A sensitive subject that arouses strong emotions and can have serious repercussions legally, emotionally and physically for the perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse even after divorce.
Marital abuse and rape
Irrespective of the relationship between the abuser and the abused, rape is never acceptable. Sexual abuse in marriage leaves the victim confused about what has taken place and possibly not sure that what they have experienced is, actually, rape. Rape does not always include violence.
Non-consensual sex often occurs because the victim is afraid of what may happen if she/he refuses their partner what they may perceive as their right to sex as and when they please. Forced sex within a marriage is a betrayal of trust and respect and is designed to humiliate and demoralise. It is just as much a crime as violent rape that occurs outside of a relationship which all right thinking people would recognise and condemn as a crime.
There is some reason to believe that, within an already abusive relationship, marital rape tends to occur toward the end of a relationship or after the victim has left.
Rape, in the context of marriage, would appear to be used as a final weapon in the abuser’s armoury when other forms of abuse are no longer sufficient to maintain control over the victim and as a means of punishment for a possible attempt to leave, or trying to leave. Sadly, it is. too often successful in achieving it’s aim.
It was not until 1991 that marital rape was recognised as a crime in the UK but the police do now take allegations of rape within marriage seriously and will take action if a complaint is made
If you have been a victim of rape the Rape Crisis Federation (England and Wales) gives advice and guidance on what to do next.
For over twenty years Survivors UK has been providing support and counselling to men who have suffered sexual abuse or rape.
NAPAC – the National Association for People Abused in Childhood – has been in existence since 1997. The NAPAC support line provides vital help and information to anyone needing it.