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Posts Tagged ‘Petition’

President of SAC signs No To Rape petition

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

No To Rape is pleased to note that David Blakely, marriage counsellor and President of the Singapore Association for Counselling, has signed the Petition, with the following statement:

As a marriage counsellor living in Singapore for the past 14 years, in my voluntary role as the President of the Singapore Association for Counselling, and as a father to two teenage daughters I believe it is important for us to give full legal protection by eliminating any and all immunities to the charge of marital rape. I’m confident that our justice system has the appropriate structures to prevent abuse of such a change.

We are very grateful for this kind support for the total abolition of marital immunity for rape.

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Petition extension to 30 November

Monday, August 31st, 2009

The No To Rape petition was originally to close in October. However, we are very pleased to say that we have decided to extend it to midnight 30 November, so that the petition will remain open during the period around 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. So we’ll be working hard for the next three months on getting the word out – and hope you can help us too!

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Rolling onward

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Today the campaign enters an important week. Wednesday, 26 August, is the 10th anniversary of the hearing of Public Prosecutor v N, the landmark case where a man gagged, tied up and forced sex upon his wife but could not be charged for rape – to the surprise, according to then-prosecutor Mr Wang, even of then-Chief Justice Yong Pung How. Ten years later, despite the 2007 Penal Code Review, the result in the case would be the same. Even in cases of clearcut evidence of non-consent, the law denies that someone who forcibly penetrates his wife is a rapist.

Thank you to the more than 2,300 of you who have signed our petition to express your determination that this must change. We are pleased and grateful to note that recent notable signatories include Dr Kenneth Paul Tan of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Professor Chua Beng Huat of the NUS Sociology Department and Professor Kumaralingam Amirthalingam of the NUS Law Faculty. Let’s keep the signatures coming!

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A few words

Monday, August 17th, 2009

A few words can say so much. Thank you to Yap Pheng Hui, who leaves the following message to explain his signature on the petition:

我是两个女孩的父亲。这个理由就足够了。

Translated: “I am the father of two girls. That is reason enough.”

As we’ve said before, the people united by No To Rape are diverse: female and male, married and unmarried, young and old, and representing a range of racial and religious backgrounds.

Every married woman is someone’s daughter, or mother, or sister, or friend. This law concerns us all.

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Standing together

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

As the number of signatures on the petition nears 2,000, we would like to highlight another notable message of support. Signatory Bay Ming Ching leaves an eloquent and succinct statement:

The wedding ring is not supposed to be the world’s tiniest handcuff, rendering the one party to suffer at the hands of their spouses in silence. Action has to be taken to ensure there are laws protecting married individuals from the abuse of their spouses.

No To Rape is also pleased to note more familiar names among the signatories, including Dr Kanlwaljit Soin, orthopaedic surgeon, former NMP and former President of AWARE; actors Pamela Oei and Timothy Nga; Dr Gwee Li Sui of NUS; former President of AWARE Tan Joo Hymn; and architect and writer Dinesh Naidu.

Thank you to each and every person who has signed the petition. Please continue to speak up and spread the word. Together, we can build an even stronger show of support.

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Query on NRIC numbers

Friday, August 14th, 2009

We’ve received the following query from a visitor to the site, which we are reproducing with their kind permisson:

Thank you for organising this campaign that seeks to protect and fight for the rights of Singapore’s women folks. Obviously I agree with the view point that rape is rape and marriage should not also legalise rape. I’ve signed the petition as well, but perhaps a little too quickly because now there is a burning question in my mind.

The petition form requires the filling in of the NRIC number, which the site says is only for validation purposes. May I know what that ‘validation’ might be, assuming that none of the organisers are from government agencies that have access to such records. Also, how do you intend to handle these private information, especially after the campaign? And how would you ensure of zero chance of abuse?

I’ve typed in my NRIC, but a friend who also signed for the petition, told me she did not do so and her entry showed up all the same, all the more reason for my worries. If it is not necessary to input the NRIC for the petition in the first place, why the inclusion of that choice?

Click here to read the rest

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Tamil version of petition now available

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Thanks to the generosity of volunteers, the Tamil language version of the No To Rape Petition is now up! You can access this as a webpage or download it as a PDF file which you can send on to friends and family. Don’t forget that Chinese (simplified and traditional) and Bahasa Melayu translations are available too.

p.s. Be sure to register for tomorrow’s seminar – spaces are still available!

