A common misconception is that if you’re in a committed, sexual relationship that the word ‘rape’ does not exist, and many women suffer in silence.
This rings especially true in patriarchal societies whereby women are expected to be submissive; whose lives revolve around serving and making sure the men are happy and ‘looked-after’ – if you get what I mean.
Things are not very different here in Malaysia; you have husbands, boyfriends, significant others, sometimes even more disturbingly – relatives, forcing themselves onto women, be it their wives or children like it’s their fundamental right. As if the words ‘I love you’ allows lifetime access to our body temple wonderland.
Some even go as far as making girls and women insert objects into their private parts (and somehow this is less ‘bad’ because they’re not actually doing it) for some sort of sick thrill. The worst part? The men get off easy: According to Suri Kempe, programme manager for SIS – a father from Kangar recently forced his 13-year old daughter to insert a carrot in her vagina, but was only investigated for molest.
Are women to blame for this? Well, does anyone ever deserved to get their house broken in to? Does anyone ever deserve to get pick-pocketed? If your answer is yes, then you might want to get yourself checked in to some sort of treatment for potential criminal tendencies because implying that you have the right to invade someone else’s body, space and property as you seem fit, is pretty messed up.
Women who are raped and violated by their significant others or loved ones, look for every reason and excuse to deny it is rape because it’s incomprehensible how someone who is meant to have your best interest at heart, is actually causing you physical, mental and emotional pain. But that mentality needs to change now.
Who cares if he buys you expensive things, if he’s good to the kids, if he tells you things he doesn’t tell anyone else in the world and makes you feel special. That does not mean he owns your body. If he forces himself onto you when you’ve clearly said no, that’s wrong – abuse is abuse.
Remember, your body is the one thing you have complete authority over in this world and marriage is not consent – we’re still not asking for it, just because we share the same bed as you.
We Need Change
How did this come about? Historically, English law provided that when a woman marries, she is deemed to have given herself to her husband and is his property. Due to the country’s colonial past, that English law remains as Malaysian law even though marital rape is now recognised as a crime in England and in many other countries. Click here for more info.
Thankfully, we have groups such as the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) who are looking to change the definition of rape in the law. Consisting of nine bodies including the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and Sisters in Islam (SIS), their aim is to amend the country’s laws to be more relevant to the current struggles faced by Malaysian women when it comes to rape and molestation.
According to our laws, molest carries a maximum jail term of 10 years, a fine or whipping under the Penal Code. Rape, on the other hand can be punished up to 20 years’ jail and liable to whipping.
“This is why we need to make changes to our laws – to suit contemporary notions of justice,” said Suri as reported by The Star.
In the same article, Lee Wei San, senior programme officer for All Women’s Actions Society (AWAM) said that women had a right to say no to sex at any time.
“However, marital rape has yet to be recognised as a crime,” she said.
The group plans to highlight these issues to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in a meeting to discuss long-standing women issues in the country following his pledge that pro-women laws be implemented swiftly.
To find out more about how you can be a part of this movement, visit the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality website.