Cross-posted with permission from Too Much to say for Myself
Even though it’s been a couple of years since I’ve covered the subject of marital rape on this blog, it still seems to be the subject that brings most people here.
According to my annual report from WordPress.com for instance, this 2009 post – “Your husband has a right to expect regular sex” – was the most popular post in 2012, which makes that the third year in a row it’s achieved the number one spot.
As you can see, this 2011 post – More on husbands and their ‘entitlement’ to sex – wasn’t that far behind, coming in in fifth place last year.
In the post Rape and marriage, which I published in September 2011, I was so baffled by the popularity of these posts that I looked into some of the search terms that had brought people here, and I was pretty shocked by what I found. So when I got my annual report thing through from WordPress this time and saw how these old articles were managing to maintain their popularity, I decided to do the same again.
At the risk of repeating myself, I’m going to repeat exactly what I said in that earlier post:
“Now obviously some of those searches could be just general queries around the issue of marital rape and so on, and some could be from the same person typing in different phrases to try and find as much information as they can – I’m by no means trying to make any kind of claims around this being some sort of scientifically accurate peer reviewed study or anything. But equally I surely can’t be the only one to look at that list and think “Christ, it’s not just young people who need sex and relationship education in this country.“?
Without any further ado, here’s the most recent list:
- rape in marriage (2nd most popular search term in last 12 months)
- husband wants too much sex
- sex with sleeping wife
- marital rape
- guilted into sex
- rights of a husband
- husband rights
- marriage rape
- can i rape my wife
- husband wants sex too often
- husband pressuring me to have sex
- husband entitled to sex
- husband wants sex too much
- husband’s right to sex
- can your husband rape you
- wife forced to have sex
- i want to rape my wife (12 searches)
- husband expects sex
- husband pressures me for sex
- husband forced sex
- sex with my sleeping wife
- sex feels like rape
- sexual coercion in marriage
- are you supposed to have sex with husband when he’s a jerk often
- forced sex by husband
- sex with husband feels like rape
- forcing wife to have sex
- demanding sex from wife
- forced sex wife
- how to force your wife to have sex
- are men entitled to sex
- husband’s right to have sex
- what is rape in marriage
- pressure to have sex in marriage
- sexual rights of husband
- husband expects too much sex
- wife sex duties
- guilted into having sex
- husband feels entitled to sex
- does a husband have a right to sex
- husband pressuring me for sex
- husbands who demand sex
- husband thinks he is entitled to sex
- husband forces sex
- raped by my husband
- sexual pressure in marriage
- husband pressuring for sex
- unwanted sex with husband
- marriage sexual duty
- forced wife to have sex
- husband force sex
- is my husband entitled to have sex with me
- feel pressured to have sex with husband
- forcing your wife to have sex
- husband guilts me into sex
- is it right to force sex on your wife
- forced sex with husband
- can you be raped by your husband
- husband forcing wife to have sex
- what constitutes rape in marriage
- my husband rapes me
- husband demands sex
- forcing wife into sex
- why does sex with my husband feel like rape
- husband pressure to have sex
- what constitutes marital rape
- don’t deny your husband sex
- can i force my wife to have sex
- husband right to sex
- is it possible to rape your wife
- husband forces wife to have sex
- i feel guilty saying no to sex with husband
- sex with unwilling partner
- is a wife supposed to have sex with her husband
- guilted into sex by husband
- husbands who keep pestering for sex
- sex is a duty to your husband
- should i force my wife to have sex
- ive gone off sex and my husband is pressuring me
- husband forces wife to sex another
- forcing a wife to have sex
- why do i like to rape my wife
- my husband has sex with me when i am sleeping
- wife keeps saying no to sex so i feel like raping her
- should i demand sex from my wife
- my husband feels he has the right to force sex on me
- women should not have the right to refuse sex
- can you force your wife to have sex
- husband thinks sex should be provided on demand regardless of how i feel
- is forcing wife to have sex rape
- does a husband have a right to expect sex from his wife?
- can i refuse to have sex with my husband
- i feel used for sex by my husband
- what do you call sex with sleeping partner?
- husband forced me to sleep with his friend
- my husband throws a fit when we don’t have sex
- husband rapes me
- is it ok to rape your wife in America
- being pressured into having sex with your husband
- sexual duties in marriage
- husband rape sleep
- should a wife always submit to her husband’s sexual move
- husband entered me without consent
- sex with him makes me feel like im being raped
- sex whenever he wants
Now first off I should probably point out that these are by no means the only search terms that people have googled prior to ending up here. But by the same token, by way of illustrating how often these types of searches are going on, here’s a snapshot from my blog’s behind-the-scenes dashboard of terms that have got people here today:
I’m also aware that I’ve got quite a global readership, so there’s a possibility that some of those looking for information on this subject aren’t necessarily living in countries where the laws are as clear cut as ours.
Those things aside though, I’ll also point out that by the time I’d finished copying and pasting every single search engine term relating to rape and marriage that had led people to this site in the last 12 months, I was faced with a list that was over 4 pages long. I’ve actually cut the list down, so now it only contains search terms that have been used multiple times: I’ve taken out all the one-off searches.
All of this leads me to conclude only one thing – there really is a massive problem going on here.
I know from working in a Rape Crisis centre that marital rape, or indeed rape in any close relationship, is far more prevalent than most people realise. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times those of us working in the field say to the media “the vast majority of rapes are carried out by men known to the victim” the image most people have of a rapist is still of some random predatory stranger jumping out of the bushes.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) even states in the introduction to its policy on prosecuting rape cases:
“We are aware that there is a general perception that most rapes are committed by a single man against a woman unknown to him. In fact, the majority of rape victims are women and most know their rapist.”
And yet still there seems to be this mass delusion that because we now have laws against rape in marriage – albeit marital rape has only been criminalised in England since 1991 – the problem has gone away. Well quite clearly it hasn’t.
In fact not only has it not gone away, but people are logging on to the Internet in their droves to try and find information about it. Victims are trying to work out whether what they’re experiencing is lawful and, as you can see from the list, men are busy doing research into whether or not it’s something they can actually get away with.
Meanwhile the CPS, the police, the government and so on wonder why it is that in crime survey after crime survey the numbers of women reporting having been raped or having experienced some form of sexual violence is way way higher than the numbers of women who actually report their perpetrator to the police or engage in any way with the criminal justice system.
It seems it’s not just rape myths and the fear of having to go through a court case that are putting women off reporting, it’s that in far too many cases while women feel that what they’ve experienced was wrong, they don’t realise or aren’t aware that they have any right to do anything about it. People are still living with this idea that once they’re married they lose all rights to bodily autonomy; that the ‘marriage contract’ includes a clause to the effect that whatever the husband wants the husband gets.
I don’t know about you, but I can see a new rape awareness campaign coming on. Not one that tells women not to get into unlicensed taxis or not to drink ‘too much’, but one that spells out exactly what’s what: that rape is rape is rape, no matter what the relationship, no matter what the marital status, and no matter what bullshit nonsense people have heard about ‘wifely duties’ or ‘a ‘husband’s rights’.
The Rape Crisis National Freephone Helpline is open from 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm every day of the year: you can call them on 0808 802 9999
Too Much to say for myself: Blogging about feminism, politics, and anything else that takes my fancy [@CathElliott]