Marital rape should be recognised as rape, say activists (The Star)

My comment on marital rape not being recognised under law in Malaysia:

Women’s groups such as Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) have been lobbying for the recognition of marital rape under Malaysian laws.

“Being married to someone does not entitle you to have sex with that person whenever you want. Non-consensual sex is rape no matter what. A wife is not a husband’s property,” said Yu Ren Chung, an Advocacy Officer at WAO.

“Marital rape is a form of domestic violence, and often occurs along with other forms of abuse,” he says.

“Domestic violence laws need to be enforced more effectively. Enforcement officers and the general public need to be aware that domestic violence includes rape.”

Yu said Malaysian rape laws had a very narrow definition of what rape is.

Marital rape was not recognized as rape and was only punishable based on the potential or actual physical harm inflicted on the victim, he said.

“We work with many women who shared their stories about their abusive husbands forcing them to have sex, sometimes even using objects. Many don’t use the term “rape” as they don’t know they can say no to their husbands.”

Yu also cites how in 2006 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) committee requested that Malaysia “enact legislation criminalizing marital rape, defining such rape on the basis of lack of consent of the wife”.

Read the full article published in The Star on 13 August 2013.

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