Thursday, August 18, 2005

Marital Rape

An article on the front page of the Korea Times has appalled me. I only hope I'm reading it wrongly.

Lawyers Oppose Bill on Marital Rape

The Korean Bar Association (KBA) has opposed a bill designed to severely punish spouses committing "marital rape", claiming that it may accelerate the breakdown of the family if legislated.

"The bill may allow law enforcement authorities to excessively intervene in family affairs, resulting in family collapse or obstructing the recovery of conjugal relations," the KBA said in the statement. It also said that making a married couple’s sexual relations a matter of criminal activity is not desirable, and that current criminal laws about rape can punish a spouse for sex with violence or threat.
Why shouldn't the law be able to intervene in cases of rape?
What hope is there really of the couple 'recovering conjugal relations' after such a violation?
Does the KBA really see no difference between 'sexual relations' and 'marital rape'?
Current criminal laws may have that capability, but is it actually used for that?

The association also claimed the bill does not stipulate whether only husbands are punished for forced sex with violence or both husband and wife are. It added the concept of "forced sex with violence" is too ambiguous.
How often does rape happen 'the other way', especially in a marriage? Be serious.
As for ambiguity, how much clearer can you get? The dictionary definition of rape is "the crime of forcefully having sex with someone when they are unwilling, using violence or threatening behaviour".
"...The government did not intervene in domestic violence in the past, saying it was a family affair, but it actively intervenes now that domestic violence has become more serious," Bae Keum-ja, a lawyer, said. "If the government fails to deal with the marital rape issue in the name of protecting rivacy, a husband’s privacy may be protected while the wife's will not be," Bae said.

...not recognizing marital rape violates the equality between married women and single women, and infringes on married women's rights to have sex at their own will.
Full article here.

The following from a May article:
Marital rape had not been officially recognized in the nation until last August. In 1970, the Supreme Court ruled "rape does not exist between married couples as they agree on sexual intercourse through marriage."

Thirty-four years after the ruling, however, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced a 46-year-old who battered and raped his wife to two years and six months in prison with a three-year suspended sentence last August.
And the following is intelligent, if dated (1996 - full article):
In 1994 the nation had its first sexual harassment trial, when a young woman graduate assistant at Seoul National University brought charges against her professor for firing her when she resisted his advances. This succession of
incidents made the people aware of the reality of sexual violence and started them thinking about the need for correct sex education and the establishment of a healthy sexual culture.

Traditionally, Korean boys and girls were forbidden to sit together from the age of six. This division between the sexes was believed to be necessary for a healthy society, but on the contrary, it has prevented natural relationships among boys and girls, and distorted values and culture, making male-female relations a matter of curiosity. In a situation where no adult is providing answers to their questions, children and youth have turned to easily available pornographic videos and other materials, along with stories and rumors passed along by friends, and thus acquire distorted views about sexual matters.

And finally, this is from the US State Department's 2004 Report on Human Rights:
Violence against women remained a problem. The Ministry of Gender Equality, established in 2001, reported that more women were coming forward to report abuse. The Prevention of Domestic Violence and Victim Protection Act defines domestic violence as a serious crime and enables authorities to order offenders
to stay away from victims for up to 6 months. Offenders may also be placed on probation or ordered to see court-designated counselors. The law also requires police to respond immediately to reports of domestic violence.

Rape remained a serious problem. From January 1 through September 1, 3,914 cases of rape were reported, and 3,630 cases were prosecuted. Many rapes were believed to have gone unreported because of the stigma associated with being raped. The activities of a number of women's groups increased awareness of
the importance of reporting and prosecuting rapes, as well as of offenses such as sexual harassment in the workplace. According to women's rights groups, cases involving sexual harassment or rape frequently went unprosecuted, and
perpetrators of sex crimes, if convicted, often received light sentences. The penalty for rape is 3 years' imprisonment; if a weapon is used or two or more
persons commit the rape, punishment may be a maximum of life imprisonment.


soum said...

im an indian n i jus read ur blog. this article is particularly captivating. i think its an amzin piece of wrtin wit ur views..

Anne said...

Dear Adam:

This is Anne, your friend from Belgium. Wazzup!? :-D

I was very interested by your post as I am myself an active member of Amnesty International "Stop Violence Against Women".

Belgian website in French:

Thanks for them.

Later, take care: