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Archive for January, 2013

Joint letter from No To Rape and AWARE

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Last week the Straits Times published a joint letter from No To Rape and AWARE, responding to recent Forum contributions on the subject of marital rape.

The argument in support of Section 375(4) of the Penal Code, which treats marital rape as an exception to rape save in certain circumstances, is that “sexual relations are to be expected in a marriage”.

We agree, but consent should still be a pre-condition.

Where an individual regularly refuses to have sex with her spouse, the correct remedy would be for the spouse to seek a divorce, rather than to force her to have sex.

Law enforcers and lawyers regularly examine evidence of rape in other contexts.

If marital rape immunity were entirely repealed, these agencies would just have to apply the same considerations to marital rape cases, which are currently automatically excluded regardless of the strength of evidence.

Click here to read the full letter.

It is also worth noting some of the arguments raised by Benjamin Joshua Ong in support of reform:

First, by making the lack of consent to sexual intercourse merely an aggravating factor to another criminal charge, the present legislation does not highlight that the harm arises from the very fact of sexual intercourse without consent, and not only from other concomitant incidents of violence.

Second, it neglects the need for accurate labelling of offences. The word “rape” has connotations that reflect the seriousness of the offence. Surely nobody would be satisfied if the law referred to murder as, say, “very serious assault”; it would simply not do justice to the sense of moral repugnance at the crime.

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