Sexual violence is often misconstrued as gender based it is perceived that sexual violence is male on female. The truth is, most *reported cases are male against female, but we truly do not know the statistics simply because the majority of the cases are not reported. Sexual violence can be person against person in any combination of gender or sex. As the late great Carl Sagan says:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
All types of abuse may yield of level of shame, but sexual abuse is by far the most pervasive in conjunction with off putting confusion. It may seem self-explanatory, but what is Sexual Violence? When the term sexual assault comes to mind, what do we automatically think about? Rape. When we think about rape, a default scenario comes to mind where some creepy deviant lurking in the shadows comes up from behind with a weapon or bonks some poor unsuspecting female over the head and penetrates her. That does happen. And yes, it is rape. What most frequently happens, however, is that the rapist/abuser is someone known to the survivor. It could be a relative or even a spouse.
Spousal rape is a thing. It took society quite a while to grasp that concept. Legislation on Marital Rape being illegal throughout the United States occurred in 1993. Although two people are married and are joined, does not mean that one has the right force themselves upon the other or force the other spouse to commit sexual acts against their will which includes sodomy or oral sex. Any unsolicited sexual act, touching or fondling of any kind (it does NOT have to be penetration) is a violation of an individual’s personal space regardless who it is.
For better or for worse
It is a difficult predicament to be in when a person is being sexually violated by their spouse because there is an onslaught of mixed emotions and social conditioning that somehow Marital Rape is part of the “for worse” part of the wedding vows. That’s just not true. Marital Rape is a thing and it is more common than we think. For information, please see the links below, or feel free to reach out to me if you would like to more information on the topic.
You are an individual. You are no one’s property and NO means NO
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Quick Guide: Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse
5 Statistics That’ll Change How You Think About Marital Rape
Violence comes in many forms. Some forms of violence don’t involve physical injury but the effects of non-physical violence can leave scars and wounds that last long after the relationship. There are many factors that contribute to the inability to sever ties abruptly. It can be very hard for people to understand unless they have found themselves in the same or similar situation.
Staying together for the kids
Abuse is often about power and leverage. When children are involved, abusers often use the children as leverage to gain control. Threatening to turn the children against a parent, or making a partner feel guilty for wanting to leave by insinuating they are breaking up the family are two very common manipulations abuser use to keep their partner from ending the relationship. It is a natural desire to want to keep the family together or have both parents present in the lives of the children, but if the risks of harm outweigh the benefits, then taking some time to assess the current state of affairs may be a great idea.
If there is a combination of abuse taking place like, for example, verbal, physical, financial, etc, it can create a very toxic environment that may influence and manifest in your children’s behavior. It may also have long lasting effects that manifest later in the child’s adulthood. This is a factor that must also be considered when deliberating on whether to stay or go. Financial exploitation or abuse often comes hand in hand with using children. This can be a very difficult situation with a stay at home mom, for example whose job was child-rearing while the spouse was the bread winner. Another notable technique is not allowing the other parent to see the children unless they comply with a request like for example, move back into the house.
Using the children is extremely cruel and exacerbates emotional, psychological and physiological well-being. The children should not be used as messengers and visitation should not be used as an opportunity to engage. A common myth is that this is just part of the territory when couples break up. This is simply not true. None of this is okay. Even if this is as bad as it gets on the Wheel of Power & Privilege, make no mistake – it is still a form of abuse.
I have provided links below if you are interested in finding out more information. Both organizations can help refer some local contacts if need be. If you have any questions, you are free to reach out to me as well.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Family Solutions – Father’s Rights