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My husband raped me
by Jacelyn Lim

When it first happened in 2007, we had already been married for seven years – he had been my senior at the polytechnic and my first love.

Our marriage was on the rocks because I had just discovered that he had been cheating on me with different women for years. And his ongoing infidelity was slowly ripping us apart with frequent quarrels and scuffles.

One night, he started touching my body, as he always did when he wanted sex.

But sex was the last thing on earth I wanted at the time – I wasn’t even sure exactly how many women he had been with. So I pushed him away. He tried again. And I pushed him away again.

That was when he became frustrated. He climbed on top of me and pressed me down roughly. I struggled but he was stronger than me. He kissed me all over and started to force himself on me.

I was helpless.

When he was done, he simply rolled over to his side of the bed and went to sleep, leaving me feeling traumatised.

The next morning, he behaved as if nothing unusual had happened. But I was still reeling in shock and disbelief.

What had happened to the intelligent and attentive man I had known since I was 17, the student leader whom our peers had looked up to?

That night, he was a different man altogether, he was a stranger.

Cracks in an ordinary marriage

I first discovered signs of his infidelity in 2005.

I found photographs of him with a Chinese woman in her 20s on his mobile phone.

Then, when I was spring-cleaning the house before Chinese New Year in 2007, I discovered remittance receipts, a forged divorce document with a fictional woman and an application to marry a mainland Chinese woman in China.

I also stumbled upon sex videos of him with different women, who did not appear to be aware that they were being filmed. The discovery shook me to the core. Despite being married for seven years, I suddenly felt that I didn’t know my husband at all. In the weeks following that discovery, I numbed myself with 16-hour work days, only climbing into bed in the wee hours of the night, when I knew he would be fast asleep. Or I would sleep in my daughter’s room.

I was bitterly confused about my love for him and our marriage, but one thing was clear: I did not want to have sex with him.

The last straw

To keep up with the pretence that our marriage was still normal and to avoid another quarrel, I would make myself sleep in the same bed with him.

At times, he would demand sex.

Whenever I refused, he would shove me down roughly and force himself on me. Each time after he did that, I would feel deeply upset. But I coped with it the best way I could – I told myself to bear it for my daughter.

But he never showed any remorse.

I don’t think it ever occurred to him that what he was doing was hurting me physically and emotionally. Perhaps he felt that as a wife, I should always submit to his sexual desires. At that time, I had never heard of marital rape.

Late one night in October 2007, about nine months after the first rape, he forced himself on me as usual. This time, I snapped.

While he was going at it, I pushed him away with all my strength. He turned violent and we fought. In the scuffle, he slapped and hit me.

I sobbed bitterly and called the police. He didn’t stop me at all.

At the hospital alone, I was treated for my bruises but nothing more. It was simply brushed off as a case of family violence.

There was no mention of any medical examination to assess if I had been sexually assaulted.

At the time, I was too confused and traumatised to think too deeply about the matter. But looking back, I wonder if that omission was because my attacker had been my husband. Since marital rape doesn’t exist as a crime except under certain exceptions, there would have been little use in them documenting the signs of sexual assault.

Instead, it was on the advice of my private investigator that I finally applied for a personal protection order against him.

When he found out about it, he toned down his temper. It was as if he finally understood that I was being serious and would no longer give in to his sexual demands.

But I couldn’t forgive.

I don’t think I will ever understand why he did what he did to me – all I know is that he started raping me after I confronted him about his cheating, so I can only conclude that it all came from a place of rage, guilt or revenge.

I had once harboured hopes of saving the marriage but it came to a point when I just couldn’t bear it anymore.

When he finally moved out early last year, a few weeks after I filed for the personal protection order, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

* Name has been changed to protect her identity.

Get a copy of the November 2009 issue of Her World, Singapore’s No. 1 women’s magazine. Her World is published by SPH Magazines and is available at all newsstands now. Jaclyn Lim is a featureswriter with Her World magazine by SPH Magazines. Check out more stories at Her World online, www.herworld.com

readers' comments
sex by force; i.e. the other party does NOT find it enjoyable and does not want to consent.