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In your words

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

So many of the messages left by signatories on the No To Rape petition are inspiring, moving and thought-provoking. So far we have tended to highlight the words of those with first hand experience of abuse, or those who have worked with victims. But we receive so many heartening and considered responses, on an almost-daily basis, that it seems fitting to mention some of them here.

Signatory Nina Carlina says:

When being in a marriage gives someone the legal right to abuse another, it becomes crucial to examine our definition of marriage. While the understanding of marriage varies across time and cultures, we have to decide if we want ours to allow our sisters, daughters and fellow human to be subjected to constant fear and helplessness; to be reduced to the level of a sexual object, by the very man she has chosen to love. The uncontrolled expression of violence – that marriage in Singapore condones – is a sharp irony and a stark loophole in the stand we take for human rights and progress. The reasoning of not prying into personal relationships between man and wife seems arbitrary and simply taking the easy way out. Some say it is difficult to draw the line between rape and consensual sex in a marriage, or that evidence in court is hard to obtain. Yet a sticky challenge should not affect the values we live by – it is no excuse to turn a blind eye. If we do not say no to rape, we say no to some of the very qualities that make us human – conscience, compassion and love.

Mohamed Imran bin Mohamed Taib shares a religious perspective:

Based on humanistic values informed by my religion (Islam), marital rape is a degrading act that betrays the sanctity of union in marriage, and contravenes the principle of human dignity accorded to both man and woman.

Kueh Keji makes an unequivocal statement:

As a man, I respect that a woman should have the right to say “no” to unwanted sex. Nobody deserves to have non-consensual sex forced upon them, and I am deeply repulsed that we still have a law that allows a man to rape a woman, irregardless of their marital connection. This law is an is absolute outrage, outdated, and long overdue for revision. Kindly do something about it.

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Bringing people together

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

To those who have signed the petition, our warmest thanks. We are pleased to note that in your ranks are Benny Bong (President of the Society Against Family Violence), writer Yong Shu Hoong, national swimmer Thum Ping Tjin and Associate Professor Paul Ananth Tambyah of NUS. We’re really pleased that so many different people have come together to show support for this cause.

Every single signatory brings us closer to abolishing marital immunity for rape. We now stand at over 1,300 in just a few short weeks – but there’s still some distance to go. Please tell a friend about No To Rape today.

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What is at stake

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

No To Rape does not agree that marriage entails a moral obligation to be sexually available to one’s spouse at all times. But immunity for marital rape is unjustifiable even if we are wrong about that. Whatever disputes a married couple has – including over sex – rape is an act of violence which no circumstances can justify or excuse. Even if someone is 100% at fault in a disagreement, society should not allow the other person to rape them. Everyone should be protected from violence.

However frustrated someone may be if their spouse’s sexual inclinations do not match their own, they always have a choice about how to respond. A husband who is dissatisfied can talk things through. He can seek professional counselling. He can be less than constructive without ever committing violence against anyone: he can smash a dish, he can ignore his wife, he can make malicious remarks. The law doesn’t intervene in such behaviour.

As long as he doesn’t choose to commit rape, he won’t become a rapist.

What’s at stake here is what society does when someone chooses – out of all the many options for how they can respond to a situation – to violently hurt their spouse in one of the most distressing and disabling ways possible.

This is the reality of what we are dealing with. In the case of Public Prosecutor v N (facts here) a man threatened to kill his wife if she divorced him. He slapped her, tied and gagged her and then raped her. He was charged for the threat to kill her, for slapping her, and for tying and gagging her, but marital immunity meant that a charge could not be brought for the most serious act: that of rape.

The 10th anniversary of the case looms (it was decided in October 1999). Slapping, tying, gagging, threatening – all these are recognised, and punished, as violence. The pain, intrusion and humiliation of rape is erased. The law looks an act of violence straight in the face and denies that any wrong was done.

What is at stake is whether we acknowledge experiences like those of this signatory, and whether we openly and firmly declare our censure of it – or whether we demand that she and those like her never speak:

I was a victim of this crime when my husband at that time hit me and then demanded sex. All I could do was cry and submit and then forever remain silent.

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