Spousal rape is an issue that has very little awareness surrounding it. Most people don’t consider the possibility that a man could do something so heinous to his wife. There is also the issue that married couples have sex all the time, so can someone really rape their spouse? Marriage does not give someone free reign over their partner’s body. No means no, means no.

Some people claim that spouses have “marital duties” to each other, but if a marriage is supposed to be based on love and trust, a husband must always respect his wife’s wishes.

To the best of my knowledge, when a woman gets married, she still has rights. One of these rights is to say no and to have her husband respect that. Are not a wife’s needs just as important as her husband’s? What kind of marriage is based on fear?

Most importantly, spousal rape is usually an act of showing who is in control – essentially, it is another form of domestic violence. Oftentimes, a man rapes his wife after beating her because if she has sex with him, it means that he is “forgiven” for the abuse.

However, a husband does not necessarily have to use force in order to commit spousal rape. Some withhold money and other necessities or threaten to leave their wife, take away her children, or commit suicide if she does not have sex with them. Whenever a woman has sex with her husband out of fear, even if no physical force is involved, it is spousal rape.

The assumption that spousal rape is not “real rape” is completely ludicrous. Women who are victims of spousal rape often suffer severe and long-term psychological consequences, especially since they usually experience muquotfamltiple assaults and rape by someone that they once presumably loved and trusted.

It is hard to believe that in 1976, spousal rape was not against the law. Fortunately, now all 50 states have deemed spousal rape illegal. Unfortunately, some states do differentiate between spousal rape and rape by another type of attacker. They are sending out the message that spousal rape is somehow a “lesser” form of rape than, for example, getting taken advantage of at a party.

We are all too willing to think of rapists as a stranger waiting in a dark alley, when the reality is that most rapes occur when the attacker is known to the victim. It is estimated that about one in seven husbands rape their wives.

Moreover, women are more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a partner or ex-partner than all other type of assailants combined. Spousal rape is real. Women experience it every day. To those who are still doubtful, go talk to a woman who has been raped by her husband, and see how her life has been affected.

If this is all a fabrication, then are all the millions of women around the world who have been raped by their husbands wrong?

They know how they feel, and to deny them credibility is incredibly ignorant; to assume that they somehow deserve it for not living up to their wifely functions is absolute misogyny.

Rape, in any form, is a hate crime. We cannot allow it to go any longer, and we will keep fighting until the violence stops.

Spinelli can be reached at lspinelli@campustimes.org.

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