You cannot rape your wife
The government is seeking to prohibit unwanted sex between married couples.
The move is contained in the 4th basic policy program involving women’s affairs for 2013-2017, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced Monday.
The program is designed to prevent sexual and domestic violence and strengthen the punishment of violators.
Marital rape is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse.
“There has been opposition from legal circles but there is a need for serious discussion on the issue,” said a ministry official. The topic has been raised since the middle of the 2000s.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1970 that spousal rape cannot be constituted as abuse and even physical violence and threats were not admissible in a court of law.
However, a Busan court recognized marital rape as illegal in 2009 and so did an appellate court the same year.
Similar rulings were made in the United States in 1984 and in Britain in 1991. The United Nations has long called on Korea to recognize spousal rape.
“Even among married couples, people have a right to choose and this should be part of the law,” the ministry official said.