Just What is Domestic Violence?

I have begun again to volunteer at a Domestic Violence shelter here in North Carolina. It feels good to be back once again to the cause the helped to form me as a feminist.


Domestic Violence is not only physical, emotional, sexual and psychological violence. Psychological violence is intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation and controlling the actions or behaviors of the victim through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of the individual.


A battering incident is rarely an isolated event. Battering tends to increase and gradually become more severe as time goes on.


The newest stats show us that 85% of women experience at least one incident of battering in her lifetime. One in three women are abused emotionally and physically.


Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used to establish power and control over another intimate partner that often leads to the threat or use of violence. Many victims suffer multiple forms of abuse. Approximately 40% of women report that the first assault by their partner occured during pregnancy.


Physical abuse includes but is not limited to hitting, spitting, biting, pinching, slapping, twisting an arm, punching, or tripping. After the first assault, the abuse may be frequent or infrequent, prolonged or brief, severe or mild. The purpose is to gain power and control over the intimate partner.


Victims of emotional abuse often say that it takes longer to recover from emotional abuse than most physical abuse. It can take a lifetime to heal from emotional assaults. Anyone can be abused, male or female, straight or homosexual. And there is no excuse or reason that is ever acceptable for the Domestic Violence. There is no legitimate or viable reason to hit an intimate partner.


There are laws to protect victims in every state in the continental United States. There are also laws in Hawaii, Alaska and all 0f the US possessions. There is relief for every victim of battering.


There are many reasons for Domestic Violence and each are true to a certain degree. Each carries a certain amount of truth. Primarily, the theories distract police and the court system from the real truth. It works! Battering allows the perpetrator to get what they want. It is really that simple.


More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) of women and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) of men in the United States experience Domestic Violence during their lifetimes. They have experienced rape, physical violence, and /or stalking by an intimate partner. This is from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 report.


It is a crime to commit Domestic Violence and marital rape is a crime in all states and all American possessions. We have to stop the violence.


Peace on Earth begins at home. No More Violence! 






     Domestic Violence


This is what an abused child looks like.

This is what an abused child looks like.


The majority of victims are strangled at least once. often before a homicide.

The majority of victims are strangled at least once. often before a homicide.

Just What is Marital Rape

What is Intimate Partner Rape?

In the past, sexual assault was thought to be assault by a stranger upon an unsuspecting victim. As we’ve learned more about sexual assault and rape, it’s become clear that much sexual assault occurs between two people who do, in fact, know one another.

Intimate Partner Rape (also called Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV) or Marital Rape) is a rape or sexual assault that occurs between two people who currently have – or have had – a consensual sexual relationship. Intimate Partner Rape may occur in relationships that have an existing pattern of domestic violence.

Intimate Partner Rape can occur in ANY type of partnership – dating relationships, marriages, and gay or lesbian relationships.

Most states now recognize that rape within a marriage or long-term intimate relationship is illegal and can be prosecuted.

Rape Versus Sexual Assault:

While state laws may vary, the generally accepted definitions of rape and sexual assault are as follows:

Rape – Forcible penetration of the vagina or anus with finger, penis, or object. Rape is also forced oral contact upon genitals.

Sexual Assault – Any unwanted sexual touching, such as forced kissing, handling of breasts or vagina, forcing one partner to fondle the other’s genitals, or forcing one to watch pornography.

Rape and sexual assault may be used interchangeably.

Forms of Intimate Partner Rape and Sexual Assault:

It is important to realize that one does not have to have physically fought off or said “no” for an act to be regarded as sexual assault. Tears or other expressions of discomfort are reasonable indicators that sexual activity is not desired.

Sexually violent partners often do not seek consent, or if one does say no, it does not stop the sexual activity. Emotional abuse and manipulation are often used in conjunction with sexual assault and rape.

Submission is never the same as consent. The following methods may be used to manipulate or abuse a partner:

Threats toward the partner, their property, or someone else

Using guilt to engage in sexual relations

Sexual activity after continuous pressure to engage in sex before you’re ready

Pressure to perform acts which make a person uncomfortable

Physical violence

Continued sexual activity after it’s indicated that sexual activity is no longer welcome (even if consent was given initially)

Overpowering with physical force

Deprivation of liberty until demands of a sexual activity are met

Sexual intercourse while asleep or incapacitated

Denying reproductive choice to partner

Filming or photographing sexual acts without consent

Using sexually degrading names

Making degrading comments about sexual performance (“you’re shitty in bed”) or body (“you’re a fatass“) alone or in front of others

Controlling choice of clothes

Implying that a past rape was not rape or that “you liked it”
What are Some Common Reactions to Intimate Partner Rape?

Any rape or sexual assault may lead to a variety of reactions – some immediate, others longer-term. These reactions depend upon many things, including past experiences, type of force used, relationship of offender to the victim, and age of the victim. Here are some common ways that victims handle intimate partner rape:

Rationalization – “It was just that once.” “It’s my fault.” “I led him on.”

Minimizing – “Hey, at least he didn’t beat me.” “It’s not so bad.”

Dissociation – “I don’t have any feelings about this.” “I can’t think about it.” “I won’t think about it.”

Denial – “That didn’t happen.” “Rape happens with strangers, not partners.” “He would never hurt me.”

