Did you know it is not illegal to “rape” your wife?

In Singapore, it is now unlawful to have sexual intercourse with your wife against her consent. Marital rape is not recognised here, unless in special circumstances…such as when proceedings for divorce has begun.

Although marital rape is recognised in many countries, there is difficulty in enforcing such a law. Evidence is difficult to procure and doubt is not easy to establish if a marriage is seen to be healthy. By legislating marital rape, the State will now be able to intrude into the sanctity of private family life.

Even if such a law was enacted, it will be almost impossible to give it legal effect. Unless a marriage has broken down of course, but if that was the case then the woman is already protected within existing legal framework. Moreover if conviction was delivered to an otherwise normal relationship, it will almost certainly destroy the family unit.

Practicality aside, the law would take a step towards recognising the autonomy women have over their bodies. Laws have always reflected the norms and values of society. It cannot be the case where an unmarried woman has more right over her body than one whom is married.

“I intend more changes to the law”, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in a Facebook post.

The Law Minister says that next year, the Ministry would be dealing with how women can be cross examined in court, how they can give evidence in court from a safe space. Also in review is the existing punishment regime for sexual offences and the consideration of new offences to tackle sexual crimes targeting women and children on the Internet.

In Singapore, women’s rights have been protected strongly. The 1961 Women’s Charter was among the first pieces of legislation to be passed in this country after the new Government came into power in 1959.

Legal protection of women, (supported by a good enforcement system), and giving women good access to education, healthcare, and jobs were amongst the signature early moves, made more than 50 years ago.

 

About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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