The Definition of Rape Under The Brunei Penal Code: An Appraisal
Rape is one of the commonest form of sexual assault against a person. More often than not, the offence is more perpetrated by males against females. Rape is a severe offence because it involves social effect to the victim and is sinful act which brings shame to the society. It psychologically destroys the victim and leaves her with a devastating emotional effect. In Brunei, the offence of rape is defined in section 375 of the Penal Code as being committed when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman in one of the five circumstances which are set out in the section. The paper aims to examine the definition of rape under the Brunei Penal Code (Cap. 22) by making reference to section 375. The paper adopts a legal-library based research methodology, focusing mainly on primary and secondary legal sources. The paper concludes that the current definition of rape adopted by the Brunei Penal Code is not in tandem on the subject matter as it is anachronistic. By the wordings of section 375 of the Brunei Penal Code, a man (or boy) cannot be raped because he cannot be penetrated. Furthermore, the section specifically use the word “woman” as part of the definition of rape. Thus, only a woman can be a victim of rape. Consequently, only men can be perpetrators. Additionally, the definition reduces the offence of rape to vaginal penetration by a penis. The paper recommends that there is a need for legislative intervention on the definition of rape in order to make the offence contemporaneous with the happenings or possibilities of the 21st century.
Keywords - Brunei, Rape, Sexual Assault, Vaginal Penetration.