbands bringing their wives to court over being denied sex.
Rape rates in India are staggering with an estimated 93 women being raped every day. Marital rape rates are assumed to be 40 times as high, according to a study from the Rice Institute. The issue is compounded by the fact that little to no resources exist for marital rape victims.
Watch the video below and try to sit through the cruel and sobering laugh track.