Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
SlutWalk Singapore is holding a series of events to combat sexual violence in Singapore and the social attitudes that often prevent rape survivors from being taken seriously when they speak about their experiences. No To Rape has contributed a guest blog post on marital rape to the SlutWalk site.
Some rapes, the law says, don’t really count.
To understand this, we need to recognise that there are broadly two, incompatible, ways of looking at rape.
The first takes seriously the fundamental right of all people to the ownership of their bodies. There are no exceptions. Every person, of any gender or marital status and regardless of anything in their character or personal history, has a right to the absolute final say on what, if anything, is put into their bodies. A rapist’s physical acts are a forcible assertion of the right to make this decision for someone else. This is inherently violent, even if there are no further blows (though there often are). Rape is best thought of not as “sex gone wrong”, but as a beating, carried out with a sexual organ rather than a fist. This point of view is championed by – among others – No To Rape, the campaign to abolish marital immunity for rape in Singapore.
Click through to read the rest of the post, as well as the many other perspectives offered by a diverse range of bloggers.
0 - Comment
Friday, November 27th, 2009
The bloggers at Barnyard Chorus have shown No To Rape a lot of support, for which we are very grateful.
They have also put together some resources highlighting what sort of help you can and should seek if you have experienced sexual violence, whether from a spouse or anyone else. We recommend reading this even if you haven’t been assaulted, simply because (as blogger Badly Drawn Pig points out), it is not possible to predict sexual violence in advance:
In this Porkchop’s continued badly drawn efforts to bring you information you might need in case of emergency, I’m going to provide some porcine-weight, choi-ke-lei resources on seeking help in the event of rape or sexual assault, for all women and girls in Singapore.
Rape and sexual assault victims, I think, mostly don’t think or know that they’re going to be victimised like that. So it can happen to anyone.
Information about medical services and helplines follows. Do have a look.
0 - Comment
Wednesday, November 11th, 2009
We would like to thank the blog Barnyard Chorus for supporting No To Rape, with quite a few posts on the subject of marital immunity for rape. The latest quotes a legal discussion on human rights and argues that full legal recognition of marital rape is necessary for the humane treatment of women:
While disbelief and associated impunity reign, the violated are–systematically and effectively speaking–rendered not fully human legally or socially. When and where this denial is overcome the rights against the extreme and the normal are recognized, the treatment is defined as inhuman and the victims human.
[...] The reason why [opponents of No To Rape] make these arguments is that in their view there is no need for the law to treat the rape of women as the punishable violation of human beings.
We have acknowledged that the abolition of marital immunity alone will not address all the issues raised by marital rape, and the precise criminal justice responses that are appropriate upon conviction should be open for discussion. However, an adequate solution cannot be found unless there is first a complete and honest acknowledgement that marital rape is a wrong, which society – through the law – condemns as criminal.
Many victims of marital rape report an atmosphere of silence and suppression around their experiences, and at our Seminar social worker Benny Bong, President of the Society Against Family Violence, noted that the social denial of the rape and other domestic violence often amounts to further victimisation in and of itself. It is a refusal of the validity and legitimacy of the pain, and the sense of violation, that these women suffer. Little wonder one signatory on our petition has left a message saying that, in the face of the law as it stands, “As a woman myself, I do not feel respected by my country.”
0 - Comment
Sunday, November 8th, 2009
Our sincere thanks to the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development for kindly featuring No To Rape on their website. This is a membership-based regional human rights organisation in Asia. Presently it has 46 member organisations across Asia, with 46 member organisations from a range of Asian countries including Bangladesh, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and more.
We are also grateful for the link from AWARE’s White Ribbon Campaign, a movement of men who pledge to never commit, condone or stay silent about violence against women and girls.
0 - Comment
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Many thanks to the folks at Syinc for mentioning No To Rape on their SEACHANGE Blog. Syinc is an exciting movement working to empower youths to create social change, and it is very kind of them to link to us.
0 - Comment
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Blogger Terence Lee, who calls himself a “skeptical Christian”, has written about about the extent of support for No To Rape from the Christian community. We’re very grateful to Terence for highlighting our campaign, and would like to address the issue he has raised, by speaking of our efforts to develop a relationship with all religious communities in Singapore.
No To Rape includes individuals who subscribe to a variety of religious beliefs, as well as some who have no religion at all. Our belief is that people from all traditions and faiths have a shared interest in addressing sexual violence within marriage. Everyone in multi-cultural and multi-religious Singapore has a shared interest in fair, humane laws that ensure the protection of all people against assault. No To Rape aims to further that shared interest.
We know that for many people, marital relationships are a deeply spiritual matter intimately tied to the ethical teachings and guidance of their religious communities. For this reason, we have sought to engage religious communities, and have been hard at work contacting a variety of religious authorities to seek their contributions and opinions on the subject.
To date, many have responded positively: see , , ,  (it is not mentioned in that entry, but Mr Blakely is a marriage counsellor with Wesley Methodist Church) and  for some of the messages we have received. There are others, in confidential correspondence, that we cannot currently disclose. It’s also worth noting the guidance of the Christian churches in the Bahamas, where the government is working on legislative changes similar to those we propose.
