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Research

Portfolio Rape and Punishments issued in


Singapore

By:
Joanne Muk Rui Yi
Zo Kan
Isaac Christopher Ong Wen Xuan
Lee Zhi Yu (Lawrence)
Under Singapore law, rape is committed when a man penetrates a womans vagina

with his penis without her consent (Aware, 2016). However, penetration of other body

orifices is not rape. When a man penetrates a womans mouth or anus with his penis

without her consent, he commits an offence known as unlawful sexual penetration

(Aware, 2016). Adding on to that list, Under Singapore law, a man who forces his wife

to have sex with him is not guilty of an offence imprisonment for a term which may

extend to 20 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning (Singapore Government,

2015).The average sentence rapists gets in Singapore is between 13-15 years

imprisonment and 20 strokes of the cane (Lum, 2016). However, according to our

survey results where people have commented They rip someone's feeling of security

and worth. They shouldn't even be alive after raping Someone. and Rape is a serious

crime which needs a punishment equally as drastic and severe. Our group believes

that rapists should be dealt harsher punishments.

Rape is a growing concern in Singapore as the numbers of reported cases in

Singapore as well as convicted rapists has been on the rise. According to The Straits

Times, Last year, there were 272 cases filed in the State Courts involving either sexual

assault by penetration, sexual grooming of a minor under 16, outrage of modesty or

rape. Another 169 cases involving these crimes led to convictions (Cheong & Lim,

2015). This is an overall increase of about 60 per cent from 164 cases filed and 105

convictions in 2011 (Cheong & Lim, 2015).

Rape is a notorious crime that still exists in our modern society in many forms, the

most common ones being - date rape, gang rape, statutory rape, spousal rape and

drug related rape.


Date rape is a form of acquaintance rape whereby both parties are acquainted or

related, the common of being drug related rape, whereby 75% of date rape cases are

involved with alcohol and drugs. (PROTECT YOURSELF: KNOW THE FACTS

ABOUT DATE RAPE) Statistics of date rape cases shows that Eighty-four percent of

women who have been raped knew their attackers. (Warshaw, 1988) This shows how

date rape is often pre-planned by the perpetrators.

Gang rape is a form of rape which involves 2 or more perpetrators to execute a sexual

assault on their victim. Gang rape often involves elements of torture and ridicule;

thereby causing a victim to feel like they are less than their perpetrators. (Kristy,

2007) An example of gang rape would be the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape, where a 23-

year-old paramedic student, Jyoti Singh was not only brutally raped and beaten by 6

men, but also violated with a metal rod. (Mosbergen, 2012).

Statutory rape is a form of sexual intercourse of a minor or below the age of consent

whereby even if he or she agrees to sexual intercourse, that act is still illegal.

Lastly, spousal rape is a form of rape between couples whereby there is no consent

given by either partner. Spousal rape however, is not applicable in Singapore as stated

in the Penal Code S375(1).

Our group has conducted and gathered a total of 95 respondents. More than 80% of

them feel all these types of rape should be punishable by law with gang rape having

the most responses and spousal rape having the least.


In Singapore, AWARE stated that there must be consent from the female, but not

necessarily verbally (Understanding Consent, n.d.). However The Affirmative Consent

Standard applies for some foreign countries stating that the partner must receive

verbal agreement, emphasising that silence does not mean consent (The Affirmative

Consent Standard, n.d.). If the female decides to discontinue the intercourse at any

point of time, the male is required to listen to her or it would be considered rape, and

should notice and stop if he finds that the female is not comfortable.

People have posted their experiences on blogs stating that their pleas to stop in mid

intercourse was rejected, along with their partners being rough and even getting angry

(Enochs, 2016). They later realised that because they did not consent for the entire

intercourse, but only at the start of it, it was still considered rape to them. On websites

like Yahoo! Answers, there have also been many people who asked if they were raped

and shared how they didnt consent, but felt like they brought it upon themselves. They

were then responded with the majority telling them that it was rape (Was I Raped?,

n.d.). Furthermore, when our survey respondents were asked how harshly a male who

had intercourse with an underage, but consenting female, should be punished,

majority leaned towards less harsh than the regular rape. When the question then

prompted that the females consent was not explicit, more than 50% of them wanted

to give the rapist a harsher sentence.

An example of misconception of consensual intercourse is the Dear Kelly incident

where a teen was publicly shamed by a magazine after going to her male friends

house to stay the night (Magazine sparks anger, 2016). The magazine seemed to
advocate how a girl should be knowledgeable enough about when and where she

goes and blamed the girl for being raped. This caused a lot of backlash from the public

with comments saying it was backward, sexist and victim-blaming nonsense. The

incident had gone viral on social media. This proves that verbal and explicit consent

is a critical determining factor of a rapists punishment as seen from The Affirmative

Consent Standard, online testimonials and surveyed views of the public.

