Can Husbands Rape Their Wives? Exploring Martial Rape

“When it is the person you have entrusted your life to who rapes you, it isn’t just physical or sexual assault, it is a betrayal of the very core of your marriage, of your person, of your trust.”

One form of rape that is rarely discussed it marital rape. Just because two people are married it doesn’t mean that they have the right to use, abuse or violate one another. We as wives need to meet our husband’s sexual needs. Husbands need to be sensitive, patient and understanding towards their wife’s feelings, desires and needs also. Sex should never be forced in marriage. Please read this article and share your thoughts.

Also to celebrate Restoration Week for my blog, please click the link below to read a woman’s testimony of how she survived years of spousal rape.

If you have been a victim of spousal rape, please seek help from your pastor, doctor, a social worker or the police. No one has the right to force themselves on you. No means no!

Marital Rape was only made a criminal act in the UK in 1991? Up until then it was considered impossible for a man to rape or sexually assault his wife. To quote: “A husband cannot rape his wife unless the parties are separated or the court has by injunction forbidden him to interfere with his wife or he has given an undertaking in court no to interfere with her.” (The Law Made Simple, The Chaucer Press, 1981)

Rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between the rapist and the victim. It can be a total stranger; someone you recognise by sight, but have never really communicated with; someone you know superficially, a neighbour or a colleague; a friend, a boy-friend or a former boyfriend; a live-in partner, or a former partner; someone you are married to or have been married to in the past.

The main differences between stranger rape and marital rape

Stranger rape is usually a one-off, someone you don’t know, with whom you don’t share any experiences or history. When the assault happens, there can be no doubt as to what is happening: that it is Rape (though even in such situations the victim will often wonder what she has done to precipitate the assault and will blame herself). In marital rape the circumstances are very different. It is – quite apart from a physical and sexual violation – a betrayal of trust. Here is a person whom you thought you knew intimately, with whom you share a history, a home and quite often children. Here is a person whom you have made love to on a frequent basis often over many years, with whom you have shared your most intimate secrets and fears, and whom you believe to love you, want the best for you, who would never intentionally hurt you. Marital rape is so destructive because it betrays the fundamental basis of the marital relationship, because it questions every understanding you have not only of your partner and the marriage, but of yourself. You end up feeling betrayed, humiliated and, above all, very confused.

Another problem victims of marital rape face is that such instances are rarely a one-off, but a repeated if not frequent occurrence. This can be a huge issue to the victim, because she will feel as though she has somehow ‘asked for it’ by staying or putting herself in the situation where it can happen again. Also, once it has been tolerated on a number of occasions, she may question her right to then act upon it.

The problem of defining marital rape as Rape

Many women who are victims of marital rape have great difficulty in defining it as such. The traditional idea that it is impossible for a man to rape his wife and that somehow, in taking our marriage vows we have abdicated any say over our own body and sexuality, basically denied ourselves the right to say ‘no’, is still prevalent amongst wives as much as amongst their husbands. A wife being raped will often question her right to refuse intercourse with her husband, and while she may realise that legally it now constitutes rape, there are many reasons which may prevent her from perceiving it in such a light.

We prefer to see it possibly as a communication problem (did I make it clear enough that I did not want intercourse tonight), we may see it as an act for which the man is not fully responsible due to his nature (men have a biological need to have sex and if there is a woman next to them in bed when they are in the mood they just cannot help it), we may see it as a misunderstanding (although I told him I didn’t want to, maybe I gave him the wrong signals somehow), we may have religious issues which question our right to refuse intercourse (I have got to submit myself to him and accept his will above mine as my Lord and Master).

Basically, as wives being raped by our husbands, we look for every reason, every excuse to deny it is Rape because we do not want to accept the alternative: it is Rape, he is hurting and humiliating us with intent, we can no longer trust him, turn to him in comfort, gain reassurance and protection from his company and our home is no longer safe.

To read this article in full and learn more about spousal rape, checkout this link.

To read a woman’s personal journey of restoration from marital rape, checkout this link

3 Responses to “Can Husbands Rape Their Wives? Exploring Martial Rape”

  1. John Wilder Says:

    Hey Joanna:
    I have been reading your blog long enough to know that you believe in taking care of your husband’s needs.

    I would concur that rape by a husband is still rape and I don’t condone it.

    That being said, far too many women don’t have the same sensitivity over women deliberately forcing their husbands to do without sex against his will. I have gone on other blogs and stated this and women have come out of the woodwork to dump hate speech on me and call me all manner of vile names.

    It is a violation of a man’s trust for a woman to routinely deny him sex and yet she would scream bloody murder if he cheated on her. Most women complain bitterly because their men watch porno (as a masturbation aid). Too many women are not taking care of business and some men get fed up and frustrated and take it.

    A woman needs to use her intellect. Like the twit who came out at 2 am and voluntarily went up to Mike Tyson’s room. I don’t condone what he did, but she used no common sense at all and put herself in harm’s way.

    I would have a lot more sympathy with women if they saw to it that they took care of hubby’s needs. Multiple studies have shown that married women with chidren force their husbands into a diet of sex once a week or less when the average guy needs it 3 or 4 times a week.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  2. ~L Says:

    My problem is that I love my husband with all my heart and maybe I was not having sex 3 times a week but at least once if not twice… I was going through a very hard time in my marriage and needed sleeping pills… he would bring me one or two and massage my back till I feel asleep… than he did what he wanted….

    what is this? I don’t understand why he would do this.. and I really don’t feel like going into details…. it breaks my heart that he kept doing this for almost a year on and off… and has admitted to it… yet it just breaks my heart that he did this… i don’t know what to do about this!

  3. Sara Says:

    ~L, I’m surprised nobody else has taken the time to respond to you. What you describe is rape. Your husband has chosen to make use of your body while you’re unconscious and can’t object, which is a horrible way to treat another human being. People have a right to use a toilet when their bladder is full, but they don’t have a right to use a woman in the same way when their testicles are — not even if they married her first.

    As to why he did this… many men feel a sense of entitlement to sex, and on some level regard women as existing primarily to gratify their urges. I would guess your husband falls into that category; he has decided that because you married him, you owe him sex, and if you don’t give it to him whenever he wants, it’s fine for him to take it against your will.

    (Newsflash guys: We are people. If you wouldn’t like a man sticking his dick in you while you sleep, why should your wife tolerate it?)

    Some men who feel that way do change their tune when they realize how much damage they’re doing to a person they supposedly care about, but many are a lost cause. The only way you can find out which camp your husband is in, is by making it clear how much anguish he is causing you, and gauging his reaction to that. It may help to find a therapist who understands what he is putting you through and have them help you explain it to him.

    (I’m giving your husband the benefit of the doubt here, by assuming he isn’t the kind of all-out abusive creep who would lash out at you for telling him he’s hurting you. But obviously you know the situation better than I do, so please ignore my advice if doing this would expose you to further harm.)

    I’m sorry you’re in such a horrible situation, and I hope your husband is the kind of man who stops raping you once he understands that’s what he’s doing. If he doesn’t, keep in mind that only 4% of men are repeat rapists; 2% do it once and realize it’s wrong; and the other 94% are decent enough human beings to never rape anyone at all.

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