Many women who are victims of marital rape have great difficulty in defining it as such. The traditional idea that it is impossible for a man to rape his wife and that somehow, in taking our marriage vows we have abdicated any say over our own body and sexuality, basically denied ourselves the right to say 'no', is still prevalent amongst wives as much as amongst their husbands. A wife being raped will often question her right to refuse intercourse with her husband, and while she may realize that legally it now constitutes rape. So often cases never make it to court. Rape is common where there is a larger contrast between the physical size and strength of abuser and victim, or in abusive relationships where physical violence is infrequent or non-existent (insofar as one does not categorize sexual assault itself as a violent act). In most cases of 'force-only' rape, coercion plays a large part. The victim may also be so confused and numbed by constant emotional abuse, that she simply does not know how to act or react when sex is forced on her.
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