Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault or Harassment
Regardless of whether you are married and any ‘rights’ the other person may claim to have over you and your body, the consent of both parties is required for sexual relations. Unwanted advances, sexual comments, or feeling pressured or forced into committing sexual acts is a form of domestic violence and could result in criminal charges. If this type of abuse is going on in your marriage, the following information can help.
Sexual Assault and Harassment in Marriage
Over a year ago, the #MeToo movement raised awareness of sexual assault and harassment while encouraging women and men to come forward and name their abusers. One particular area that often gets overlooked is incidents involving unwanted sexual attention and forced acts between spouses. According to Break the Silence, there are still misconceptions about sexual violence in marriage and whether it is considered a crime if the perpetrator is your spouse. The reality is that wives nor husbands are required to submit to their spouse in this area. Marital rape was acknowledged as a crime in all 50 states in 1993.
The U.S. Department of Justice defines sexual assault as any type of sexual act committed without the other person’s knowledge or consent. Among married couples and those living together, it is a form of domestic violence and includes:
- Forced intercourse of other sexual acts;
- Taking advantage of a partner when they are asleep, intoxicated, or otherwise impaired;
- Unwanted touching, grabbing, groping, or other physical acts;
- Making unwanted sexual comments, gestures, or exposing them to pornographic materials against their wishes.
Like other types of domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment often begins slowly and escalates over time. Your partner is likely to dismiss allegations that they are doing anything wrong or accuse you of being crazy, frigid, or sexually immature. This type of behavior does not need to be tolerated. Help is available.
Protecting Yourself Against Sexual Assault by Your Spouse
According to statistics from the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (VAWnet), nearly 15 percent of women report being victims of sexual violence in their marriage. Many more of these cases likely go unreported. In cases where marital rape does occur, it is likely to be repeated as many as 20 times before the victim ever ends up getting the help they need. This can take a heavy toll on your body as well as on your mental health.
In Florida, obtaining an injunction for protection against domestic violence can put a stop to the abuse. In addition to preventing your partner from contacting you or appearing at your home or work, it can give you temporary rights to property and financial support while also protecting any children you have from the relationship.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney Vanessa L. Prieto is a trusted resource on behalf of victims of domestic violence, helping them get the protection they need while they rebuild their lives. Call or contact our office online today and request a consultation to discuss how she can assist you.