What is Marital Rape?
Marital rape is often misunderstood because many women feel they have no voice when it comes to their husband or long-term partner being the perpetrator. The truth is, we always have a voice. If you ever feel like you’re being forced to engage in sexual acts against your will, it is rape, whether it’s a stranger or the man living in your own home. By definition, marital rape is the term used to describe non-consensual sexual acts between a woman and her husband, ex-husband, or intimate long-term partner. It is rape if your partner uses force, threats, or intimidation to get you to submit to sexual acts.
These sexual acts can include:
- Anal or oral sex
- Forced sexual behavior with other individuals
- Other unwanted, painful, and humiliating sexual activities
- It is illegal in all 50 states for a husband to force his wife to commit sexual acts.
Types of Marital Rape
- Battering Rape – Involves forced sex combined with beatings. This type of sexual assault is primarily motivated by anger toward the survivor.
- Force Assault 919-870 – Only Rape – Husbands use only as much force as necessary to coerce their wives into sex. This type of sexual assault is primarily motivated by the need for power over the survivor.
- Obsessive Rape – The husband’s sexual interests run toward the strange and perverse, and they are willing to use force to carry these activities out.
Myths and Facts
Myth: “Marital rape isn’t as serious as rape by a stranger; it’s just one spouse not being in the mood and the other spouse insisting.”
Fact: Marital rape is just as violent, just as degrading, and often times, more traumatic than rape by a stranger. Sometimes it is perpetrated with knives, at gunpoint, repeatedly, brutally, and in front of others. Most often it is the final violent act in a series of physical abuses.
Myth: “Marital rape isn’t offensive. After all, they have had sexual intercourse before. What’s one more time?”
Fact: A person raped by a stranger has to live with the memory of that experience. A person raped by a spouse has to live with the rapist. Many survivors are trapped in a reign of terror; experience repeated sexual assaults over a number of years. The trust and intimacy in a marriage is destroyed when the person who has promised to love and protect, and on whom one may be economically dependent, commits such a brutal and violent crime.
Myth: “When someone marries, consent to sexual intercourse is part of the marriage contract.”
Fact: Sexual expression of love is one thing. Forced brutalized sex is another. No one consents to violence by marrying nor do they wave their right to protection. Sex on demand is NOT part of the marriage contract in the United States.
Myth: “Marital rape is simply one spouse’s word against the other. It would be difficult to prosecute and hard to prove.”
Fact: Difficulty in prosecution should not determine whether something is a crime. Marital rape cases can be and have been successfully prosecuted in the United States.
If you feel like you are in a marital rape situation and you are a Haywood County citizen, call the REACH hotline immediately at (828) 456-7898.