Marital rape is legal in Singapore

I was shocked to find out that marital rape in Singapore is not against the law. What's more surprising is that one week after an online petition to amend this law was launched, less than 700 people have signed it (as of 12 July).

The penal code sets out a state's laws defining crimes and specifying the punishment. I thumbed through Singapore's penal code during a 2-day attachment with a law firm was I was in junior college. I don't think I, or the man on the street, can be faulted for ignorance of the law considering the way the penal code is written:
- sentences that never seem to end,
- lack of paragraphing,
- ample usage of words like hereby, thereby, herein, therein, etc (wth do these mean?),
- uncommon vocabulary.
I'm sure there must be valid reasons for law-makers and lawyers to write in this manner or perhaps it's some conspiracy to enable people who can't KISS* to keep their jobs.

Anyway, now that this ugly part of the law is out in the open, why have so few signed the petition? Do people think it would never happen to them or their families so they don't have to care, or are they plain lazy?

I admit I was a hesitant to enter my full name and my NRIC/ID number - which is kind of stupid because I give them out when I enter contests or get a free massage at the spa. I also thought: there will be many others signing the petition, so I less wouldn't make any difference. I was wrong. Let's face it: 700 people signing the petition is... pathetic! Even I get more hits at my blog daily than that! Where is everybody??

I urge anyone and everyone who believes in this cause to sign the petition. You never know who you might be helping.

You might not be able to identify a victim at all. Victims would usually endure such treatment for a period of time before telling anyone. It is humiliating enough getting raped by a stranger or a dinner-date, let alone by one's own husband. Victims also tend to blame themselves. It certainly doesn't help that there are judgmental people around would blame the woman for not performing her "wifely duties" in the first place. How about the "husbandly duty" of loving his wife? In my post [Rough Sex], it took me 7 years to come up with the courage to say that I was almost date-raped. Scroll down to the 3rd comment and you will see someone's judgment on what happened.

Once, I was also physically held against my will (not raped) after an argument. I had been in a relationship with the guy for many years so I was shocked when it happened for the first time. Did I ever think he would use physical force against me? No. I didn't even tell my parents about the incident because I didn't know what to say.

What I have experienced and feel doesn't even come close to what a wife raped by her husband has. What I'm saying is: anyone might be a victim, including the woman behind the cash register, your colleague, your cousin, your sister or even you. No man should be given the right to do as he pleases with a woman regardless of her relationship to him. Please sign the petition by following the link below. It would be great too if you can take 10 seconds to send this link to you friends along with the usual joke of the day.

No To Rape

*KISS stands for "keep it short and simple" or "keep it simple, stupid".

----Updated on 10 Aug 2009----
Here is a campaign film-ad.


No To Rape said...

Thanks for this, and for your courage is sharing your stories about yourself.

No To Rape

Anonymous said...

The marriage exemption in our Penal Code, Sections 375(4) and 376A(5) MUST NOT BE CHANGED. This is to prevent wives who are thinking of divorcing their husbands from thinking they can get an extra advantage in divorce proceedings by falsely accusing their husbands of rape during the marriage.

As it is, there are far too many cases of men being falsely accused of rape only to be found innocent later or worse, unable to prove their innocence. Why should husbands now faced the same deadly risks from vindictive wives who want to spite and hurt them?

Yu-Kym said...

That's ridiculous. It's like saying we should legalise wife battering, emotional abuse, etc because wives can falsely accuse their husbands of it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the board can't verify my CDTM3000 livejournal account, for some reason, so I'm stuck posting as anonymous.

I'd like to see this other "anonymous" poster offer some proof of the high, high rate of false rape accusations. With proof that these are false rapes, and not actual rapes that fell through the cracks of the system.

I doubt any such statistics exist.

What a ridiculous statement to make, denying wives protection from being taken against their will on the off chance some schemer tries getting an extra cut in divorce proceedings..

Anonymous said...

