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Marital rape: The facts

10 years ago | 15800 Views
MARITAL rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse. As such, it is a form of partner rape, of domestic violence, and of sexual abuse. Once widely condoned or ignored by law, spousal rape is now repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalised. Still, in many countries, spousal rape either remains legal, or is illegal but widely tolerated and accepted as a husband’s prerogative.

In 2006, it was estimated that marital rape could be prosecuted in at least 104 countries (in four of these countries, marital rape could be prosecuted only when the spouses were judicially separated), and since 2006 several other countries have outlawed spousal rape. In many countries it is not clear if marital rape may or may not be prosecuted under ordinary rape laws. Several countries in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia made spousal rape illegal before 1970, but other countries in Western Europe and the English-speaking Western World outlawed it much later, mostly in the 1980s and 1990s. Most developing countries outlawed it in the 1990s and 2000s.

Research literature, particularly in the areas of incidence and effects, may extend the use of the term spousal/marital rape to include divorced/legally separated ex-spouses or unmarried cohabiting partners. Current state laws, however, often treat rape by ex-spouses or intimate partners as different than marital rape, and therefore, legally equivalent to rape by a stranger.

Physical and psychological damage

Rape by a spouse, partner or ex-partner is more often associated with physical violence. A nine-nation study within the European Union found that current or ex-partners were the perpetrators of around 25 percent of all sexual assaults, and that violence was more common in assaults by ex-partners (50 percent of the time) and partners (40 percent) than in assaults by strangers or recent acquaintances (25 percent).

Attributing the effects of marital rape in research is problematic as it is nearly impossible to find a large enough sample of spouses to study who have experienced sexual violence but have not also been physically assaulted by their spouse.

While rape by a stranger is highly traumatic, it is typically a one-time event and is clearly understood as rape. In the case of rape by a spouse or long term sexual partner, the history of the relationship affects the victim’s reactions. Marital rape may occur as part of an abusive relationship. Trauma from the rape adds to the effect of other abusive acts or abusive and demeaning talk. Furthermore, marital rape is rarely a one-time event, but a repeated if not frequent occurrence. Whether it takes place once or is part of an established pattern of domestic violence, trauma from rape has serious long term consequences for victims regardless of whether the assault is prosecuted or not.

2 Taliyana
Tags: Rape


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Anonymous user 10 years
This fuels small houses
Anonymous user 9 years
It is almost never prosecuted due to the excess trauma the court system imposes. This is the most heinous of crimes and it's tome for this to be addressed. I've survived long term violation however I live with this every day. I've done the therapy and that has helped me cope daily. The health issues are ongoing as is the difficulty with the perpetrator. I've evolved from a victim, survivor and now an activist against misogyny. I'll never forgive him ever he will never be entitled to this and I'll live the rest of my life content and happy.
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