Sexual Violence Within Marriage

As with any other form of sexual violence or abuse, rape and sexual violence within marriage, or any other relationship, is categorically wrong.

Incredibly, it only became illegal to commit rape within marriage in 1991 in England and Wales. Before then, there was no legal protection for individuals who experienced the crime of rape perpetrated by a spouse or ex-spouse. This may go some way to explain why so many people do not recognise sexual violence and rape within marriage when it happens to them.

Any unwanted sexual acts by a spouse or ex-spouse, committed without consent and / or against a person’s will, obtained by force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent, are incidents of sexual violence, and are criminal acts. These sexual acts can include intercourse, anal or oral sex, forced sexual behaviour with other individuals, and other sexual activities that are considered by the victim as degrading, humiliating, painful, and unwanted.

You always have the right to say no to sex, regardless of whether you have previously had consensual sex with the person, regardless of whether you are in a relationship with the person, and regardless whether you are married to the person.

It can be very difficult to accept that someone who is supposed to love you could treat you so badly, but it is important to recognise that what is happening is wrong, that you are not at fault and that the actions of your partner are not acceptable.

We are here if you need to talk to someone in confidence if you’ve experienced, or are worried about sexual violence within your marriage or relationship. Please call our helpline, open on Mondays and Thursdays 6pm – 8pm, Tuesdays 1pm – 5pm and Fridays 10am – 2pm, on 01905 724514.