Rape; as a subject matter evokes a lot of EMOTIONAL response. Rape is not tolerable, under any circumstances. A woman who has been raped, should seek counselling for her mental health.
In Singapore, we're fortunate to have the Women's Charter to protect the fairer sex. Our women are protected from the heinous practices prevalent during our forebears era, eg keeping concubines.
HOWEVER,we should be careful before we specify Marital rape as a crime in Singapore
There are many races in Singapore and we are all brought up differently.
I saw my mom (we're chinese) got whacked by my dad whenever they querreled.
An Indian guy who lived above us, used a wooden plank to beat his wife & kids. These men probably saw their fathers beating the mother!!
People brought up in violent circumstances, accept it and may even use it. Some victims even become the bully against a weaker opponent.
However, marital rape in the view of people brought up in a gentle, fairer world; may be a man's right in another world where women's right count for nothing. Eg,in some societies, men regard sexual intercourse is only for them to enjoy!
Young Singapore women, brought up in an era of equal rights, will not hesitate to defend a women's right to refuse sexual consumation in a marriage.
A man's need for sex is more primal. After a strenous day's work, his testerone levels are way up high. In bed with a cuddly wrench (that's how he sees the wife when he is in that state!), he needs to discharge all that pent-up mental, physical & biological energy. If she refused, will sparks fly!!!!!!
Can you blame the guy if he forces his wife to comply ?
But ladies, you've never worked in a hot, humid, dirty, dusty, dangerous work-site where every slight mishap is greeted with "fuck your mother! why cant this machine work!", you've never breath dirt, oil and get grits of sand lining your lips (think construction sites when the High Pressure air-hose is blasting away)& boss is cursing you, "what the fuck are you doing? You've been fucking with the damn machine whole day!". And this takes place day in, day out.... every weary day.
Any woman working in this condition - if there is, I think the husband will the one forced to have sex!
So, can a man be excused if he forced his wife to accomodate his primal needs? Is it marital rape?
No doubt, the police would charge him if he hits his wife or gives her a blue-black.
Different people, different cultures, different life experiences, how to label what is rape and what is conjugal right?
In my youth, this subject was discussed amoungst my group of welders and pipe fitters (age 18 - 60)after lunch. My mind, filled with noble concepts of rights and wishes was greeted with howls of derision;
"what's the chi-by ( vagina in Chinese Hokkien and Cantonese dialect ) for?",
"if she dont like, then why she get married?",
"wife not for fucking, then for what?"
"have you ever fuck yet?".
It was unanimous; I was a sissy for not defending men's rights!
Perhaps AWARE or schools can organise a public debate; get doctors, psychiatrists, marriage consellers to air their views in a nationally televised program.
Marital rape would be very difficult to define, obtain evidence, witnesses, etc.
Civilised societies would have no problem adopting it. Ours with a multi-racial make-up would be split open all the fissures of racial differences (consider : chinese wife raped by indian husband - what sort of public riots would erupt from a court case over the charge?)
Perhaps couples could opt to sign a clause in their marriage contract : either party is willing to be prosecuted in a CLOSED court hearing for marital rape.
Thanks for letting me share my view.

Anonymous said...

We cannot be too naive or simplistic about thinking that marital rape is simply a husband insisting on his conjugal right to sex with his wife and the latter must readily consent.

It's a very delicate matter when the events that lead to the "rape" and the actual "rape" itself are almost always very complicated.

But my view is that if any woman is physically hurt (or perhaps even mentally) in the process, these will be enough grounds to have a law in place to pursue the matter in the court. Proving one's case is another matter but at least there is a recourse to put things right and start a trend towards ending this cruelty.

Having said that, and without requiring me to sieve through a mountain of legal documents on the subject, can anyone who has done research on this enlighten me what official reason is given by the government why the law on marital rape is framed the way it is now? Surely it is not because the authorities do not acknowledge that such things do happen.

So why? I need to know the OFFICIAL rationale...not what one presupposes is the reason.

If anyone possess the information, I would appreciate your help on this. tq

curious cat

Anonymous said...


you mention that you were also in some kind of physical abuse situation. What led to this development or incident after a I believe a number of years of good relationship with this man?

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

As at June 29 2010 - 6 months after the petition was submitted - the petitioners have yet to receive any reply from the Prime Minister to our petition. The petitioners' contact is

Anonymous said...