"It all else have being done and still no hope, it's better to have a divorce then to charge the party for rape and make a mockery of marriage."
--> There is a process that a woman undergoes before she decides to take up divorce; there is no reason why she should not be protected before she makes that decision or is able to find a lawyer. Also, if marriage is about two partes wanting to have sex with each other, surely forcing another party to have sex is also a mockery of marriage. So, as an analogy to your argument, why don't the husband initiate a divorce process with his wife instead of raping her and making a mockery of marriage?
Posted by on Fri, 20 Nov 2009 at 10:18 AM
"Nothing wrong in raping each other if one party refused to fulfill their duties as husband and wife."
--> No, marriage does not mean that either husband or wife must have sexual intercourse with each other at demand. Even if we accept the traditional view that a man provides for his wife and she has to have sex with him, a woman has no right to physically force her husband to work, so why should a man have a right to physically force his wife to have sex with him?

"Sex is the most beautiful part of marriage. Not only it's free, clean and enjoyable but help bring the couples closer together, physically and emotionally."
--> We are talking about marital rape here. Rape does not bring the parties closer. Rape is by definition non-consensual, so it is by definition not free. Rape is .....
Posted by on Fri, 20 Nov 2009 at 10:15 AM
Nothing wrong in raping each other if one party refused to fulfill their duties as husband and wife. The alternative solution is to sent the party who don't like sex for couselling. Sex is the most beautiful part of marriage. Not only it's free, clean and enjoyable but help bring the couples closer together, physically and emotionally.

It all else have being done and still no hope, it's better to have a divorce then to charge the party for rape and make a mockery of marriage.
Posted by broken.arrow on Sat, 14 Nov 2009 at 15:27 PM
In Singapore law , it is legal to rape your own-wife ..something wrong with the law maker
Posted by Anakin Skywalker on Fri, 13 Nov 2009 at 14:03 PM
This sound so much like one of those trashy short stories you get from the women's magazine. Married women are so street smart these days...more likely more husbands are being persecuted than poor helpless wives being ill-treated by bullying husbands.
Posted by johnnykwek on Fri, 13 Nov 2009 at 13:44 PM
It brings us to the basic question of : Why get married if the husband can be charged for raping his wife ?
Posted by Ssquirrel on Fri, 13 Nov 2009 at 13:41 PM
Husband rape law can be misused. First, are husbands here have so limited alternatives that they have to force their wives to have sex? (Same apply to wives.) Second, are husbands really that violent towards their partners and their wives really so physically weak that they must be the victims in the struggles? Third, are husbands commonly so sexually charged when facing with uninterested wives? In this city, husbands will find their ways out facing with uninterested wives. Husband and wife who no longer trusts each other should try to reconcile and if it fails, should simply divorce. They should not waste time to get even and live in the past. Worst, they should not get unrelated party like the police into the dispute.
Posted by last_laugh on Fri, 13 Nov 2009 at 13:32 PM
"At the moment, the Singapore Penal Code does not treat forcing your wife to have sex as rape" - What's wrong with that? If it's allow in the penal code, all hell will break lose in marriage and the court will be busy handling marital woes and you will see more broken marriage and homes.

Marriage is a life time partnership. If it does work along try to get it work somehow or get divorce. How can you on one hand doesn't allow the husband to have women outside the marriage and yet have the right to hold on to marriage and can sue him for rape if he force on you when you refused to have sex with him for whatever reasons ? Very contradicting.
Posted by broken.arrow on Fri, 13 Nov 2009 at 11:39 AM
Many thanks to Marie for her bravery in coming forward with this story. It is not easy to talk about these experiences, especially when people continue to belittle and deny violence.

At the moment, the Singapore Penal Code does not treat forcing your wife to have sex as rape. If you believe this should change, please sign the petition at http://www.NoToRape.com
Posted by on Thu, 12 Nov 2009 at 21:23 PM
You should have simply divorced him instead of dragging on to hurt yourself and him. Frankly sticking on as wife and not doing your duty is sick to the core. I believe your husband is now happier and he can go fool around without bothering if he has a wife who would not allow him to do what he needs to do. Great and you should not get married if you dont enjoy love making. You should start to change, look for a man and enjoy love making for the nextgood part of your life
Posted by Siow Liow on Thu, 12 Nov 2009 at 19:03 PM

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