There are thousands of women in our country that carry a deep dark burden of secret shame. It has a name-spousal rape. 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.
If you are a victim of spousal rape tell someone, anyone you truly trust. Talking about it is the first step to recovering your instincts for self preservation and pride. I was amazed at the number of women I personally know, who have undergone spousal rape, even if only once. So you are not alone, nor are you strange or need to feel any shame. That trophy belongs to the coward who did this to you.
Realize, and teach your children that bodily “rights to privacy” must be respected. Marriage doesn’t grant anyone the right to assault your body against your will-ever. If your spouse is reasonable in other areas you can try to educate him through books, counseling or the clever use of peer pressure. A few nights of card parties, where subjects like this can be discussed generally, might cause him to see himself in full living color. If this fails, or he tries the guilt tactic of what am I supposed to do with this discomfort? Offer him the bathroom. Easing his sexual discomfort is not your primary role, nor your problem.
Marriage is supposed to be a considerate and loving partnership of equals. It is not designed to give a male an autoerotic thrill by using a wife as a receptacle for his sperm. If you get hurt repeatedly by your spouse, you must find help. Check my links to organizations that can offer you support, guidance, counseling and more. Until we stand up and say no more to this secret shame, women every day somewhere in this country will be hurt by the man they married, and even dying. Remember that you are a unique, precious and lovable individual in your own right. You have every right to demand that you and your body are to be treated with the respect they deserve. Until you do, nothing will change, and we’ll continue to hide our secret shame.