I believe its not that the law sanctions marital rape. There may be a valid albeit unfair reason why there's no law against marital rape but the law may provide another channel for such victims to pursue justice. Through acts of physical violence or injuries against them.

So perhaps implicit here are the victims being directed that where there are "justifiable" reasons why sex is being denied to their spouse, to escalate the situation to such an extent whereby the husbands can be charged under a different law - physical brutality, violence and related offences.

If the justification given by the victims to deny the husbands sex are superfluous, then might as well not get married. Why marry when u deny sex to your husband without good grounds? I say that you marry him and if he turns out to be a sex maniac u just have to bear with it or resolve it similar to gambling and drugs addiction.

If you dont wish to continue with his endless demands of sex, there are many ways to divorce him or escalate the horrors of endless sex to a flashpoint. Charge him for causing physical hurt to you like in rape cases. Vaginal tears, bruises, broken bones etc Fight him in bed.

Therefore what constitutes good grounds like the brutality above as a result of denying sex to your man can be tested in court. But at least the perpetrators are being brought to court under physical violence or hurt charge and indirectly the matter of marital rape is being tested legally. Dirty linen has to be washed in public. The woman has to justify why no sex to hubby and the hubby must defend his violence against her. No other choice.

So i say to married women who suffer this cruelty from sex crazy husbands, to incite and escalate the problem to such an extent whereby he will be brought to court on a violence charge and the subject of marital rape can be heard in court.

Life is cruel. Sometimes someone must take a stand, get terribly hurt by the husband before marital rape can be heard in court. Anyone has a better idea than petition?

curious "court"

Anonymous said...

A wife who refuses normal sex to her husband for frivolous reasons is a non-issue. She ought to be rotanned too. What the hell she got married in first place? She best get a's easier than to accuse the husband of marital rape. duh

But a wife who denies sex to a sex crazy husband is justified to do so for fear of him spreading STDs to her. An oversex man is likely to be promiscuous and have extra marital sex. Even if he is innocent of this accusation, if the wife is desperate enough due to his constant sexual demands, she can easily alleged this fib. Who can refute or disprove her allegations or concerns? (Curious cat is so bad hor? Hey but it's a dog eat dog world man!) lol

A wife who is already overworked at the factory, comes home to face domestic chores, handle the needs of the children whilst the lazy bum of a husband who probably has had an easier day (likely unemployed or low income or even a well to do professional and MCP hehe) sits back and reads his papers or watches the end of a long night he demands sex on the poor woman. Sex is the last thing on her mind man!

I say the "lady" should cut off his penis. lol

In any case, if not a court hearing a case of physical brutality (could be for penis cutting lol) or marital rape, she should resort to a court hearing divorce proceedings. I think this is an easier option for marital rape cases lol

So petition? What petition?

bad cat sits in curious court

Yu-Kym said...

A wife can refuse normal sex or whatever to her husband for any reason and none of us have the right to judge. You think men have the right over women's bodies once they marry the women?

I don't think you understand what would go through a woman's mind if she gets raped by her husband. The first reaction will not be to go to the police or to a lawyer. Even if she does, the law allows the husband to rape his wife so he will not be convicted for marital rape.

Anonymous said...


It's not a matter of having a right over another's body. By itself that is wrong. Nobody has a right to another's body.

But when one gets married, it must be understood that conjugal rights to sex is and will be part of the deal. This must be clear before one jumps into marriage.

So to refuse sex for certain reasons, Yes!

To refuse sex for any reason? No!

If a woman is raped by her husband refuses to do something about it, who is to be blamed in the bloody bastard of a man continues with his demands? Even God cant help those who dont help themselves!

curious cat

Anonymous said...


If the wife is raped by her husband and there's no law against it, perhaps so... but there is a law against causing grievous hurt to an individual, in this case the wife. So even though the man may not be convicted for marital rape, he will be convicted for causing hurt to his wife. And that my dear is enough grounds for the wife to divorce him or getting a protection order if she is wise enough to do so. Being divorced from him and facing whatever difficulties life has in store for her is better than being raped everytime by the husband right? No? Then don't complain of marital rape!

Yes sometimes, justice is blind but I simply cannot accept that our Singapore legal system is so skewed unfairly as to prevent or protect the wife from further harm (rape) upon her by the husband.

