While standing in front of an Indiana state courtroom, Mandy Boardman, a mother and local business owner, held her breath, anticipating the verdict of her case hearing. For several months, she has fought against her ex-husband after coming to the horrifying realization that he had been injecting her with un-prescribed medication and raping her unconscious body each night over the course of their marriage. It was to Mandy’s surprise that, while her ex-husband was charged with six felonies surrounding years of abuse, he would not be ordered to serve any time in prison for his crimes. Mandy Boardman is not the only woman who has been disappointed by the injustice of the legal system when presenting cases of sexual assault within a private setting.
Marital rape is not enforced in the same manner or as frequently as “ordinary” rape within the United States:
In Virginia, rapists have the option of seeking family counseling as a substitution for their prison sentence.
In South Carolina, a victim is permitted a mere 30 days to report their sexual assault, whereas in other states reporting period extends up to 6 years.
In Ohio, circumstances that would “prevent resistance by a person of ordinary resolution,” including abuse of alcohol, drugs and administered substances, does not apply to married couples.
Although little current research has been conducted on the issue, early studies show that a disturbing 30% of all adult rapes have been committed by husbands, common-law partners and boyfriends, 69% in which victims are sexually assaulted on numerous occasions throughout their relationship. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, there is no doubt that that percentage will have skyrocketed if surveyed again in the upcoming year. While spousal rapes are as prevalent as any other sex crime, victims still remain hesitant in reporting their abuse to authorities, who often look the other way when faced with controversial cases such as these.
In a nation that prides itself in the protection of its people, it is unjust to allow an inhumane offense such as marital rape to persist within the United States. Those who choose to violate the vows of respect and equality towards their spouse should be treated in the same manner as perpetrators of stranger rape. While bills have been introduced to reform state laws, it is imperative that our society begins to make large-scale adjustments to the mindset of its members in order to make visible advancements in reducing marital rape in the US. Significant elements of American culture, such as the media and legal system, must make more of an effort in emphasizing the necessity to speak for victims without a voice.
Marriage is not, and has never been, a license to rape your spouse.
- Mandy Boardman (TIME) Retrieved on October 3, 2018 from: http://time.com/3976180/marital-rape
- The State Decoded (Virginia Decoded) Retrieved on October 3, 2018 from: https://vacode.org
- South Carolina Legal System (LawServer) Retrieved on October 3, 2018 from: https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/south-carolina/sc-code/south_carolina_code_16-3-615
- Ohio Legal System (Lawriter Ohio Laws and Rules) Retrieved on October 3, 2018 from: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.02
- Marie-Hartwell Walker, E.D (PsychCentral) Retrieved on October 3, 2018 https://psychcentral.com/lib/marital-rape/