The National Legislative Assembly of Thailand approved a new law last week that criminalizes marital rape. Previously, rape law could not be used to prosecute a husband who forced sex on his wife. This new law carries a monetary fine (40,000 baht, or $1,156) and up to 20 years in jail for offenders.
In addition, the definition of "victim" has been expanded so that man, too, can file rape charges against a woman or another man. This expansion has been applauded as a breakthrough by gay rights activists who have struggled to obtain rights and protection for gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers who are often targeted violently.
Gender and gay rights activists admit that although the new law is a significant first step, it will take many more changes -- both social and political -- before rape victims will be able to speak out freely. The fear of being rejected by the justice system and society is still very real, as is the fear of suffering further violence at the hands of aggressors determined to keep victims silent.
Media Resources: The Nation 6/21/07; BBC 6/21/07; AP 6/21/07
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .