When most people think of rape, they think of sex between two strangers to which either the man or the woman did not consent. Most people do not think of non-consensual sex between husband and wife. Yet, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a segment of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, marital rape is more common than you might think. 14% of married women in Georgia and throughout the US report that their spouses raped them at least once, though RAINN suspects the percentage to be much higher than that. 23% of women say that rape and sexual assault is the only type of abuse in their marriages.

Marital rape occurs when a husband engages in a sexual act with the wife despite her lack of consent and/or against her will. Marital rape often involves violence, physical force and threats that cause the woman to fear that her husband will physically harm her if she does not consent. Research shows that men engage in marital rape out of anger or to assert their dominance, power and control over their wives and families.

There are three main types of marital rape: Force only rape, obsessive rape and battering rape. Force only rape occurs when a husband uses physical violence and verbal threats only to the point necessary to coerce his wife to have intercourse or perform a sexual act.

Obsessive rape is the most sadistic type of violation, as those who engage in it often use violence to become aroused. In these situations, the abuser is often obsessed with sex and enjoys violent intercourse.

Battering rape occurs when the abuser combines both violence and rape. The sexual abuse is often a continuation of the physical, verbal, psychological, economic or emotional abuse. In some cases, the abuse continues during the sexual act, and often, the sexual act itself is violent.

Because marital rape is often a violation of trust and intimacy, women are especially traumatized by the act. Spousal rape victims are also more likely than stranger rape victims to experience multiple rape incidents and to live with more severe long-lasting psychological and physical injuries. Long-term effects of marital rape include blame, humiliation, fear, guilt and recurring injuries. Sadly, many victims of marital rape remain in their abusive relationships because of fear, feelings of diminished self-worth and the false hope that their partners will change.

The contents of this article are for your educational purposes only. They are not meant to serve as legal advice.