Marital Rape

Updated: AUGUST 12, 2019

Marital rape is rape (or nonconsensual sex) that is perpetrated by the spouse of the victim. Also referred to as spousal rape, marital rape is a form of domestic violence/abuse. As recently as the 1990s, many US states treated marital rapes differently than other rapes. However, as of 2019, marital rape is a crime in all 50 US states.

More About Marital Rape

Marital rape laws in the US are complex. While all 50 states have criminalized the practice, there are differences in how it is handled state to state.

The complicated nature of marital rape laws is reflective of stereotypes about sex and specifically about women. Among these are the idea that it is a spouse's (particularly a wife's) duty to provide sex on demand. Additionally, preconceived notions about the violence of rape influence laws.

Spouses who are victims of marital rape are often victimized repeatedly over time.


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