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Marital rape and sex addiction

Earlier this week, the New Paper reported on yet another woman’s account of marital rape:

“My feelings for him died and I didn’t want to have sex with him any more. But he never took no for an answer,” she said.

When she left the marital home, he called her repeatedly to cajole her to return home.

“He said he wanted me to come home to look after the children.

I told him that I would come home only if we had no more relations as husband and wife. He said okay,” she said.

But once she was home, he allegedly went back on his word and forced himself on her again and again. [...]

Lili said she told her husband repeatedly that she wanted a divorce.

But he never agreed to it and continued to force himself on her, she alleged. [...]

“I don’t want to go back to that way of life again, with him forcing himself on me whenever he felt like it. I’m desperate and depressed.”

The article, headlined “Evil hubby or sex addict?”, contains speculation as to whether the husband in question has an addiction to sex.

Committing rape is not in itself necssarily a sign of sex addiction, and someone need not be a sex addict in order to commit rape. The only thing required to become a rapist is the choice to commit rape: to disrespect the wishes of someone else regarding very sensitive areas of their body, and to force yourself upon them without their consent.

In our view, all diagnosed sex addicts – those who commit sexual violence, as well as those who do not – may require medical and other assistance to deal with their condition. At the same time, all rapists – those who are sex addicts, as well as those who are not – should be held accountable for the acts of violence they perpetrate by sexually penetrating unwilling victims.

It is unhelpful to divide those who commit rape into two supposedly exclusive groups of the “evil” and “sex addicts”. Some may be sex addicts, and those need help. But all commit an act of violence, and that act demands strong societal condemnation.

As we have argued before, the criminal law is not the only appropriate response to cases of marital rape, but it needs to be there as one step among many.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 7:08 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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