If You Wake Up To Your Husband Having Sex With You, Is It Rape?Intimate Partner Sexual Violence

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Content in this article contains information about sexual assault which some readers may find triggering.

Recently quite a few women have posted on our Ask SAHM forum about waking up to their husband’s having sex with them.

One woman wrote:

“For a while now on mornings mainly my partner will have sex with me while I’m asleep, I either wake up and realise and drift back off to sleep or am aware but still asleep. He’s always gentle and kind but it’s a little creepy I say your basically raping me and he tells me I love it cause I get wet… Does anyone else’s husband does this…?”

While another said:

“I was very upset the day before. Last night I couldn’t sleep and at 2 am I woke him and ask if he could just hold me for a while till I fall asleep. I took a Xanax and drifted off. I woke up with my husband having sex with me and I asked him what do you think you doing. I wanted you to hold me and that was it. This morning he didn’t speak to me and I asked him do you know what you did was wrong? And he replied by saying he thought I was awake so I ask were my eyes open and did I say anything to make you think it’s ok. I told him you violated me and I’m sleeping in another room. What should I do? Is it rape? Am I overreacting?”

While these women’s questions were met in the forum with a lot of support, they were also, unfortunately, also met with people who said that they were ‘overreacting’ and that this was an example of ‘ugly feminism’.

The definition of rape is Australia is someone who has sex with someone without their consent.

Further to this, legislation states that the law does not recognise consent if it is brought about by a complainant who is unable to form a decision about consent because they are asleep or intoxicated.

Therefore, in both of these situations, these women were raped by their partners due to the fact that they were asleep and unable to give their consent.

There are situations where women may consent to consensual sexual roleplay that may imitate this kind of scenario but there is no need to discuss this here as it is not in any way the same as what these women experienced, the key difference being consent. The women in the two scenarios above were both betrayed and violated by someone that they loved in a place where they thought they were safe, in Australia this particular form of rape falls under Intimate Partner Sexual Violence.

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence 

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence is any act of sexual violence committed by a current or ex intimate partner. Studies show that one in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner and that women are more likely to be raped by an intimate partner than by a stranger.

The impact that intimate partner sexual assault has on women is serious and long-lasting with women often experiencing depression, distress, and suicidal thoughts. Victims of intimate partner sexual violence are more likely to downplay the seriousness of the crime committed against them and are more likely to be reluctant to accept that they are a rape victim. They are also less likely to report it due to feelings of shame, financial dependence, fear of hurting their children, fear of no one believing them and difficulty labelling the incident as assault.

Is It Rape?

Regardless of if the person is a stranger or your current or ex-partner, if you did not consent to it, it is rape. If you ask to stop halfway through and they keep going… it is rape. If they drug you… that is rape. If they penetrate you an object without your consent… that is rape. If they threaten you into it in any way… that is rape.

Australian Legislation defines rape as:

  • the person has carnal knowledge with or of the other person without the other person’s consent;
  • the person penetrates the vulva, vagina or anus of the other person to any extent with a thing or a part of the person’s body that is not a penis without the other person’s consent; or
  • the person penetrates the mouth of the other person to any extent with the person’s penis without the other person’s consent.
  • consent to the sexual intercourse has been withdrawn, and the offender knows or is recklessly indifferent to, the fact that the other person does not so consent or has so withdrawn consent (as the case may be).
  • while being aware that the person is not consenting or might not be consenting; or while not giving any thought to whether the person is not consenting or might not be consenting; or after sexual penetration, he or she does not withdraw from a person who is not consenting on becoming aware that the person is not consenting or might not be consenting.

Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion is also a common problem in cases of intimate partner sexual assault and includes a partner continuing to pressure their partner into having sex with them, after they have repeatedly said no, making their partner feel that they are responsible for having sex with them because they are in a relationship, lowering their inhibitions with drugs and excessive alcohol and being angry and sad when their partner tells them no.

All About Consent

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia explain that sexual consent must be ongoing and needs to be actively sought for every sexual act, every time it occurs. Furthermore, they state that merely submitting to a sexual act is not the same as consenting. Consent should be enthusiastic, freely and voluntarily given and that consenting to sex one time does not imply ongoing consent into the future.

What Should You Do If You Have Been Raped By Your Partner?

The first thing that you have to understand is that if you have been sexually assaulted by your partner, it is not your fault and there are a lot of people with the knowledge and experience available and ready to help you.

If you are in immediate danger call 000 otherwise if the incident has just happened and it is safe to do so you can go straight to your local police station or your closest hospital.

Alternatively, you can call:

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) offers confidential support and counselling and are available 24/7.

The Blue Knot Foundation offer support over the phone on 1300 657 380 or via email between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week.

You can also call the Sexual Assault Counselling Australia hotline on 1800 211 028 on chat online here.

Is It Rape? | Stay at Home Mum

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