Many people believe that sexual intercourse without consent in a relationship doesn’t constitute rape, or if they do, that it is not as serious as an assault carried out by a stranger.
The belief that by marrying or co-habiting a woman has given up her right to say no and should comply with her partner’s sexual demands still exists
In Scotland last year more than 40% of rapes reported to police involved a partner or ex-partner. This figure is increasing year on year.
Victims are being raped daily, weekly, monthly by their partners.
Women who are raped by their partners are much less likely to report the assaults against them or seek legal help than those attacked by strangers. This can leave woman vulnerable to repeated attacks.
Fear of retribution, a sense of family loyalty or even a lack of awareness, often silences many women who have been assaulted by their partners, and prevents them from naming it as rape.
It is only since 1989 that rape in marriage was recognised as a crime in Scotland.
The sense of a man’s entitlement to sex with his wife or partner can still be alive in the minds and imaginations of many people, and is often used to excuse rape. Rape also occurs within the early stages of a relationship where the victim met their attacker online through social media, internet dating or online chat. A third of offences took place on a first date (Police figures 2017-18).
Do not trivialise sex without consent between spouses or partners simply because they have previously had consensual sex – sex without consent is ALWAYS rape and rape is ALWAYS serious.
Challenge the suggestion that rape in the context of a marriage or any other intimate relationship is less serious than being raped by a stranger.
Insist that women and men in relationships have the same rights as all women and this includes the right to say no.