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Posts Tagged ‘Petition’

MCYS response and No To Rape’s reply

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

[Edited on 17 March 2011 to add: A reader has pointed out that No To Rape incorrectly addressed Ms Rahayu Buang of MCYS as “Ms Buang” rather than “Ms Rahayu” in our reply. We are sorry for this error and have emailed Ms Rahayu to apologise. Many thanks to the blog visitor for pointing out our mistake.]

In October 2010 No To Rape made a submission to the Ministry for Community Development, Youth and Sport’s consultation on proposed amendments to the Women’s Charter. We reiterated our call for the complete repeal of Sections 375(4) and 376A(5) of the Penal Code, and also submitted that compulsory marriage preparation courses should emphasise the importance of affirmative consent in all sexual activity.

In November 2010 we received the below response from the Ministry. The reply that we sent them today is also reproduced below.

To date, given the absence of any reply to the original petition from the Prime Minister’s Office, this is the fullest statement that we have from the government on the issue of marital rape. No To Rape is continuing to work at a grassroots level to conduct research and build community report for legislative change. If you would like to be involved, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Click here to read the MCYS response and our reply

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Petition submitted

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Earlier today, the petition was submitted to the Prime Minister by email. A hard copy of the signatures – standing at 3,609 after we went through them to remove spam – was also sent through the post. Thank you to everyone again for your work to spread the message. We will keep you updated on any responses that we receive.

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Petition Closed

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

We would like to thank everyone who has given his or her support to the No To Rape petition to abolish marital rape immunity in Singapore. Twenty minutes ago, our petition has officially come to a close with over 3,600 signatures.

Over the next few days, we will be putting together the data collected before presenting it to our Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, by email and in hard copy. We will keep everyone updated on the progress of the campaign, so please continue to follow us by either signing up to our mailing list, joining our Facebook group, following us on Twitter, or simply returning to this blog from time to time.

This website will also undergo an overhaul to pave the way for future awareness raising and related issues that we will be working hard to bring to you. Stay tuned!

Once again, thank you very much for supporting our call to repeal marital rape immunity in Singapore.

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A final weekend

Friday, November 27th, 2009

It is the final weekend for the No To Rape petition drive. Please take some time to remind friends and family to sign before the deadline on midnight 30 November. We know there are many more people who oppose sexual violence within marriage, and support giving everyone the full protection of the law. But we need your names on the petition to make sure the government knows it too.

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One more week to sign the petition

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

A FIRST HAND WITNESS OF MARITAL RAPE. A 5 YEAR OLD CAN REMEMBER THINGS THAT LAST A LIFETIME.

- Recent message left on our Petition

This week, on 25 November, people around the world will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

No To Rape is also entering its final week, with over 3,100 signatures on our petition to date. This is a great show of support for ending sexual violence against women in Singapore.

But as the deadline of 30 November draws near, it is more important than ever to get the word out. This week is the final window of opportunity for you and your friends and family to sign the petition.

Word of mouth, email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs – every message, and every signature, will help.

Thank you taking action to combat violence against women.

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Women with disabilities and minor wives

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

MCYS has put out a press release which includes details of the National Family Violence Symposium held on Wednesday. One presentation makes particular reference to the position of people with disabilities in the United States (emphases ours):

Studies have long established that people with developmental or other disabilities are disproportionately victimized in the United States. One study found that among adults with developmental disabilities, as many as 83% of females and 32% of males are the victims of sexual assault. Perhaps most astonishingly, 97%-99% of abusers are known and trusted by these victims. Victimization rates for persons with disabilities is highest for sexual assault (more than 10 times as high) and robbery (more than 12 times as high).

There are a number of factors related to the susceptibility to abuse for individuals with disabilities. In addition, there are many existing significant barriers, both real and perceived, that affect vulnerable adults and their interaction with the criminal justice system. These barriers include societal perception of disability, use of appropriate language and current realities for adults and children with disabilities.

Under the Penal Code at the moment, marital rape is excluded from the definition of rape unless the victim had taken certain legal steps, including for example applying for a personal protection order, prior to the assault.

One of the arguments set out in our Petition is that the requirement of making applications for orders, injunctions etc. may be especially difficult to fulfil for minor wives and/or women with disabilities with abusive husbands who are adult and/or able-bodied. Such girls and women are likely to be in a position of dependence – economic, or physical, or both – which makes it much harder for them to cross the extra hurdles put in place before they can seek the protection of the criminal law.

We hope that MCYS and the government will pay close attention to the implications of the presentation for the Penal Code. The situation in the United States may not be directly comparable to the situation in Singapore. But if women with disabilities are especially likely to suffer sexual violence within the home, it becomes even more important that marital immunity for rape be completely abolished.

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Thanks to The Online Citizen

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

No To Rape would like to thank The Online Citizen (TOC) for its recent coverage of the campaign. It raises some interesting questions about the response to No To Rape, including a comparison to the 2007 petition to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code.

