For one reason or another people on Facebook are confused about the definition of rape and they’re arguing about whether or not it can happen in the context of a relationship. A woman, who seemed to be writing in all seriousness, wanted to know if a husband having sex with his wife, despite her objections, constitutes as rape if he doesn’t use force if he kisses her first and enters her gently.
She shared her inquiry, here.
Whew. If you thought the Me Too movement had illuminated some of the problematic ways we interact with one another sexually, you thought wrong. There is still much to learn. Despite the research, proving that 8 out of 10 victims were raped by people they know, folks are still under the assumption that rapists are people who jump out from behind bushes late at night.
Rape, by definition, is sex with an unwilling party. It has nothing to do with gentleness, marital status or cultural norms. If rape is your cultural norm, it’s time to change the culture. Furthermore, the narrative that men need sex so badly that they’re willing to reduce their wives to a hole meant for sexual pleasure is a narrative we need to retire. We can’t keep giving men passes to act in ways that degrade us and attribute them to libido. Sex is an important part of marriage but so are boundaries, respect for your spouse, and bodily autonomy.
It’s unbelieveable that in 2019, we still have to say “no means no” even in the context of a marriage. There are people who believe that sex is for marriage but when one party is not only uninterested but unwilling, it’s no longer a question of sex. It’s rape.
As easy as it would be to point the finger at the men who rape their wives and the women who excuse it, it’s a larger and bigger issue about what healthy sexual boundaries look like and which messages we need to unlearn in terms of who owns a person’s body–even in marriage.
Are you surprised this is still a conversation?