The Truth About Marital Rape

“Truth: Rape does indeed happen between girlfriend and boyfriend, husband and wife. Men who force their girlfriends or wives into having sex are committing rape, period. The laws are blurry, and in some countries marital rape is legal. But it still is rape.”

Patti Feuereisen, Invisible Girls

Marital rape is more common than most people think. Despite the fact that it occurs in millions of households, our societies have turned a blind eye towards this kind of domestic abuse. Rape is rape, no matter where it happens, who it happens to or what the circumstances are. Rape culture can never be justified. In the case of marital rape, it really does not matter if the victim and the predator have children together or are even married.

The question arises, what is actually considered as marital rape. It can be termed as any sexual activity that is unwanted by a former spouse or current spouse, which is committed without any consent, by force, by threat, against a person’s will or when a person is unable to consent.

“Her friends used to tell her it wasn’t rape if the man was your husband. She didn’t say anything, but inside she seethed; she wanted to take a knife to their faces.”

F. H. Batacan

Rape can be of various forms. It involves obsessive/sadistic rape, battering rape and forces only rape. According to The Biannual Publication of Washington Collation of Sexual Assault Programs, the survivors of nonconsensual sexual acts popularly known as rape have higher levels of physical injury and trauma that last longer.

Many studies and research has shown that 10 to 14 percent of formerly married or married women have at some point experienced at least one forced sexual assault by a spouse or a former spouse. According to only about 16 percent of women actually notify law enforcement about being victims of marital rape. Many women who do not have much sexual experience consider marital rape to be very normal and do not report it to the authorities.

“A husband or wife did not have the right either to demand sex from his or her spouse or to refuse it, and there was a catalog of forbidden sexual practices, notably homosexuality, bestiality, certain sexual positions, masturbation, the use of aphrodisiacs, and oral sex, which could incur a penance of three years’ duration. Nor were people to make love on Sundays, holy days, or feast days, or during Lent, pregnancy, or menstruation. People believed that if these rules were disobeyed, deformed children or lepers might result.”

Alison Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life

Most people consider marital rape as a lesser crime than other kinds of rape. The society has only recently actually considered that marital rape is actually a crime. Many studies show that people who are victims of spousal rape are raped more frequently than stranger rape victims. Marital rape is not restricted to women of a specific race or age. About two-thirds of the victims are under the age of 25.


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