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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Proham on Marital Rape

Proham on Section 375A of the Penal Code
does not go far enough to criminalize rape in a marriage

Rape is a heinous crime against women.  Appallingly, such a heinous crime is usually perpetrated by a man known to the woman. It is thus even worse when the man is one, whom she calls husband.   

PROHAM recognises that there is no room for doubt that; a husband neither has control nor ownership of his wife, equality in a marriage should be the norm, and the law must uphold this right. 

We are to some extent relieved that Minister Nancy Shukri has pointed out there is protection of sorts to wives under Section 375A of the Penal Code which states inter alia that a man who during the subsistence of a valid marriage, caused hurt or fear of death, or hurt to his wife in order to have sexual intercourse shall be punished. 

However, we have learnt from the women’s groups dealing with rape survivors that in reality women who are forced to have sex with their husband can be coerced by emotional and psychological violence and not necessarily physical violence. It is to be noted with concern that since the enactment of this specific provision in 2007, not a single rape case has been investigated under Section 375A. 

PROHAM calls for an amendment to the Penal Code to remove the exception that states that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife is not rape. Marriage cannot act as a defence to rape; it is time for Malaysia to uphold women’s equality as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and not fall back on a mistruth that religion permits non - consensual sex in a marriage.

 Issued on behalf of Proham by Ms Ivy Josiah (Proham Exco member)
June 18, 2015

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