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Posts Tagged ‘Supporters’

More on PP v N

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

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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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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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Site update: volunteering, articles and blogs

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.

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More voices from the petition

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Hot on the heels of the last blog post, more signatures have appeared that need to be highlighted. The President of AWARE, Dana Lam, leaves a hard-hitting statement on the petition:

Men and women should stop raising boys as boys and start raising boys to reach for their full potential as creative, intelligent, compassionate people -same as how we should start raising girls. Rape is the violent cover up for men’s inadequacies. Get a life.

A message from a rape survivor, testifying yet again to the devastating impact of sexual violence:

I am a survivor of rape and sexual abuse. This occurance has disrupted my life beyond words. act with courage and wisdom

This signatory, too, speaks of the long-term suffering that rape inflicts:

Rape victims suffer a long time after the act has been committed. I should know. I was a victim myself. You never forget and never fully recover. No one should have to go through what countless other women have gone through.

Can we, as a society, really accept a Penal Code that states that inflicting these wounds is acceptable, as long as the perpetrator can produce a marriage registration? Can you?

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United voices

Friday, July 17th, 2009

No To Rape has now hit 1,000 signatures. Please keep up the good work of spreading the word!

Many signatures are accompanied by thoughtful and sometimes deeply personal comments. These messages unite voices from a range of perspectives and experiences, which together serve as a powerful testament to why the law must be changed to offer full protection from, and unqualified censure of, marital rape.

For example, consider the words accompanying the signature of former NMP and former President of AWARE Braema Mathi:

Often protecting persons in relationships is the most difficult task. Women prefer the silence to talking about being sexually assaulted by a husband, boyfriend, long-term partner. Having a law in place reassures women that they are not alone, they can talk about it, they can put an end to it, they can start the process of reclaiming themselves. This work by the organisers is yet another step to help women in Singapore get the protection they need under such circumstances.

This incisive account of how disempowered sexual violence can leave victims is borne out by another comment from someone who has experienced rape:

I was a rape victim. And rape is just something I feel NO woman should ever live with. Especially when the men aren’t penalised for that at all. It’s a scar that stays on with the victims for life. And why do women have to bear the dire consequences as a result of ignorant men’s reckless acts? Let’s all say no to rape.

This is the reality No To Rape and its supporters are working to address. Help us.

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Real lives, real crimes – real change

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Thank you for the 360 signatures to date. Every single one of them is a step towards ending marital immunity for rape in Singapore. At the moment our signatories include notable figures like Ng Yi-Sheng, Adrianna Tan, Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Seelan Palay, as well as religious leaders such as Father Paul Staes from the Catholic Church and the Reverend Dr Yap Kim Hao. We hope to see even more in the coming days.

It’s hard for most people who have experienced rape to talk about it at all, but in the case of marital rape the betrayal of trust involved, and the position of interdependence or dependence between the spouses, can sometimes make it even harder. The failure of the law to recognise this as criminal violence may add a further layer of difficulty.

Knowing this, we are moved to see messages on our petition testifying to experiences of marital rape. To those who speak up about their own experiences of marital rape, and those who work with the victims of marital rape, thank you for your courage and generosity in sharing your stories. Your words make it even clearer that this is an issue which impacts upon real lives, which are hurt by real crimes – and that we need to make real change.

In the words of one signatory:

I am recently divorced from a violent marriage. I was unaware that sex would account to rape if the husband insists on sex but the wife does not consent. I hope this petition will educate and protect wives from being raped by their husbands.

Another says:

Marital rape is commonly carried out in cases of domestic violence. As a psychologist, many clients have told me of the horror of being raped by their husband

A third message reads:

I know at least 5 married women in Singapore who has been raped by their husbands before.This is completely despicable. I’ll be ashamed to be a Singaporean if nothing results from this petition. Really.

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