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.
What percentage of U.S. States consider marital rape a crime? What is marital rape?
Marital rape finally became a crime in all 50 states on July 5, 1993. As of 2006, in 20 states it is understood that whenever consent isn’t given and oral, anal or vaginal penetration is forced upon someone, then rape has occurred. In the other 30 states there are still some exemptions from rape prosecution granted to husbands.
Why does spousal rape go unreported?
The Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that in 2013, only 34.8 percent of rapes were reported to the police. There are many reasons that so many rapes go unreported including feelings of shame, the fear of retaliation, that the police won’t believe the accusation or that the perpetrator will not be charged. Perhaps due to the high incidence of domestic violence associated with marital rape or the mistaken belief that a husband cannot be charged for raping his wife, marital rape stats show that only about 3.2 percent of women who are raped by their husband report the crime.
Marital rape statistics
How common is marital rape? These shocking statistics on marital rape and marital rape facts are provided by Health Research Funding.org:
• 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 happen 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.
When are women most vulnerable to marital rape?
Traditionally, society blamed 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 which is why women are more vulnerable to marital rape when they are married to a domineering man, the marriage is ending or she has just given birth or had surgery and under orders not to have sex.
Physical and emotional trauma caused by marital rape
The physical and emotional trauma caused by marital rape is serious. In a personal injury case this trauma is considered damages for which the victim seeks to recover:
Physical trauma that can be associated with marital rape includes injuries to the vaginal and anal areas and health issues like vomiting, fatigue, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, infertility, miscarriages, pelvic inflammation, vaginal stretching, bladder infections and HIV. Women who are also suffering domestic violence may experience broken bones, black eyes, knife wounds and bloody noses.
Immediate emotional and psychological trauma may include PTSD, shock, fear, depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety. Long-term effects may include eating and/or sleeping disorders, intimacy problems, low-self-esteem and sexual dysfunction.
Seek the help of a spousal rape attorney
According to VAWnet, about 10 – 14 percent of married women experience marital rape in the US. Sadly, prosecutors rarely bring a case of rape to trial and marital rape may be even less likely to see a courtroom. That is why seeking damages through a spousal rape lawyer is such an important tool for justice. If you are the victim of marital rape, contact a sexual abuse personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!