April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an opportunity to educate people and raise awareness about sexual assault. Sexual violence refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. In the United States, 1 in 5 women will be raped in her lifetime, and nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will experience sexual violence victimization other than rape. With the recent #MeToo movement, sexual violence has never been such a large part of our national conversation. But what about sexual abuse victims whose abusers are not a stranger or an acquaintance? What about victims who are sexually abused by an intimate partner?
This blog post will explore the intersection of domestic violence and sexual assault. By the time you finish reading, you will understand more about this intersection, including seven statistics about about domestic violence and sexual abuse; learn about marital rape; and discover six ways you can take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault.
Perpetrators who are physically violent toward their intimate partners are often sexually abusive as well. Victims who are both physically and sexually abused are more likely to be injured or killed than victims who experience one form of abuse. Abusers assault people of all genders, races, ages, social classes, and ethnicities. Women who are disabled, pregnant, or attempting to leave their abusers are at greatest risk for intimate partner rape.
Marital rape is a rape is committed by the victim’s spouse (as opposed to a non-married intimate partner.) Until 1976, state laws specifically exempted spousal rape from general rape laws. In 1976, Nebraska was the first state to legally recognize nonconsensual intercourse with a spouse is rape. By 1993, all 50 states had either completely or partially repealed their spousal rape exemptions. However, even now, some states still have some form of spousal rape exemptions, and it is often legally considered a different, lesser crime than non-spousal rape. Many Americans do not believe marital rape is actually rape, even though …
Marital rape is the most underreported form of sexual assault. Only 36% of all rape victims ever report the crime to police, and the percentage of married women who report a spousal rape is even lower.
Want to do something about the intersection between domestic violence and sexual abuse? Here’s six ideas to get you started: