marital rape

Up until recent decades, it was thought that marital rape wasn’t possible. Rape was only considered a crime if it was committed by a stranger or by someone with whom the victim did not share an intimate relationship; there was actually an exemption written into rape laws for married couples. As a result, the first marital rape conviction in the United States didn’t occur until the 1970s.

Society would often blame spousal rape on the wife for withholding sex in the relationship. In reality, spousal rape has to do with exerting force and control over your partner.

The reality is that whenever sexual consent isn’t given and sex is forced upon someone, then rape has been committed. Many victims of marital rape are reluctant to report the crime, perhaps because it wasn’t even completely illegal in the United States until 1993 and some are confused as to whether it is a crime, because victims don’t think that they will be believed or because they don’t want their marriage to fall apart.

One out of every eight adult women in the US has been the victim of at least one forcible rape in her lifetime but only 16 percent ever report the rape to police. Only 3.2% of women who were raped by someone that they know report the rape to police. Sadly, prosecutors rarely bring a case of rape to trial and marital rape is no exception. That is why seeking damages through a sexual abuse attorney is such an important tool for justice.

Marital rape statistics

  • As of October, 2014, only two surveys had ever been done to try and gather statistics on marital rape.
  • In a randomly sampled group of married women in San Francisco, 8 percent admitted to being a victim of marital rape; 10 percent of married women admitted the same in a similar survey conducted in Boston.
  • Thirty percent of all adult rape cases were committed by husbands, common-law partners, or boyfriends.
  • Twenty-nine percent of all sexual assaults of adult women were committed by husbands, common-law partners, or boyfriends.
  • Nine percent of all reported rapes were committed by a husband or an ex-husband.
  • Up to 30 percent of women asking for spousal support or maintenance in a divorce have reported at least one forced sexual assault by a partner.
  • When there is domestic violence in a relationship, the risk of marital rape increases by 70 percent.
  • Women with religious backgrounds were more likely to accept marital rape because of a fear of a spouse committing adultery or being cast as a sinner from a resulting divorce.
  • Women who enter marriage with little sexual experience or knowledge are more likely to believe that forced sex inside of a marriage is normal and not report it as rape.
  • Thirty-five percent of women who experienced marital rape were also subjected to some other form of physical violence during the incident.
  • Of women who are raped in a marriage, 69 percent of them are raped more than one time.
  • More than 50 percent of women who have reported or stated that they were raped by their husband said that they were forced to have anal sex, a higher percentage than other rape victims.
  • About 33 percent of spousal rapists use objects to commit their violent act.
  • A shocking five percent of women report that their husband forced their children to take part in the spousal rape – including engaging in sex.
  • Eighteen percent of marital rape victims say that their children witnessed the sexual assault.
  • Women are at a greater risk for marital rape if they are discussing divorce with their spouse. In fact, about one out of every four marital rapes happens just prior to a divorce or a separation.
  • The two most common times for spousal rapes to occur is just after a woman has been discharged from the hospital (often after giving birth to a child and under doctor orders not to have sex) and when the woman is feeling sick.

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