What are the Laws About Marital Rape?

Samantha Allen, writing for The Daily Beast, an online news source, has compiled an overview of marital rape laws across the 50 United States.  The title gives you a clue what she found – “Marital Rape is Semi-Legal in 8 States.”

By treating marital rape as a separate crime from other forms of rape, these states continue to lend credence to the centuries-old idea that consent is more difficult to define within the bounds of marriage. That particular notion dates back “hundreds of years,” as RAINN notes, to 17th-century British common law, in which a woman’s unconditional sexual consent was considered to be part of the marriage contract.

In 2015, even though something called “marital rape” is criminalized in all 50 states, the definition of rape within marriage differs in each one.  Add the stigma of reporting and cultural barriers to even recognizing one has been raped by a partner, it’s no wonder marital rape is rarely reported.

Aside from the information about laws (which is just for general information and not legal advice), Samantha describes what situations may feel like rape even though you might not have thought about what happened that way – like sex while you are sleeping, unconscious, or drugged.

Read Samantha’s excellent article here.  Even if you have no intention to report or even admit to anyone that your partner is having the kinds of sex referenced in the article, you need to know what is happening to you so you can have your gut instincts validated, and you can decide how you want to move forward with your life.

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