LEGAL ADVENTURES OF THE CLARKE FAMILY
Chapter 4 - CAN A SPOUSE BE GUILTY OF RAPE?
Jill has just arrived home late from a long day at work and is stretching out across the sofa when her phone begins to ring. She groans and fishes around her handbag to fetch it out. It’s a call from a close colleague at work so she quickly answers it, saying “Hi Diana what’s up?”.
Sounding upset, Diana says “I’m sorry for calling so late, do you have time to talk?”
Jill is concerned at Diana’s upset state as she is usually always composed and calm, and says “It’s completely fine, don’t worry about it. What’s wrong?”
With this, Diana begins crying in earnest and Jill feels her concern growing. She asks Diana “are you at home?” to which Diana says “I’m outside in my garden, I don’t want to go inside”. Jill tells her she’ll come over to pick her up, grabs her keys and drives over.
When she gets to Diana’s place, she sees Diana sitting on the pavement with her head hidden on her knees. She quickly jumps out and rushes over to Diana, putting her arm around her. Diana flinches and begins to pull away when she realises its Jill and once again begins crying in earnest, and sobs out “I’m so glad you’re here”.
Jill carefully pulls her up and seats her in her car, thinking it better to talk somewhere more secluded. When they reach a quiet street, she pulls to a stop by the side of the road, and asks her “What happened?”.
Diana stays quiet for a long moment, and then says quietly “My husband raped me…He just pinned me down and wouldn’t listen to me saying no. I feel so violated. I never thought he’d do something like this to me. He's someone who supposedly loves me!”
Jill sits there speechless for a moment, shocked that such a thing could happen. She reaches out to hold Diana’s hand and tells her “I think we should get you to police”. Diana recoils, saying “No, I don’t want any trouble!”
Jill looks at her and says “How about a lawyer then so we can see how serious the situation is first?” With this, Diana gives a small nod.
Being married does not mean that your partner cannot be found guilty of rape.
A perpetrator of sexual assault under the law is someone who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of that person and knows that person does not consent to the sexual intercourse.
A person “consents” to sexual intercourse if the person freely and voluntarily agrees to have sex.
Q and A
Q: I changed my mind just as my husband and I were about to engage in sex but he forced me to do it anyway. Is this considered rape?
A: Yes, this is still capable of being considered sexual assault.
Q: I didn’t actually physically resist my husband. Does that mean I gave consent?
A: No, just because you did not physically resist to the sexual intercourse does not mean you were consenting by that fact alone.
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