Are we concubines? Is that the question some women ask themselves due to their spouse’s overwhelming sense of ownership? A martial union alone does not qualify as consent, nor does it give anyone the right to challenge the meaning of NO. Marital sexual abuse is not a myth. Do not be confused about the so-called wifely duties that you overlook physical violations. Pause for a moment to make sure insults and guilt are not manipulating you into something you feel uncomfortable with. Remember what your responsibilities are to uphold in matrimony, which does not include sex on demand. Let us reframe from blaming one’s self and learn how to recover and heal even if that means leaving a longtime situation.
A violation does not have to be violent, but non-compliance from your wife is assault. Rape is more common among married couples than it is among strangers. So how can we tell when love is not the answer?
- He gets what he wants. Not all power positions lead by your husband can be violent; in fact, there may never be aggression in your wedded union, even when desire overtakes consent. The signs can start out subtle but end with damaging results, which may begin from the inside out.
- The truth is love may not always conquer the beast. When your spouse has complete disregard for your feelings, the love you have will not change him. Indifference in sexual situations can be gratifying for some men, even while you are asleep. This can be more than discouraging, and painfully obvious that love no longer lives here.
- Submitting under pressure is wrong, no matter how loyal or inexperienced you are. Can lying in the same bed make you culpable? Or is that what he wants you to think. Being naked in any way, shape, or form does not make it your sexual duty to do anything for your partner, no matter how fast or easy he perceives it to be. Realize what is really going on and be vocal.
Our society may be oversexualized, with eye candy dangling on the big screen and songs that make straightforward targets of women. Do not let him manipulate you by comparison because the reality of a situation is not always the same for everyone.
- A needy bully in the bedroom. It is not hard to connect intimately as much as it can be to get along sexually. Proclaiming what he wants and giving in to it can be a negotiating tactic but do not let him dehumanize you. He might coerce you into uncomfortable situations, like threesomes, sexual positions, or insertion of unwelcomed objects. What may work in fantasy does not work in real life.
- Oppression from your aggressor. Resistance is hard for the timid, especially when there are children involved. Making a painful situation harder by tying you down emotionally and physically. Taking back what belongs to you can be tricky when somethings also belong to him. You are entitled to refuse him, sacrifice possessions, and accomplish your desires, fully knowing others will be affected, but do what is needed.
- Playing the blame game. Your feeling of inadequacies for giving into pressure or not stopping certain acts is not exclusively on you. When he gets fulfillment that leaves you feeling embarrassed or shameful for the lengths you must go to appease your spouse, it is a pang of guilt you should not bare. Halt from becoming emotionally beaten down by legal aspects of the contractual union of marriage. Do not let him pull you under with fear and doubt. Remind him of what love is all about and who is really at fault.
The responsibilities of marriage can be stifled in their definitions. Is there more to vows than maintaining for better or worse, to love and cherish till death do you part? Confusing still is when religion or faith is involved. This can make you more susceptible to the misconceptions of what God wants you to endure as the perfect wife.
- Tolerating sexual abuse is not in the vows. Our culture for control can lead to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; this is not something we should learn how to overlook. Recognize what a wanted touch is and what is nonconsensual or forced contact. Know what not to condone.
- Having a choice in your marriage is not wrong. You have the right to allow how you want to be treated, that does not include physical harm, verbal abuse, or involuntary sexual situations. Protect your body, protect your mind, and the others around you by what you see as healthy.
- Designated roles of a Godly union. Many spouses will suggest a women’s compliance is written in the bible, but a man who really has a relationship with God will know the truth. God believes in love, as it is mentioned hundreds of times in the bible and speaks of four kinds of devotion. Empathy, friendly, romantic, and unconditional. None of the theses speak to being forceful, demanding, or hurtful in the disregard of your spouse. Learn it and live it!
Recovery can be a long road. However, how we learn to heal is just as important as how we learned to deal with it. Taking the right steps to unchain ourselves from domineering partners will lead to a better and more fulfilling life. We look towards our resources to help solve problematic issues that can arise from ashes that have long burned out.
- Therapy is not just for battered women or conflicting marriages; it is for any trauma suffered. Treatment can be with a spouse willing to reform from sexual abuse or for personal awareness necessary to tackle private issues.
- Legal separation or divorce at the pain of others. You need to come first, even if many may not understand, including your children. Yes, you may lose friends and extended family, but this is not about them, it is about you and the relationships that you consider essential. Do not pay attention to the rocks on the road; if you keep focusing on the finish line, you will not stumble.
- Healing help is out there, and you are not alone. Support groups are available and advocates to help survivors, like counselors or priests. Whether you know your state law or not report your abuse, do not remain voiceless. Speak, implement, and stop the silent abuse of marriage.
On July 5, 1993, marital rape has deemed a crime in all 50 states. Never assume what is right, always know! Realize what is going on in your marriage, stay strong in your beliefs, and know who to call. Your local police, National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233), RAINN 800-656-HOPE (4673), Pathways to Safety International 833-723-3833 and LGBT National Hotline 888-843-4564. Also, email for help at hotline.womenslaw.org and always remember we are with you; you are never alone!