Marital rape, or spousal rape, refers to any form of unwanted or non-consensual sexual intercourse or penetration forced by an individual upon his/her spouse or ex-spouse (penetration, which is completed through the use of force, threat of force or i the spouse lacks the capability to consent, may be vaginal, anal, or oral). In various studies on marital rape cases, offender and victim included individuals who were legally married to each other, are cohabiting with one another, divorced or separated. Regardless of the type of relationship, marital rape, which is a serious and current form of violence against women, is a very serious crime
According to the website of the Nashville spousal rape attorneys at Horst Law, it is explained that married individuals may be charged with spousal rape if they engage in sexual penetration that is unlawful because it is alleged that the defendant was armed with a weapon, caused serious bodily harm, or the couple has been separated and at least one partner has filed for either divorce or separate maintenance. A charge of spousal rape can be elevated to aggravated sexual assault if the defendant was particularly vile, cruel, or otherwise inhumane and either caused serious bodily harm or was armed with a weapon.
Though now considered a crime in all U.S. states, it was only in 1979 when Americans accepted the fact that a husband can actually commit the act of rape where the victim is his wife. Prior to said year, and for centuries, it was believed that no man could ever be held guilty of raping his wife. This belief takes its root from the English common law, from which many traditional laws in the U.S. are based. One stipulation of the common law said that it was legally impossible for a man to be pronounced guilty of raping his wife. This is due to a woman’s implied permanent consent to her husband having rights over her once she enters into a marital union; since this consent is considered to be permanent, it can never be retracted.
Marital rape is usually prosecuted as a Class C felony, while its aggravated form is considered as a Class B felony. Most states penalize marital rape with fines that range from several thousand of dollars to over $50,000, prison terms that may last for several years or for life without parole.