Out of the 95 people whom we surveyed, 41 of them agreed that the current

punishments our judiciary serves are not sufficient, while 33 felt that it is enough. 21

of them remained neutral.

More than half of the people who felt that current punishments should be harsher said

that a decades worth of imprisonment for the rapist is nothing in comparison to a

lifetime of psychological damage done to the victim. This sentiment is echoed in the

article Sexual Violence, Bodily Pain, and Trauma: A History when the author

mentioned that The fact that rape victims experienced very long-term consequences,

which could last their entire life, had become mainstream (Bourke, 2012)

However, most of those who believed that the current punishments are more than

enough argued that 13-15 years is a very long time and together with the caning,

sends out a strong message that rape is not tolerated in our country. The long

imprisonment should be adequate for the rapists to reflect on their actions.

64.2% of our survey respondents reflected that punishment is not an effective way of

deterring crime, because though the repercussions of committing rape are already
severe, rape cases are still on the rise, implying that punishment does not deter people

from committing rape. One particular respondent even said that punishment would

only be effective if the criminal actually receives it and not escape scot-free. Since this

is the current situation, it is important to question if punishment is truly a good enough

deterrence against crimes. A report titled Deterrence in Criminal Justice; Evaluating

Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment pointed out that a certainty of punishment was

more effective than the severity of punishment (Wright, 2010). This means that

harshness of the punishment does not actually matter if only a small percentage of

these rapists are actually convicted.

Throughout the course of our research, our group has come up with 3 main points to

explore further and will approach NGOs, lawyers and the public for interviews on their

perception and personal experiences. We will be diving deeper into the issue of

consent as it is important to identify what exactly constitutes a rapist before

punishments can be issued, whether sentences issued to these rapists should be

tailored to the types of rape they commit, as well as the effectiveness of assuring

certainty of punishment against severity.


Works Cited

Aware. (2016, August 12). Rape and Sexual Assault. Retrieved from AWARE Singapore:
http://www.aware.org.sg/information/rape/
The Affirmative Consent Standard. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2016, from SGVW Now
Project: http://sgvnowproject.weebly.com/the-affirmative-consent-standard--rape--
sexual-assault-education.html
Enochs, E. (2016, February 13). 7 Things That Can Be Rape, Even If You Were Taught To
Think They Can't Be. Retrieved December 2, 2016, from Bustle:
https://www.bustle.com/articles/141289-7-things-that-can-be-rape-even-if-you-were-
taught-to-think-that-they-cant
Teenage magazine sparks anger over 'victim-blaming' rape advice. (2016, November 14).
Retrieved December 2, 2016, from British Broadcasting Corporation News:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37970790
Was I Raped? (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2016, from Yahoo! Answers:
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20150409190326AAzRneH
PROTECT YOURSELF: KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT DATE RAPE. (n.d.).
Warshaw, R. (1988). I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and
Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape. Harper Perennial.
Kristy. (2007). Pandora's Project. Retrieved from Pandoras Aquarium:
http://www.pandys.org/articles/gangrape.html
Mosbergen, D. (2012, December 20). The World Post. Retrieved from The Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/20/delhi-bus-gang-rape-victim-intestines-
shocking-details_n_2340721.html)
Troup-Leasure Karyl, H. N. (2005, August). Statutory Rape Known to Law Enforcement.
Juvenile Justice Bulletin.
Bourke, J. (2012, May). "Sexual Violence, Bodily Pain, and Trauma: A History". Theory,
Culture & Society, 25-51.
Wright, V. (2010). "Deterrence in Criminal Justice; Evaluating Certainty vs. Serverity of
Punishment". Washington, D.C: The Sentencing Project.
Singapore Government. (2015, April 1). Rape. Retrieved from Singapore Statues Online:
http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=9f804d76-c39f-4e35-
8cfe-1be8dd20bfe9;page=0;query=DocId%3A%22025e7646-947b-462c-b557-
60aa55dc7b42%22%20Status%3Ainforce%20Depth%3A0;rec=0
Lum, S. (2016, May 10). Man who raped woman 3 times gets close to 17 years' jail and 22
strokes. Retrieved from The Straits Time:
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/man-who-raped-woman-3-times-
gets-close-to-17-years-jail-and-22-strokes
Cheong, D., & Lim, Y. (2015, August 23). Rise in sexual crimes over last four years.
Retrieved from The Straits Time: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-
crime/rise-in-sexual-crimes-over-last-four-years