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Since 2001, April has been the official Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) founded Sexual Assault Awareness Month to highlight the harm sexual crimes cause nationwide.

This month, it’s especially important to think about less well-known types of assault, such as marital rape. Too many people continue to believe that spouses “can’t” rape or assault their partners. However, this exact type of attack is more common than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about marital assault and how you can get out if your spouse is sexually abusing you.

Statistics on Marital Sexual Abuse

How common is sex-based abuse within relationships? It’s actually the most common situation where someone will suffer a rape or other attack. More than half of all female rape victims were raped by an intimate partner. Furthermore, more than a third of women will face sexual coercion or assault from a spouse or equivalent intimate partner in their lifetime.

Men can and do also suffer from sexual assaults. More than a third of male victims are attacked by intimate partners. Overall, 43% of men and 81% of women will suffer some kind of sexual attack or harassment in their lifetimes. However, only 25% of those attacks were reported to police in 2018.

Assault is much more than physically forcing someone to have sex. Many people feel pressured to have unwanted sex because their spouses pressure, beg, or bully them. This kind of coercion is also a form of assault, and it can be equally damaging to victims’ sense of self-worth.

Escaping Sexual Assault Through Divorce

No one should be in a marriage where they are sexually abused. Regardless of gender, all people deserve intimate relationships free from coercion or forced intimacy. If you feel uncomfortable in your marriage or feel like your spouse is forcing you into activities you don’t want to perform, you should get out of your marriage.

For many victims of marital rape, the best solution is a divorce. People who disrespect you enough to rape or otherwise abuse you will rarely change their behavior. They will continue to take advantage of you as long as you remain in a relationship with them.

Through divorce, you can separate your life from that of your abuser. You can make it clear that you no longer want to be in a relationship with them. You may also file for an emergency restraining order to ensure that they have to stay away from you, protecting you from further assaults.

Get Legal Help and Get Out

You always have the right to say no to sex or intimacy, regardless of whether you’re married. If your spouse is forcing or coercing you into intimate acts, you’re being assaulted and need to get a divorce. Start the process by reaching out to the expert divorce lawyers at Viola Law, P.C. They can help you safely end your marriage and start your new life as a single person free from the threat of sex-based abuse.