Originally scheduled to end in September, the petition drive has been extended to 30 November.

One reason for this slow response is because marital rape has been given less publicity in the press, as opposed to homosexuality, said professor Chua Beng Huat, a sociology professor in the National University of Singapore (NUS).

He added: “Those who were raped by their spouses are reluctant to go to court for violence or abuse.”

Prof Chua also said that victims of marital rape are also less likely to take on self-identity as marital rape victims, unlike homosexuals who label themselves as LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people).

According to him, gay politics is driven by gays themselves and not by somebody on their behalf, and they constitute a significant number of individuals signing the petition against 337A, while marital rape petition is done on the behalf of the victims who are likely to be a small number.

As the article mentions, we are very much heartened by the positive responses we’ve had to date – it means a great deal to us because we are such a small team, working with so few resources. It’s worth noting, though, that homosexuality has a much greater profile in pop culture and the media in recent years than does marital rape. Movies like Brokeback Mountain and Milk have achieved immense commercial success, but there is no real comparable visibility for marital rape. Moreover, rape victims are more unlikely to identify themselves to anyone at all, even to one another, or gather for social and other purposes on the basis of their experiences of victimisation, as it is often hard to imagine any gain from doing so. This is especially the case in relation to marital rape, where the law does not even recognise the assault as rape to begin with.

In our opinion, these are a few reasons why the petitions are not in quite the same position in terms of pre-existing visibility and organiser and supporter demographics.

Our hope is very much that this campaign will help to open up a public conversation about this issue, and to the extent this is already happening, your responses to us have been far from “lukewarm”. For this, we thank you, the public – and hope you will continue to push the discussion further in every possible arena.

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Making ourselves heard

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Thanks to your help in spreading the word, we now have more than 2,800 signatures on the Petition. This is a great show of support for the abolition of marital immunity for rape, but we can do more. Please continue to let others know about the petition – tell your family members over dinner, post it to your Facebook profile or your blog, or make use of our handy leaflets to let people know about No To Rape.

As always, many of you have left messages that are well worth highlighting. Rajashree Rajan writes:

Rape is well-documented and understood to be about power rather than sex itself or pleasure. If we as a society frown upon sexual harassment at work or in a social setting, why should we allow a man to exert such a violent & invasive show of power of a women merely because they share a marriage certificate?

Lim Hsuan’ya adds:

I am very disappointed and utterly upset when I learn about this. How can we call ourself a modern society when such medival law exist.
As a woman myself, I do not feel respected by my country.

And Jeanne Sze Hwee Chai contrasts the message sent by marital immunity for rape against the ideals that society cherishes for marriage:

A union is suppose to be a safe place for two people to grow together. No violence, physical, emotional or sexual should be tolerated. Rape is rape, even if it’s perpetrated by a spouse.

Thank you for your support.

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More messages from the petition

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Thank you to the more than 2,600 who have put their names to our petition, including celebrated poet Lee Tzu Pheng. Signatory Jean Goh observes:

I have heard of friends who have been through many bouts of non-consensual sex with their husband and it was not pleasant for them at all. I believe that this is not to be taken lightly because these victims have nowhere to go for help, especially since the ones harming them are the same ones who have vowed before God to protect them and treat them well. I’ve heard that sex keeps the love alive in marriage, but I don’t think it even works if the man disregards the thoughts and feelings of his wife.

In the week since it was launched, our latest film ad has been watched more than 1,400 times on YouTube. Please continue to spread the word, to help our videos and the campaign reach an even wider audience.

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A salute, and your thoughts

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

If you haven’t yet caught the Channel News Asia documentary on marital rape, you have a final chance tomorrow, at 5.30pm. No To Rape would like to offer a salute, with the deepest admiration, to those women who have bravely shared their experiences with the nation through this television programme. Your courage and generosity is amazing.

Thank you also to the now more than 2,500 of you who have signed the Petition. As always, many of your eloquent messages deserve to be highlighted here. Some, like this signatory, speak in a voice usually hidden from the world:

I believe in the institution of marriage. Current exceptions for marital is not enough to protect the woman. As someone who was once a victim and had to endure this quietly, I am definitely for the abolition of total rape immunity.

Social worker Hema Gurnani also sheds light on the reality of family violence:

I work in a VWO dealing with children and youth, age ranging from 3.5 – 20 years.
I have been involved in social work for 12.5 years. During my work with children and youths I do interract with many parents, mostly women.
It is indeed very sad to note that there are many women who suffer sexual viloence / abuse in silence because men tend to think that it is their marital right to have sex with his lawful wife with or without consent.
Who is going to stop the abuse or protect the women of our country? I would think women deserve the right to choose, and be free of any sexual abuse.

Gregory Ng offers a clear, heartfelt statement from a male perspective:

this could affect the lives of our mothers, sisters and daughters. protect them like you would protect your own.

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