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Recognizing Sexual Abuse in Your Marriage

March 22, 2017

Domestic violence takes many forms. You are probably aware of what physical and emotional abuse look like: Hitting, kicking, belittling, and insulting an individual are all fairly visible forms of abuse. Other forms of domestic violence, like financial

abuse and sexual abuse, are more likely to occur behind closed doors.


Marital rape is illegal throughout the United States. Until fairly recently, some states had vague laws regarding rape and sexual abuse in marriages. If you are experiencing sexual abuse in your marriage, consider filing for divorce. Nobody deserves to live in fear of sexual violence from a partner.


Consent is the Difference Between Abuse and a Healthy Sex Life


If you are forced, coerced, or manipulated into engaging in sexual contact, you did not consent to that contact. Similarly, if you cannot give consent because of your mental state, including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you cannot consent to sex, and if your partner does perform sexual acts with you in this state, you are being abused. Sexual abuse does not have to be a violent, forceful act. Guilting a partner into sex when he or she does not want it can be an act of sexual abuse.


Reproductive Coercion is Sexual Abuse


Reproductive coercion, the practice of using reproductive ability and timing to maintain control in a relationship, is a form of sexual abuse. An individual of either gender can use reproductive coercion against a partner. Examples of reproductive coercion include:


  • Pressuring a partner into conceiving a child or aborting a pregnancy;

  • Withholding or sabotaging birth control in order to impregnate a partner or become pregnant;

  • Lying about birth control in an effort to conceive a child; and

  • Threatening violence against a partner if she chooses to keep or abort a pregnancy.


Sexual Abuse is Rarely an Isolated Event


It is not uncommon for sexual abuse to occur alongside other forms of abuse, such as emotional or physical abuse. Manipulating a partner into engaging in sexual acts

without his or her consent is an act of psychological abuse as well as sexual abuse. Using sexual violence against a partner is a form of physical abuse.


Even when sexual abuse is not intertwined with another type of abuse, other types of abuse can occur in a relationship. These can include emotional, financial, physical, or psychological abuse.


Work with an Experienced La Crosse Divorce Lawyer


If you are being sexually abused, get help now. Seek shelter in a local domestic violence shelter and if you feel it is necessary, file an order of protection against your former partner. Once you are safely out of the home and away from your former partner, start working with a divorce lawyer to begin the process of ending your marriage. Contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We can answer your questions about divorce and represent your case throughout the process.


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