Spousal Rape

Marital rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse. As such, it as a form of partner rape, of domestic violence, and of sexual abuse. Once widely condoned or ignored by law, spousal rape is now repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized. Still, in many countries, spousal rape either remains legal, or is illegal but widely tolerated and accepted as a husband’s prerogative (Wikipedia).

My husband was surprised to learn that there is such a thing as spousal rape.  Perhaps it is because he is a Christian like me and believes that sex should be consensual and an expression of love between a husband and wife.  It should be enjoyed by both.  It is a gift from God and should not be abused or misused.

1 Corinthians 7:2-5 state:  “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Wives should not punish their husbands by withholding sex.  Husbands should not have to beg their wives for sex.  But under NO circumstances should a man force his wife to have sex.  NO means NO and if you force yourself on her–it is rape.  If your wife refuses to have sex, don’t belittle her or make her feel guilty–instead talk to her.  There are things that may cause her not to want to have sex with you.  Find out what you can do to change that

Spousal rape is a secret shame for many women.  Many women are unaware that what they endure, often multiple times a day, is in fact a crime. Even those that know what it is, won’t report it because of the difficulties in being taken seriously, and often the threat of losing their homes, children and maybe their lives, preclude reporting it. Instead they may diffidently at first broach the subject with other women, or joke about their husbands always wanting “it” It isn’t a joke. No means no. A woman has the right to say no and have that respected.

Rape is not about wanting or love or passion, it is about control. Rapists dehumanize their victims, and spouses can be more savage than the better known type of rapist. What type of man rapes his wife? What makes him tick? First and foremost these men are very egocentric. Their needs and wants are the most important thing in the world to them. When made uncomfortable by denial of any sort, they tend to overreact by shouting, punching walls or-raping. They consider marriage an automatic entitlement to sex on demand. Always on their terms of course. In fact, if a woman becomes too sexually aggressive with a man like this, it often deflates him, and he is unable to perform.

There are several different ways a man may abuse his wife’s body. If she is tired or ill, he may wait until she is asleep and simply take what he feels he deserves to take. Or he may bully, harass and demean his wife into giving in, threatening her with seeking “it” elsewhere. He can use tactics such as debasing her self-esteem, telling her she is little more than an appliance to him, or worse. These men are not only extremely dysfunctional and selfish, they can be dangerous. When angered beyond reason, they may in fact, rape their wives as brutally as anyone sitting in prison for the same crime.

The badly torn and bleeding wife may ask her husband why, and be told “you know damned well all women secretly want to be raped” With her pride and body in tatters, there is little else she can do but try and hide her wounds from family and friends, and pray each night it won’t happen again. But it does-after the first assault, it may be months, but it will happen again sooner or later and it WILL NOT stop, until you do something about it (http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/12-21-2005-84604.asp).

I read one woman’s story about being a victim of spousal rape.  For six years she had been beaten and raped repeatedly by her own husband. He was a “smooth talker” who always said it would never happen again – but it always did. Victoria tried to leave him many times but couldn’t support three young children as a fast-food worker. In February of 1980, determined to leave him for good, Victoria took her children to her parents’ house, in a different city. They knew she had been beaten, but she didn’t tell them about the rapes because she felt ashamed, guilty for “failing” at her marriage, and afraid that her father and brothers would kill her husband and end up in jail.  Read more.

I came across a blog which answers two questions:  1.) What to do if you are a spousal rape victim and 2.) how to heal.

1.) If you are married and your spouse rapes you, please report it right away.  Get in touch with victim services in your area to offer you support.  They can get you out of that house if necessary.  Even if you have kids, there are shelters that you can go to for protection

2.) How can  a rape victim heal?  Well, this is a tough question to answer.  I do not think that I will ever be the same.  I try to act like I am over it, but I will always have the pain.  I stopped trying to heal from being a victim of rape, and I tried to find a way to move forward.

How can I move forward?  I do it one day at a time.  I cut myself off for so long from the rest of the World that it is hard to become social again.  Perhaps sharing my experience with others will help you make your own decisions (http://womenagainstmaritalrapeinohio.wordpress.com/).

The Bible teaches that a man ought to love his wife as himself (Ephesians 5:28, 33).   Marriage does not condone or promote the man violating his wife’s rights.  It is an institution based on mutual love and respect.  A woman should not live in fear or in shame.  Sex is an act of love not violence.  It should be enjoyable, not painful or shameful.  It’s a gift not an IOU.

If you are a victim of spousal act now to protect yourself.  Report it.  Leave.  Join a support group.  Remember you’re not alone.


  1. Rape doesn’t always involved violence or threats. It makes it harder to identify. It has taken twelve and a half years for me to recognise that I was raped by my husband for the first time, and only because I described an ‘incident’ to a domestic abuse recovery worker.


    • I’m so sorry to hear that you were raped by your husband. True love does not involve violence but neutral commitment to each other. In this instance, counseling may be effective for both the perpetrator and the victim but especially for the victim. I hope that you can forgive him so that the healing process can begin and I pray that you could go to God of Heaven and earth who is more than able to heal.



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