In Singapore, there’s a loophole in the law that allows a man to escape punishment even if he is unequivocally guilty of rape – if he is married to his victim. Which is total bollocks. Rape is rape, regardless of context and situation. Entering into a marriage contract does not mean signing over your rights as a person and your control over your own body. And that is what rape is about, the ignoring the wants and needs of another and exerting forced mastery over another person’s body.
“Husbands can no longer plead marital immunity, under some circumstances; if they are charged with raping their spouses. The circumstances include: If a couple is waiting for their divorce to be finalised; if a woman has taken out a court injunction to restrain her husband from having sex with her; or if a woman has taken up a protection order against her husband.”
If a woman says “no”, it’s rape, regardless of whether she is married to the rapist or not. There are no circumstances under which he can legally rape his wife.
It is revolting to know that such an exception can exist in my country’s laws. We’re doing so many things right, how can we can get this one so wrong?
In 2009, a petition was set up at www.notorape.com to appeal to the government to repeal Section 375(4) and Section 376A(5) of the Penal Code. I’d signed the petition then and talked about it on my now non-existent blog. Visiting the website again recently, I saw that only 3000 odd people signed that petition. While I understand that in the greater scheme of things, petitions may be useless, it scares me that people take such an apathetic view of issues such as this. This applies to people, women, whom I know personally as well, when I talked about this, there wasn’t a sense of outrage that there are such loopholes in place.
In 2013, I see that nothing has changed and that disturbs me.