Christian Website Perpetuates a Dangerous Myth About Marital Rape
While perhaps once well regarded, relationship-advice columns and books are now frequently ridiculed for giving dated and often sexist tips.
But one piece of advice given last week by Biblical Gender Roles writer Larry Solomon wasn't just antiquated, but also highly offensive and damaging: Solomon asserted that husbands "should not tolerate" their wives' refusal to have sex, essentially endorsing marital rape by doing so, Raw Story reported Monday.
In a post entitled "How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife," Solomon advised his readers they "should not tolerate refusal," even if their wife "says 'no!' or pushes your hands away," because this is a "disrespectful and unloving response by your wife."
Wives may permissibly take a "sexual rain check" if she recently given birth, had surgery, is experiencing a chronic pain flare-up or there has been a death in the family, Solomon continues, but ultimately, "the only time sex should not occur is when both the husband and wife give mutual consent not to for a short period of time."
If a husband decides to have sex with his wife against her will, he should, Solomon advised, focus his eyes "on her body, not her face" and "concentrate 100% on the physical side." He added that, "Sometimes we have to work around the sinful behavior of our wives and this will be one of those times."
By stating that consent is not required of married women, Solomon effectively argues that marital rape is permissible. It's a stance he's taken before, as Raw Story notes: In May, he explicitly wrote "there is no such thing as marital rape."
While Solomon's advice is disturbing, he's hardly the only one who holds such beliefs, nor is marital rape a rare occurrence. Studies have found between 10% to 14% of women who have ever been married or are cohabiting say they have been raped by their partner at least once, and 31% of women in the United States report having been physically or sexually abused by a spouse or intimate partner.
Needless to say, this is an incredibly damaging experience for survivors. Studies have shown, for example, that those subjected to marital rape suffer detrimental psychological effects and physical damage similar to those who experience assault in other contexts, and may even experience effects that are more severe than rapes committed by strangers.
Though upsetting, the extent to which marital rape still occurs is perhaps unsurprising given that it was considered legally permissible in many states up until only a few decades ago. As recently as the late 1970s, the legal definition of rape in 27 states explicitly exempted marital rape. The violent act wasn't officially illegal in every state until 1993. Incredibly, as of April 2014, eight states still upheld various rape exemptions, the Daily Beast reported in June.
While Solomon's advice may have once been legally acceptable, however, the bottom line is rape illegal — and readers would do well to remind him of that and treat it as such.
h/t Raw Story