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Ellen Lee and The Great Leap Backwards

I was so incensed about the section 377A issue that I forgot to speak on this other issue – the immunity of husbands from marital rape. Many MPs touched on this issue [all videos can be viewed here], coming down on either side. I am not going to bother rebutting the arguments of those who argued for the retention of immunity, as NMP Siew Kum Hong has offered an excellent argument. And I have just one thing to offer all those people who maintain that marital rape immunity protects family values: wait till you get raped by the man you vowed to love and cherish.

What I wish to speak about, is Ellen Lee’s speech. You can watch it here.

Ellen Lee, from the start, made a cogent, persuasive argument about why marital rape immunity was not acceptable. She even cited a 1998 rape case there can be rape in a marital situation. She made very good arguments about why the women who are the most likely to be victims are also least likely to be able to protect themselves under the exceptions.

And then, in a sleight of hand, she took it all back, and said that married women shouldn’t be allowed to cry rape for vindictive reasons, and hence the new law was valid. She fears a sudden change in society’s views to marriage, and for the victims, the courts are supposed to be there to judge whether the claim is valid.

She makes so many leaps of logic in the last statement that I thought she was playing hopscotch. All the way, she has argued for why marital rape immunity does not make sense, and how the proposed amendments do not protect the women who need it the most – so how does she come to the sudden conclusion that the amendments are just fine? Also, her statement about “sudden change” is rather laughable – laws do not shape society’s views overnight. They mould each other in the fullness of time, in a complex interplay of public policy and populist moves. If we repeal marital immunity, wives are not going to wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly decide to cry rape because he forgot to pick up the drycleaning.

To say that this law should be retained in order to prevent wolf-crying, is to completely ignore what rape is, and the criminal proceedings of rape. Rape is a deeply shameful secret for many women, something they carry around their entire lives in silence. Even if the said abuser is not a loved one, it takes a lot of courage to report him. What more, if it is a loved one? There is much she has to go through – she said it herself, many women are raped a second time on the stand, by the cross-examination, by the media attention, by the people around her who gossip. It has to be proven beyond a shadow of doubt she did not “ask” for it. In the first place, the police will interrogate her to make sure she is not crying rape – they will try to make her admit she “asked for it”, or that she consented to it. After getting through this humiliating hurdle, there are the lawyers, the courts, the media. Many rape victims drop their cases mid-way.

With all these restrictions in the way, imagine how much more difficult it is to report and prove the rape by a long-term consensual sexual partner? Firstly, there is the emotional barrier – they might be in love, unable to identify themselves as victims, not wanting their partners to go to jail. They might be hoping he’ll change, love them better. People who talk about crying foul, have no conception what it is like to be an abusive relationship – and how deeply the victim can be in the abuse. After reporting him, there is the hurdle of having to prove that you did not consent to this particular instance of sexual contact, after having consented for so long. You yourself said this – it is almost impossible. And by your own arguments, we know how marital rape can occur before the wife has a chance to take legal proceedings – so why are you arguing that the proposed changes are valid?

Even if a woman manages to get past all this, and cries foul… is it not the same as a woman crying foul about a non-marital partner? Should we then, take out rape altogether? So that no woman can ever cry foul about a man? It is up to the courts and judges to decide whether a particular case is valid.

Ellen Lee [and other MPs] also speaks about family values: on what basis is it good family values to encourage our men to rape their wives, to treat their wives as chattel until she takes legal proceedings? Marriage should be based on equality and consent, not archaic ideals of sexual entitlement. No one is entitled, even if it is a long-term sexual relationship.

Ellen Lee, your logic astounds me – at least the other MPs were consistent in their stand, being for or against marital rape. How do you argue for repeal of immunity all the way, and then suddenly switch to the other foot?

Oh, I forgot, you were playing hopscotch.

October 24, 2007 - Posted by | Feminism, Law, Politics | , , , , , ,


  1. Thanks for exposing yet another clown! 🙂

    Comment by I must be stupid | October 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] 26th, 2007 by pleinelune Tangentially related to my earlier post about marital rape immunity, this is a cool movement I came across while tag-surfing: Alternative Energy for Reclaim the Night […]

    Pingback by Reclaim the Night « Used Brains For Sale | October 26, 2007 | Reply

  3. “After getting through this humiliating hurdle, there are the lawyers, the courts, the media. Many rape victims drop their cases mid-way.”

    Who do you think will be humiliated more? The man accused or the woman victim? It is highly untrue to portray, as you have, possible rape victims to be the SOLE victims. Wont it be more traumatizing for the man who has to go through a false criminal charge by a woman he considers close to him?

    As for the reasons why woman would wish to cry rape, they are plentiful:

    In family law proceedings there are a multitude of important and emotionally-charged issues which are often contested and re-contested over many years. These include: legal and physical custody; child support; alimony; division of marital assets; liability for legal, health care and child care expenses; requests for relocation; and others. False accusations often allow accusers to gain leverage in these proceedings.

    Furthermore, women are emotional creatures. Who is not to say that they abuse the rape charge to get what they want? Men have all the right to fear removing marital rape immunity when it can be so *easily* abused by spouses.

    Comment by VoiceofReason | October 28, 2007 | Reply

  4. So you rather deprive women of ALL possible recourse under the law, just to avoid the distant possibility that a man might be wrongly accused? By your reasoning, we should abolish the penal code entirely, so that people will never be falsely accused.

    Why do we have courts? So that people can be given a fair trial – we obviously do not chuck accused people in jail straightaway. False accusations happen all the time in criminal law, it is not limited to rape or marital rape. So why should we given marital rape special treatment?

    Comment by pleinelune | October 28, 2007 | Reply

  5. What a load of shit.
    All women want a decent fucking- she cries after so what.
    Women cry over a frickin kitten in a commercial.

    Marital Rape- what an oxymoron if ever there was one.
    Perhaps if she didn’t use sex as a barginaining tool for her petty and often selfish and emotive reasons (ie “he forget my special day (insert arbitrary sentimentalist bullshit here) – so no sex for him” mentality)- ‘rape’ or more accurately Moderately Persuasioned Marital Relations would be unnecessary. Serve these women right for keeping their knees locked up on their men. That”ll learn them- a good rough fuck- even better up the anus to really put her back into line.
    Sometimes words are ineffective on the emotively voltile and intellectually inferior fairer sex.

    You horrid feminists are pathetic emotive non-rational shrill women who need to keep their hands busy by making my supper.
    Your entire dogma is one subjective emotive fallacy completely uncorroborated by any empirical data shoddily built upon another. Like a house of Tort cards or Goddess cards or whatever you intellectual incompetents use to avert reality. Feminism stands up to neither Logic nor Empirical scrutiny-0 thus is intellectual paucity at its’ worst.
    It is but the self-indulgent textual onanisms of a frustrated disaffected unattractive cabal of sexually ambivalent or androgenically challenged women.

    I sneer upon you all.

    Comment by Purba Negoro | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  6. The fact is that when it comes to sex crimes, men are disadvantaged compared to women.

    It’s almost as if, or is as if, the principle has changed to “guilty until proven innocent”

    Comment by Agagooga | August 6, 2008 | Reply

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