No To Rape is very conscious of the need to improve this dialogue, which is after all an ongoing process. Our ability to do so, however, is only as good as the connections we manage to form – which in turn is reliant on the goodwill of those who believe in what we stand for. We seek help from you, the public, to more effectively engage the varied traditions which go into the ethical and social space in which Singaporeans live.
If you support the abolition of marital immunity for rape and are able to help us better engage and communicate with leading members in your faith community, please let us know.
0 - Comment
Monday, September 14th, 2009
The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), which endorses No To Rape, has very kindly published a short opinion piece on marital immunity for rape penned by Jolene Tan, a core member of the No To Rape team. Do check it out!
p.s. Don’t forget to tune in to Channel News Asia today, at 8.30pm, to catch an episode of Get Rea! focusing on marital rape. If you can’t make it, don’t fret – there will be repeat broadcasts later this week.
5 - Comment
Sunday, August 16th, 2009
You may have seen that No To Rape has been featured in the Straits Times again. Thank you once again to all the volunteers and supporters who have helped to make this campaign newsworthy. Your efforts mean that the No To Rape message can reach a wider group of people.
Interestingly, blogger Mr Wang has picked up the story (we are grateful for the link!), and it emerges that he was the prosecutor in the landmark marital rape case of PP v N (we posted the facts previously but the link is malfunctioning slightly – click on the ‘Legal’ tag on the right and you can read them). Mr Wang describes his experience in the High Court:
The prosecution appealed for a higher sentence. I took the case to the High Court. There I presented to the Chief Justice various arguments for a heavier sentence.
I still remember the first question that Yong Pung How had asked in court. He asked, “Why wasn’t this man charged for rape?”
Yong didn’t know that the prosecution couldn’t do that. He looked slightly stunned, when I pointed him to the relevant immunity provision in the Penal Code. At first sight, Yong’s ignorance of that point was very surprising (you would expect the Chief Justice to know better). However, on further reflection, Yong’s ignorance was not that surprising.
Why? Well, as Chief Justice, Yong had heard hundreds, perhaps thousands of criminal cases. So he knew a lot about criminal law. But Yong had never heard a single case where a husband had been charged for raping his wife. And that, of course, was because the law did not even allow the prosecution to charge any husband for such an offence.
Anyway, the Chief Justice increased the sentence for N. He brought the overall sentence close to the maximum possible, for the charges of “criminal intimidation” and “voluntarily causing hurt”. If I recall correctly, it added up to a few years’ imprisonment. This was a big improvement over the original sentence, but it was still a lot lower than what it would have been, for a bona fide rape charge. Even the Chief Justice is constrained by the words in the Penal Code, you see.
It may be worth referring to the words of then-Chief Justice Yong in the case, which reflect the principles that rape is a form of sexual violence and that violence committed against one’s spouse is no less severe than violence against a stranger. Both these principles support the total abolition of marital immunity for rape. We have added emphasis to the relevant language.
Click here for more
3 - Comment
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Over at Trapper’s Swamp, a really well-argued blog post about marital rape (emphases from original post):
The author claims that should the laws be repealed, ‘there is now no legal grounds left for the man to actually obtain sex from his wife’. This draws a couple of questions: why do we need legal justification for sex, and is sex the main reason for two persons to get married?
My answer to both questions is ‘No‘. Requiring legal justification for sex in marriage is ridiculous, and arguing that the marital rape immunity clauses remain in the Penal Code because of that is even worse. If legal grounds for sex is the only way a man can get to have sex with his wife (or vice-versa), there are bigger issues at play in that marriage. And if sex is the main reason to get married, then the ‘institution of marriage’ is doomed.
In a healthy marriage, I think it’s natural for couples to show affection for each other in various ways, including sex. There is give and take, understanding and compromise, commitment and communication. The sex will follow.
Consensual sex can be one of the ways in which spouses bond with each other. When mutually desired, it is frequently an intimate activity which may enhance a marital relationship.
The No To Rape petition has nothing to do with situations where married adults have mutually consensual sex to show affection for each other, to conceive children, or for any other purpose. It is concerned only with how we respond in cases where a woman has not consented to sex, and her husband penetrates her against her wishes – cases like PP v N.
In those circumstances, the woman does not experience the act as intimacy, or as sharing, or as a way to increase feelings of closeness between the couple. What she experiences is an act of violence.
Acts of violence are not part of what society values about marriage. Acts of violence hurt marriages and those within them. By condoning such acts, marital immunity for rape does not strengthen the institution of marriage, but rather undermines it.
(See our FAQ on this, too!)
0 - Comment
Saturday, July 18th, 2009
We’ve made a number of changes to the Promote section of the site:
Volunteer: Would you like to volunteer for No To Rape and help abolish marital immunity for rape? We’ve uploaded a Volunteering Form which you should download and return to us by email.
Articles: More news articles on marital rape are available in the right-hand column.
Blogs: We’ve updated the list of blogs that link to us. Thank you all for your support! Honourable mentions to Headspace for some really interesting excerpts from an academic article on marital rape, and Mathia Lee for the lively discussion in the comments.
0 - Comment