There may be no law against marital rape because there may certain complicated implications (or even MCP considerations) if such a law is enacted, but there's another way out for the poor wife. And again it's not petition.

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

For you to say that "Nobody has a right to another's body."
"But when one gets married, it must be understood that conjugal rights to sex is and will be part of the deal. "
is a contradictory.
The point is, if the woman was raped by her husband, the law says it is OK to do it. Many people, especially men, do not support this petition. It's little wonder the prime minister of Singapore who is a man too did not reply after 6 months. Until you have someone you love or care about suffer marital rape, perhaps you can never understand. If you want to understand, put yourself in the other person's shoes, try to feel what the woman, and see the situation through her yes, not yours.

Anonymous said...


It's not a contradiction. Nobody has the right to another's body is straightforward and holds true for all time. Your body is yours to do what you want with it.

But u give up that right to a certain extent when u get married. But u still have 100% rights to your body if you behave sensibly. Willingly giving your body to your husband sensibly isnt the same thing as you having lost your rights to it.

Reason I qualify it is obvious. Imagine the ridiculous situation where u get married and for some frivolous and unimaginable reason refrain sex with your husband.

Of course if you live in a society where marriage does not mean sex, then by all means the rights to your body is all yours.

But you live within a society with a set of rules. You cant be agreeing to the rules of marriage and not abide by it.
That is contradictory!

So if you are a true realist and pragmatic person, you will see this as it is. Not a mere clever play of words.

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

I don't think there's much more I can say about this. We are obviously not in agreement here but whether we agree with each other or not isn't important because it's not going to change the law. Perhaps you can write to the petitioners or the press?

Anonymous said...

Haha ok Yu-Kym...but its interesting to exchange views. But what puzzles me is how dearth the number of contributions to your blogs. I can only count a few regular contributors but generally the quality of exchanges too could be better and more numerous. I tried to generate controversies but there are few takers.

Do you feel the same way? Why is this situation so?

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

I recall my schooldays. Some students ask questions all the time while others hardly say anything.

Not everyone likes having open discussions. Some people would rather send me emails to ask questions or give comments. Others read, they may think about it but simply have no comments.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing isn't it Yu-Kym? Even though they can discuss whilst hiding behind a cloak of anonymity. It's such a great advantage and yet....

I tried to provoke a debate with some topics but in vain. You are one of the rare exceptions of coz..but its your blog so u dont count. haha

curious cat

Anonymous said...

Guys, here is a REAL ACCOUNT of my marriage in summary.

Married for 14 years.
Average of only 4 sex sessions a year for 6 years.
7th year onwards there was no sex from my wife...... Excuses of tiredness, sick, 'not in the mood' and any other excuses she could find.

Being a 'traditional and loving husband' I never thought of raping my wife but tried to sweet talk her and finally BEGGING her for sex after 4 and a half years. However the result is still a no.

It has to be said for all these years I remained faithful and never had any extra marital affairs. I only thought I could slowly talk my wife into being willing to have sex with me. After her rejection when I begged her.... I had a affair which she later found out.

Result : Divorced on grounds of adultary.

Guys, this is my REAL story. I don't know what you guys think about this, but definitely there will be many gals out there like Yu-Kim who thinks I have strayed without consideration.

If I had known we are immune from marital rape, I don't think I would have endured what is rightfully mine to enjoy and definitely not led to a divorce situation where I am disadvantaged.
I say keep this immunity and put these gals back in place to know their bodies belong to their husbands during their marriage. There are guys out there who are willing to do anything to keep their marriage together but gals these days are not the women of our parent's generation. They are now too self centred and no longer places their husbands in their rightful position as head whilst at the same time demands guys still treat them as Goddess.

Yu-Kym said...

Thanks for sharing. "Sexless" marriages are common.

"definitely there will be many gals out there like Yu-Kim who thinks I have strayed without consideration. " Please don't make assumptions about what I would say or think. Of course, you have strayed WITH consideration. You made a decision to sleep with another woman - that's the fact of the matter. Whether you have a valid reason or not, that's not for me to say.

