Anna is a woman in her 40s. She has been in a conflicted marriage for years. Her husband insists on morning sex, even though he knows it will make her late for work. She gives in to get it over with.
Tara, newly married, is upset because her husband has been having sex with her while she is asleep. She likes sex but doesn’t like to be waked to him penetrating her. He says she agrees in her sleep. She feels violated.
Caren is in her 30s. She feels she has no say about when and where she and her husband will have sex. He often refuses when she initiates. But he’ll get furious if she doesn’t immediately fall into bed (or the bushes) with him when he wants it. She gives in rather than have yet another fight about it.
Kayla, age 18, writes that her husband regularly slaps her around and then forces her to have sex saying that he just knows she loves it. She does love him. She doesn’t want to leave. But she honestly doesn’t love domination as part of sexual intimacy.
These women are all married. Is what their husbands are doing a form of rape? The simple answer is “yes.”
It’s not what many people think of as rape. The man isn’t a stranger. He isn’t holding a gun to the woman’s head. He isn’t abducting her. But it is rape nonetheless. Rape is forced sex. He is getting off. She is getting violated.
Forced Sex is Rape
Let’s go through those cases again. Rape is the word for forced or coerced sex. It is when the woman hasn’t had the opportunity to freely give consent or she is unable to give consent.
Anna’s needs aren’t being respected. Her husband is demanding sex despite the fact that it is inconvenient and not welcomed.
Tara is asleep! She wants to be awake, aware and involved when she and her husband have sex. Being waked from a sound sleep to penetration doesn’t feel loving or safe.
Caren feels coerced by the threat of yet another fight if she doesn’t give in.
Kayla is being physically hurt by the person who says he loves her.