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Can Rape Happen in Marriage?

By HERWriter
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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Rape, by definition, is forced, non-consensual sexual intercourse. Traditionally, marriage has been seen as something that includes, by default, consensual intercourse. Where there is love and respect – not necessarily just lust and physical attraction – intercourse between husband and wife should not be an issue. Unfortunately, some women are trapped in a situation where the husband decides that the marriage covenant entitles him to sex whenever he wants it.

The Invisible Bruises

Rape is often seen as a physically violent act leaving bruises that are often covered up to avoid the humiliation. But rape in marriage doesn’t necessarily leave visible bruises. It can be something much more subtle happening over a period of years rather than just one encounter.

The especially sad part about this is the marriage relationship is supposed to be safe. The man you’re married to has pledged to love and to cherish you. You are supposed to be able to trust him with your body and know that he’s not going to abuse it for his own purposes. Sex in a marriage is supposed to be the ultimate act of love and trust.

In cases outside of marriage it is often difficult to get a guy to respect the word, “No.” Sadly, saying “No” doesn’t have any more impact on a married man either. In fact, it probably has less. Many women don’t really recognize sexual abuse from at the hands and whims of their husbands for what it is and many cultures still cover it up under a man’s “conjugal” rights.

Call to Action

Just because you are married does not give your husband the right to force you to have sex normally, anally, orally…any way. Abuse is not part of the marital covenant and it is definitely not what you signed up for.

Even in our supposedly enlightened society, it is really difficult to convince people (even pastors and counselors) that rape can and does happen in a marriage. A healthy sexual relationship with your spouse is a great thing and a hope for marriage. But a man who forces his wife into various sexual acts is not what marriage or love is about.

Add a Comment2 Comments

I would like to thank you for writing and sharing this article. Twenty yrs. ago, I was a victim of rape within marriage. My former spouse was a heavy drinker. When he would come home drunk, I would pretend to be asleep because I didn't want to fight and arque, which always happened when he came home drunk. He would wake me anyway with sexual advances and proceed to "rape" me, which included restraining me by choking me until I nearly passed out. It was a terrible time in my life and am gratefull that I got out of that relationship alive. It is important for woman to know that this kind of behavior is not acceptable or normal within marriage. A marriage license is not a license to abuse. Thank you for bringing this subject to light. Chippi

February 16, 2011 - 9:03pm
HERWriter (reply to chippi)

Thank you, Chippi, for sharing your story.

So glad that you got out of that situation as well!

February 18, 2011 - 8:18am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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