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Posts Tagged ‘Well-Known Supporters’

A welcome parliamentary mention

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

No To Rape strongly welcomes the remarks of Law Minister K Shanmugam and MP Vikram Nair, made in Parliament just over a week ago, regarding the possible abolition of marital immunity for rape. The Minister mentioned his meeting with No To Rape team members and described our goal as “worth looking into”.

Together with the repeal of Section 157(d) of the Evidence Act, this move would reflect a significant step towards ensuring that survivors of sexual violence are given the fair hearing that they deserve. Both measures would empower police, prosecutors and the courts to consider evidence of sexual violence on its own merits, rather than prejudicing the question by reference to the irrelevant sexual history of a complainant, such as whether she is married or had a prior sexual relationship with the accused.

We are also heartened by the strong positive response by members of the public to the Minister’s remarks. This is consistent with our experience over three years of working to end marital immunity for rape. We have received many messages of support from women and men of varying racial and religious backgrounds, including many who work in counselling and law. As survey results demonstrate, many in Singapore regard forced sex within marriage as an assault which should be taken seriously by the criminal law. The move discussed by the Minister is wholly in accord with society’s most fundamental shared values, which consider violence in any form and by any person to be severely unacceptable conduct.

Moreover, No To Rape applauds the call by Mr Abdul Mutalif Hashi, president of the Association for Devoted and Active Family Men, to educate men that “it is not right for husbands to demand sex”. We believe that no person, regardless of gender or marital relationship, has the right to demand sex from any other person. This belief is shared by many of our supporters, both women and men.

However, we believe that such education can and should be carried out in tandem with changes to the criminal law. As marriage guidance counsellor Osman Sidek has eloquently reasoned, even if marriage entails an obligation to have sex, this does not imply that there should be no limits on the action that a spouse can lawfully take to enforce this obligation. A husband who believes himself wrongfully deprived of sex should have recourse to counselling or the divorce courts, not to violence. The act of forcing an unwilling spouse to have sex is inherently violent and should be punishable under the Penal Code.

A warm thank you to MP Vikram Nair and the Law Minister for speaking up in favour of the full legal protection of all women against sexual violence. We call upon all persons of conscience, including MPs, Ministers, as well as members of the public, to give this move their fullest support

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No To Rape members are AWARE’s 2011 Young Wonders

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

We are very honoured that AWARE has chosen Jolene Tan and Wong Pei Chi, two No To Rape core team members, as its Young Wonders for 2011. As we stressed at the time of the nomination, these awards have been made because of the work of the entire No To Rape team, and its many supporters and volunteers, in seeking the complete repeal of marital immunity for rape. No To Rape would like to thank AWARE for its support of our continuing work to combat sexual violence in the home.

Below is a video interview of Wong Pei Chi, speaking about the importance of addressing marital rape and the support that the campaign has received.

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No To Rape recognised in AWARE Awards nominations

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

We’re very pleased and honoured to announce that two No To Rape team members, Jolene Tan and Wong Pei Chi, have been nominated for the youth category of the first AWARE Awards. This nomination is a recognition of all the work that every team member and supporter has put into abolishing marital immunity for rape in Singapore.

No To Rape would also like to offer our congratulations to all the nominees for the AWARE Awards, including in particular Associate Professor Chan Wing Cheong and Benny Bong of the Society Against Family Violence, who have both been speakers at No To Rape events and have done a great deal of invaluable work to address the problem of sexual violence.

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Wives under the age of 16

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

A letter by Associate Professor Chan Wing Cheong (who previously kindly spoke at the No To Rape seminar) has been published in the Straits Times Forum. It makes reference to the situation of wives under the age of 16:

The present law is inconsistent in that consensual sex with a girl under the age of 16 is a serious offence under the Penal Code, punishable with imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or a fine, but it is not a criminal offence for a man to have sex with his wife who is at least 13 years old.

If we are concerned about the emotional and physical well-being of young girls engaging in sex, it cannot be right to allow men to have sex with their wives between the ages of 13 and 16, just because they are married to each other. The marriage will most likely have taken place with a foreigner overseas, where marriages with young brides are allowed.

Currently, Section 376A makes it an offence to have sex with any person under the age of 16, whether or not the minor expresses consent. Associate Professor Chan’s letter appears to question the retention of two separate exempions:

(1) Section 376A(4), which grants immunity from this offence when a girl under the age of 16 says “yes” to sex with her husband.

(2) Section 376A(5), which grants immunity from this offence, even in situations where a 13-, 14- or 15-year-old girl has said “no” to her husband.

The current No To Rape petition calls for the complete removal of Section 376A(5). (This is in no way an endorsement of Section 376A(4), which may also require further review.) If you believe that a man should not be able to force an unwilling 13-, 14- or 15-year old wife to have sex, please sign it today, and help to spread the word.

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Forum-Asia and WRC

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.

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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.

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whose Right is it anyway?

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

No To Rape is pleased to announce that our third film ad will be launched on 31 October, at ‘whose Right is it anyway?’, a human rights workshop for youth.

The United Nations Youth Association of Singapore (UNYAS) and our kind organisational endorsers MARUAH (Singapore working group for a human rights mechanism) will be holding a full-day workshop for those who are young and interested in finding out what human rights are about.

Date: 31 October
Time: 09 00 h
Venue: Singapore Management University School of Business Seminar room 2.5

For more details and to register, visit their website.

No To Rape is very grateful to MARUAH and UNYAS for allowing us to screen our film ad at their event. Those of you who can’t make it will be able to catch it here on the No To Rape blog, of course: watch this space for updates.

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Religion and marital rape

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 [1], [2], [3], [4] (it is not mentioned in that entry, but Mr Blakely is a marriage counsellor with Wesley Methodist Church) and [5] 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.

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Message from Trinity Theological College

Friday, October 16th, 2009

No To Rape is grateful for the kind words of encouragement we have received from Trinity Theological College, which we reproduce here:

Thank you for keeping us posted on the “No to Rape” campaign. We applaud your efforts at raising public attention to marital rape in our nation, and wish you well in your campaign. Rape is utterly reprehensible whether in marriage or outside of it, and we support, in principle, any attempt that might safeguard the welfare of the vulnerable and place legal restraint on those who perpetrate sexual violence.

The deep respect that Christianity has for the God-given dignity of every single human person, the high esteem that the Church accords the institution of marriage, and the Bible’s condemnation of injustice and oppressive violence are part and parcel of the Christian moral response to issues of sexual violence.

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Words of support from Father Erbin Fernandez

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

No To Rape is grateful to Father Erbin Fernandez of the Church of St Vincent de Paul for sharing with us his thoughts on, and words of support for, our campaign:

I applaud your efforts in addressing this issue. You have my prayers and support. The Church has always upheld human dignity because it understand that such a dignity flows from the fact that each person regardless of religious affiliation has a heart that yearns for a true happiness and love. That yearning is of a transcendent origin and the human heart will not rest till it finds it….

May your endeavors protect the human heart from violence and help it to take a correct position before reality that is full of hope. We pray for both the victim as well as the perpetrators of such acts of violence. I believe the latter is also a sick person in need of help, I believe many of them to be sex addicts who have turned violent in their need to quell the storm within them…

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