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Some good blog posts

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

We’re really delighted to see that people have been blogging in support of No To Rape. We’ve tried to maintain a list of links to blogs and websites that have supported our call for the abolition of marital immunity for rape, but updating it takes some time, so if we haven’t included you yet, please know that we are very grateful to you too! If you would like to draw our attention to your blog do email us.

We’d like to highlight a few posts that particularly struck us. From Yu-Kym:

You might not be able to identify a victim at all. Victims would usually endure such treatment for a period of time before telling anyone. It is humiliating enough getting raped by a stranger or a dinner-date, let alone by one’s own husband. Victims also tend to blame themselves. It certainly doesn’t help that there are judgmental people around would blame the woman for not performing her “wifely duties” in the first place. How about the “husbandly duty” of loving his wife? In my posts [Rough Sex], it took me 7 years to come up with the courage to say that I was almost date-raped. Scroll down to the 3rd comment and you will see someone’s judgment on what happened.

Once, I was also physically held against my will (not raped) after an argument. I had been in a relationship with the guy for many years so I was shocked when it happened for the first time. Did I ever think he would use physical force against me? No. I didn’t even tell my parents about the incident because I didn’t know what to say.

What I have experienced and feel doesn’t even come close to what a wife raped by her husband has. What I’m saying is: anyone might be a victim, including the woman behind the cash register, your colleague, your cousin, your sister or even you. No man should be given the right to do as he pleases with a woman regardless of her relationship to him.

For those reluctant to provide their IC number and name when signing the petition, Yu-Kym also makes the point that these are details we give out all the time, to enter into lucky draws or get free gifts at shopping centres – so please do enter them with your signature. We need these details to keep the petition credible, since they ensure this is being signed by real people. No To Rape is not seeking to make money from you and will not reveal these details to the public against your wishes.

Laicite makes insightful observations on the historical norms supporting marital immunity for rape:

[Under Deuteronomy in the Bible] if a man rapes an unbetrothed virgin, he must pay her father 50 shekels of silver and then marry her. From here we see that rape is not a crime against the woman, it is a crime against her father, because he is the one who owns her and her virginity.

Though the examples I mentioned were from the bible, this misogynistic notion of women as property is by no means limited to religion. Confucian and African cultures also have practices involving virginity testing and proof of “deflowering” on the wedding night, where if it were discovered that the bride were not a virgin, her family would face considerable shame and the marriage could even be annulled. Under Anglo-Saxon law, rape law was a form of property law, whereby the rapist was punished by having to make compensation to the victim’s husband or her father, depending on who exercised ownership over her. In effect, rape was treated as an act of trespass on a woman’s body, which was male property.

Today, such reasoning is not only archaic, it is simply sexist and offensive. Yet we still see similar cases made for the promotion of chastity until marriage, where the woman’s body and virginity is “reserved” for her future husband and rightful owner.

But as long as we respect that women are people too, with the freedom to make their own choices, we cannot dictate one way or another whether and when a woman should have sex.

There’s also been an interesting discussion at Holly Jean. And Tinker, Tailor has written a short but powerful piece.

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