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Immunity of marital rape

Violation. Fear. Shame. Anxiety. Disgust. Such are the potent emotions felt by victims of marital rape every single day. Imagine having to live your life chocking, with no one to turn to and unable to even utter a plea for help. The person to whom you have supposedly entrusted yourself to, the cause of your misery. Why is that? According to the latest survey conducted by the Association of Women for Action and Research (“AWARE”) in 2015, a shocking 40% of the 500 respondents, age ranging from 17 to 25, view that consent is not a pre-requisite to having sexual intercourse during marriage. This shows that there is a mindset that marriage equates to consent to sexual acts. Hence, this highlights the greater need to abolish men’s immunity of marital rape under the law. This immunity should be abolished because it is immoral for husbands to disregard their spouses’ consent to sex. A woman’s body belongs to her alone. She is not an object or possession of the husband to do whatever he pleases. Under the Penal Code, it only constitutes rape if the wife is younger than 13 years old. Rape is rape. There should be no distinction between being raped by your husband or an unknown person. Unfortunately, some do not share the same sentiment. In an interview by AsiaOne, one Madam Lim was told by her mother that “there was no such thing as a husband raping his wife” while others “asked me why I bothered to get married if I hated to have sex”. This is inline with the survey done by AWARE. Nevertheless, wives should retain their fundamental rights to live safely and without fear of being hurt. The law should not compromise safety of victims out of unwarranted concerns for disruption of the status quo and possibilities of unfounded rape allegations. The immunity enjoyed by men would only serve to perpetuate the idea that marital rape is acceptable. In conclusion, actions must be effected to induce a shift in paradigm. Officially repealing immunity would make clear that marital rape is not condoned by the law. The stricter stand on men will act as a preventive measure, possibly reducing cases of marital rapes for fear of prosecution. On the other hand, women become more empowered and are encouraged to stand up for themselves.

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