Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marital Rape - Singapore worse than Afghanistan?

This article on the BBC piqued my interest, particularly with recent activism against Marital Rape on behalf of women in Singapore: "Row over Afghan wife-starving law" (By Sarah Rainsford Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 16:28 UK)

An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law.

The original version obliged Shia women to have sex with their husbands every four days at a minimum, and it effectively condoned rape by removing the need for consent to sex within marriage.

Wait a minute ... Wha??!! The Afghans fought off something that is currently *permitted* by Singapore law?

It is funny how something that is regressive but actively pursued (in Afghanistan) gets so much media attention and yet, something that is regressive but "status quo" (in Singapore) gets nary a mention.

: As a reader pointed out, I had failed to roundly condemn the new Afghan law. Indeed I do. Starving your wife for refusing to have sex with you is simply barbaric. There is no other way of putting it. I do, however, want to point out that my original focus had been on how the Afghans previously had no immunity clause for husbands which came as a surprise to me, given that Singapore does!

To the opponents of any changes to Singapore Law: Husbands denied sex by their wives have legal options outside of raping them - go to a prostitute (don't be cheap!), go masturbate, seek a divorce. It is hypocritical to say "Government should not interfere in peoples' personal sexual lives" when the Singapore government selectively does so (against gay people and against guys who masturbate with their windows open).

An anti-marital rape law does not even have to be harsh initially - barring aggravated assault, send the man in for counseling for a first offense. I could accept that. As long as men in Singapore know it is wrong and illegal to abuse their wives this way.

On the flip side, something to think about now ... how do we deal with situations where the wife rapes the husband?


Jezebella said...

Funny how you failed to comment on Afghanistan's amended law, which is as worse, or much worse than the previous law they tried to set.

The way you put it whitewashes Afghanistan's new law as if it doesn't permit marital rape when it does in an indirect manner, and it is ironically used to criticise Singapore's flawed penal code on marital rape.

Isn't that very hypocritical, and a highly flawed post you've made?

Chee Wai Lee said...

Thanks Jezebella, I had wanted to comment on that too, but my focus was on noting how the Afghans were fighting the law in the reverse direction from Singaporeans.

Please note that nowhere in my post did I condone the new Afghan law. You are correct, however, in stating that I had in effect whitewashed the issue because I failed to condemn it. I apologize for that and am amending the post accordingly. I do not think I was being hypocritical but I agree it was a flawed post by way of omission.