The Blur of Date & Marital Rape
February is usually the month focused on love since Valentine's Day is celebrated then. This month I chose to focus on how attraction and love's tables can turn for the worst. This is not something that most people prefer to talk about, but it is definitely a topic that must be addressed due to the emotional and mental repercussions if it occurs. Rape can be aggressive and even with the use of weapons, but not all rape includes these factors. Some rapists do not even realize that they have raped their accusers. Do you know anyone that has ever suffered the attack of date rape or marital rape? All rape is legally wrong, but most victims of date or marital rape will tell you it mentally leaves a prominent scar that truly is not easily healed due to the emotional connection of their attacker. These are blurry areas overall to most attempting to determine fault, guilt, or even civil responsibility.
Imagine a family friend who you've known since elementary school asking you on a date to the movies. You meet at the theater and enjoy your time spent together then decide to sit in the car together before leaving to go to your separate destinations. While you are sitting talking about the past and people you both know, you begin to kiss due to your attraction to one another then you realize that your date's hand is forcing your head back and ripping your shirt open leading to both hands touching places that they were never invited. You keep saying "No" , but your date disregards your rejection. You hurriedly jump out of the car and run to your own vehicle driving while breathing heavily until you can't breathe or drive anymore. You realize that you made it home and decide to just go to sleep. In the morning, you shower and never speak a word of it again to anyone, not even your attacker. Is this even considered rape criminally? Did you wonder if this victim was a female or male? Will anyone believe the victim since this was the horrible ending to a date? Have you thought about why the attacker decided that this date was the "one"? Is the attacker experiencing any mental illness or stressors of their own? Now if you're thinking about all of this, imagine what might be going through the attacker and victim's heads after experiencing something like this personally. Next take this same scenario, but instead of being on your first date, it's your partner that you've been married to for 8 years and you love dearly. What would change about the way you feel or the way your attacker feels? How would you respond? Would you still never speak of it again? Is this the first time that this has ever occurred? Does this partner really love their spouse? There are so many blurred lines and unanswered questions that even an attorney , police officer, or psychologist or therapist would not know the answers to easily.
Rape has been illegal in all 50 states of the United States since 1993. Most attackers or those accused of date or marital rape do not plan to rape their victims or even know why the rape ensued. In 8 states of the United States, marital rape is almost never prosecutable due to state laws and codes that refer to marriage privilege or exemption. These codes and laws offer a shorter reporting period for victims, different standards for proving coercion and force, and totally different punishments. Many Christians do not believe in marital rape due to Biblical references. This is why so many victims of marital rape do not report their attackers to legal authorities unless the situation has extreme circumstances such as in the Lorena Bobbitt case in 1993. Date rapes are prevalently reported on college campuses. There is often discussion that most of these rapes occur due to "date rape drug" involvement, such as GHB - gamma hydroxybutyrate - and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam). When drugs or alcohol are involved, there is a myth that it decreases the ability to prove an attacker's guilt or victim's innocence in court trials. There are many accused and convicted that do not involve drugs at all. Penalties for date rape are sentences up to 20 years in prison without parole and fines up to $50,000. Some of the most recent date rape cases that most have heard about are the Kavanaugh case as well as Bill Cosby's trials.
Is love or attraction supposed to hurt mentally, physically, or emotionally? Should you have pleasant memories of intimate moments with your spouse, partner, or dates? Do attackers rape others due to their own abusive and sexual assault experiences in life? When is it okay to tell someone externally about date or marital rape? When you talk about these experiences in therapy, does your therapist have to report it to authorities? Isn't it your own choice whether you take action or not in regards to rape or sexual assault? Does rape really occur most to females or do females report it more? Are males usually the attackers in rapes or is it really equally occurring? Some of these questions will be answered. Untreated aftereffects and symptoms of date or marital rape can range from, but are not limited to increased conflict with partners or dates, loss of intimacy and sexual attraction, loss of respect for your own body, lowered self-worth or esteem, distrust, fear of ending the relationship, communication problems, alienation from family and friends, traumatic amnesia and dissociation, violent and aggressive reactions, disruptions to sleep and eating patterns, nightmares, and decreased daily functioning. Some victims and attackers do not even realize that they are suffering as a result of the attack or experience until much later in life. Victims are often seen as liars or attention seekers by family, friends, and legal/criminal authorities due to past fictitious unfounded reports. Attackers can be alienated and reputations ruined by those that know details about the incident typically. Anyone involved in this type of attack (attacker or victim) should seek out professional counseling or therapy to address these possible effects and avoid more detrimental issues later in life. Most professionals have tools and techniques to determine if the reports are fictitious or reality based.
Although it is difficult to obtain formal statistics about date and marital rape specifically, it appears that women report marital and date rape more often. 1 in 4 females report date rape or attempted rape before 25 years old. There are no studies that focus on the amounts of date and marital rape that are not legally reported. Only 3.2% of people who are raped by someone they know report the rape according to Tario & Associates, P.C. Marital rape has only been researched three times since 1993 due to the legality debate. There is a definite underlying belief that males experience these types of rape as well, but very few if any report this experience to authorities. Most that do report marital rape (approximately 69%) state that it is not their first time being raped. 66% of rape victims know their attacker according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Approximately 48% of victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance; 30% by a stranger; 16% by an intimate partner; 2% by another relative; and in 4% of cases the relationship is unknown. At what point as a victim or attacker is enough enough? Is there a point where you should walk away or separate yourself from these experiences? If you can identify with any of the information in this periodical, please do not hesitate to call us to complete a free, brief prescreening by phone at 678-310-7151. We look forward to speaking with you and providing you with the necessary time needed to address any symptoms you may be experiencing.