A wedding links two people in love and in life with trust. Many times, husbands think it means that they own their wife. She is to obey and put out. One aspect that is a big part of life in a violent home is marital rape. Marital rape is a serious form of violence that can be life-shattering for the victims. Marital rape has been illegal since 1993 in every state and DC but it is not always enforced. This is always a problem with laws that protect women. They have to be enforced to be of any good in saving women’s lives. It is part of the War on Women.
Why is there a war on women? Because we are not considered legally equal. Thanks to the suffragettes we have the vote. Up until then, women were not allowed to vote. It took a real fight to obtain the right to vote. Women belonged in the home and didn’t know or weren’t intelligent enough to cast a knowledgeable vote.
Marital rape occurs when your spouse forces you to take part in any sex act without your consent. It is an abuse of power. One spouse over another. One spouse abuses power to attempt to establish dominance and control over the other. Either spouse can be the rapist. This is a form of intimate partner violence. Research shows that it can be as equally , if not more damaging to the victim as physical violence. Spousal rape can be as traumatizing to the victim as stranger rape. Part of this is that after you perform whatever sexual acts he wants, you have to lie down beside him and sleep with him and then get up with a smiling face and make his breakfast. This is really devastating to women in abusive relationships.
A broad definition of marital rape (legally), includes any unwanted intercourse or penetration, vaginal, anal and oral, obtained by force, threat of force, or when the wife is unable to consent. If you have experienced rape by your spouse, you have the right to make a police report. This is important if you are planning to escape. Police reports may be entered into evidence to help you with a restraining order, or a protection from abuse order. You aren’t alone. Your local domestic violence shelter can assist you through this process. Know you are not alone and he does not own you. For more information you can call the National Sexual Hotline at 800-656+HOPE for help at any hour of the day. You can also visit the website, the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.
Use of force isn’t a prerequisite of being convicted of rape in the third degree, which means that the victim didn’t consent…to sexual intercourse with the perpetrator and such lack of consent was clearly expressed by the victims. Many states have eliminated the loophole of being married as a defense against rape charges. It was the late 1970’s before anyone was convicted of raping his spouse in the United States. Now rape includes stranger rape and marital rape. The perpetrator will go to jail. Forced sex is not a “wifely duty”.
All of this twisted thinking comes from common law situations. And to add to the problem, the old common law said a husband could discipline his wife with anything as long as it wasn’t thicker than his thumb. Look at your husband’s thumb and think about what he could be allowed to use to beat you. This was what courts based their decisions on for hundreds of years. If you are abused, living in a violent home or are being raped by your husband, you do not need to live in fear. Get out. Do it for yourself and for your children. I have been writing on Domestic Violence for all of October. Please feel free to read my other blogs if you are living in fear or if you know someone who is. I will be continuing the subject for the rest of the month. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.