"If I had known we are immune from marital rape, I don't think I would have endured what is rightfully mine to enjoy and definitely not led to a divorce situation where I am disadvantaged.
I say keep this immunity and put these gals back in place to know their bodies belong to their husbands during their marriage."
It is precisely because you think a woman's body belongs to her husband, this sort of mentality and other actions that reflect your mentality may be a reason why your wife may have found you repulsive - even if she did not realise it.

Anonymous said...

Earlier you had compared rape with physical abuse, battering, etc. But you see, it is easy to verify the latter, by medical examination and such. And if it happens, society generally can agree that all forms of such acts are bad.

On the other hand, rape is forced sex. And how do you prove forced sex, from consensual sex. Not really any concrete evidence separating the two, unlike for physical abuse, for which the effects are more clear.

So let's say that a women who has weekly sex with a man, but suddenly comes into an argument with him. If marital rape was illegal, she can abuse this power by claiming that the previous forms of sex was rape; since i had mentioned earlier not all forms of rape, can be easily verified.

So, how is this power abusing scenario worse than, an actual marital rape, such that it takes priority over the latter?

Because in an actual rape case, if you truly detest the sexual act, you can't say that it is impossible to separate from your spouse. But, putting something on the law itself, how can the man escape, if it's a false case? Additionally, why would any authority establish a law that can be easily abused in this way?

Anonymous said...


A wife would not want sex if she was not in the mood or she was feeling not very loving towards her husband. There can be other reasons.

In a healthy communicative relationship, the husband can accept the refusal.

However, if he was very stressed up and wanted some love & comfort, the Manner & Frequency of her refusal may lead to a heated argument. In some cultures, her refusal may be seen as an affront to his manhood.

"What does she think - I am not good enough for her, is it?" The thought can drive a man to fury! The unfortunate outcome may well be a beating for the wife - from him. Or he may simply force himself "in".

Really Ladies, is that necessary?

If you are not incline to have sex, be considerate and tell him well in advance. Eg, call him in the afternoon or lunch time, and make up a story you are seeing a doctor for some vaginal thrush - that gives off a terrible smell. Tell him he might catch the virus and his penis would also smell! It's bullshit of course but do you think he would want to risk it!

Apply Calamine Lotion all over your breasts, limbs etc, and tell him that you have itchy and infectious rashes as a secondary infection. If the thought of catching a skin rash does not deter him, the sight of the white-pink Calamine patches would put him off!

Calamine lotion is quite harmless on skin - even if you have no rashes!

It sure beats non consensual intercourse anytime!

Regards, Leo

Yu-Kym said...

Anon, you are right that it can be difficult to prove that marital rape occurred especially because there usually are not witnesses. Anyway even if there is proof, in Singapore a man has every right to rape his wife.

Leo, it would be sad if a marriage has reached that stage. Is it even worth the trouble faking it because a woman can't fake it forever.

Sya said...

Reading these comments make me sad. Rape = non-consent.
The common thread running through all these 'bad' marriage seem to be a lack of communication. It's an issue between husband and wife sure - ideally both should be able to communicate their needs and reasons.
But of course that's if both parties find each other in an equal position of power - nearly impossible if you consider income, status, beauty, etc.

Joshua said...

Rape is sexual intercourse against another person without consent. So, if you are married or not. In my opinion, I consider it as rape.

"However, if he was very stressed up and wanted some love & comfort, the Manner & Frequency of her refusal may lead to a heated argument. In some cultures, her refusal may be seen as an affront to his manhood."

If I were stressed up, I wouldn't even want to have sex. "Love and comfort" = "sex" Are you guys really gone crazy??? Its your loved one. Are you get married for some free sex??? Can't you get some love and comfort the other way??? Like having your loved one prepare for your dinner. Seriously, you guys are disgrace to man.

Anonymous said...

No man whether married or not has the unconditional rights over a woman's body.

However, there may be situations where the wife refuses sex with her husband for unjustifiable or frivolous and deliberate reasons.

If so why should the man continue to stay married to her if this is a constant occurrence?

silli cat

Anonymous said...

Why do't you say the woman chapter? Do you know how unfair the woman chapter can be? So just leave with it.