Focus upon the good – “Think of all the GOOD things we have.” “She/he really IS a good person,” which means the victim is the bad one.

Self-soothing behaviors – watching television, showers, smoking, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Submitting to additional sexual assaults to avoid a repeat of the rape.

Strong sense of betrayal and shock that someone they loved could sexually assault them.

Humiliation and a feeling of being “dirty.”

Anger and Guilt – if they’d been better partners, the rape wouldn’t have occurred.

Inability to trust another intimate partner or feel comfortable being intimate again.

Post-traumatic stress disorder
Because victims of intimate partner rape usually have homes and children with the attacker, they are often unlikely to report rape and other forms of abuse. This means a victim of Intimate Partner Rape has likely been raped repeatedly.

Those who have experienced Intimate Partner Rape may experience more shame and self-loathing for being in – or remaining in – an abusive relationship.

As the rapist is someone the victim had chosen to be intimate with, the victim may begin to question who he or she may trust.

Types of Partner Rape:

There’s been a common belief that rape is about sex. It’s not. Rape, especially partner rape, is about power, violence, and control.

Anger Rape – this type of rape is particularly violent and performed in retaliation, as punishment if a man believes his partner deserves it. This especially occurs in response to her leaving, flirting with someone else, or showing him up.

Sadistic Rape – Anger rape is performed to punish a woman, but sadistic rape is performed when the attacker enjoys causing pain or humiliating his partner. This may involve cutting, biting, burning, or urinating on his victim to humiliate her.

Power Rape – this type of rape is a clear demonstration of “who the boss” is. Abusive partners often want sex after beating their partners, and this type of rape forces a woman to forget the fight and make up. This rape may not be violent, but it may instead involve force. This type of rape occurs when a woman is bullied into sex or intimidated into giving in to keep the peace.

Obsessive Rape – any type of rape by a partner who insists upon performing repeated bizarre or fetish-like sex. This may involve repeated oral or anal rape.
Why do People Stay After They’ve Been Raped by Their Partner?

There are many reasons that people stay with an abusive partner. What you decide to do is ultimately up to you, and you don’t owe it to anybody to explain your motivations. If you stay, you should have the same amount of love and support as ANY other sexual assault victim.

Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Widespread in the US

New survey finds these types of violence affect the health of millions of adults

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to findings released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story – more than 1 million women reported being raped in a year and over 6 million women and men were victims of stalking in a year, the report says.

“This landmark report paints a clear picture of the devastating impact these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The information collected in this ongoing survey will serve as a vital tool in the Administration′s efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse. And the report underscores the importance of our Administration′s workExternal Web Site Icon to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.”

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, or NISVS, is one of CDC′s latest public health surveillance systems and is designed to better describe and monitor the magnitude of sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence victimization in the United States. It is the first survey of its kind to provide simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of violence for all states. Launched in 2010, NISVS also provides data on several types of violence that have not previously been measured in a national population-based survey.

Key findings in the NISVS 2010 Summary Report include:

For women:

  • High rates of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence were reported by women.
    • Nearly 1 in 5 women has been raped at some time in her life.
    • One in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
    • One in 6 women has experienced stalking victimization during her lifetime in which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. Much of stalking victimization was facilitated by technology, such as unwanted phone calls and text messages.
  • Almost 70 percent of female victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
  • Approximately 80 percent of female victims of rape were first raped before age 25.
  • Female victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than female non–victims.
  • Across all forms of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence), the vast majority of victims knew their perpetrator (often an intimate partner or acquaintance and seldom a stranger).

For men:

  • About 1 in 7 men has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
  • One in 19 men has experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • Almost 53 percent of male victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before age of 25
  • More than one-quarter of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
  • Male victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than male non-victims.

“This report highlights the heavy toll that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence places on adults in this country. These forms of violence take the largest toll on women, who are more likely to report immediate impacts and long-term health problems caused by their victimization,” said Linda C. Degutis, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., director of CDC′s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Much victimization begins early in life, but the consequences can last a lifetime.”

The report findings also underscore violence as a major public health burden and demonstrate how violence can have impacts that last a lifetime. For instance, the findings indicate female victims of violence had a significantly higher prevalence of long-term health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, frequent headaches, chronic pain, and difficulty sleeping.

Every woman has the possibility of being beaten or raped by a partner.

Every woman has the possibility of being beaten or raped by a partner.

Marital rape

Marital rape

And nearly twice as many women who were victims of violence reported having asthma, compared to women who did not report violence victimization.

“The health problems caused by violence remind us of the importance of prevention,” said Howard Spivak, M.D., director of the Division of Violence Prevention in CDC′s Injury Center. “In addition to intervening and providing services, prevention efforts need to start earlier in life, with the ultimate goal of preventing all of these types of violence before they start.”

NISVS provides data that can help inform policies and programs aimed at preventing violence as well as addressing the specific information needs of state and national governmental and nongovernmental organizations, while providing an initial benchmark for tracking the effectiveness of prevention efforts.

For more information about NISVS, including the executive summary and study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs.

CDC′s Injury Center works to prevent injuries and violence and their adverse health consequences.

  • For more information about sexual violence, please visit:


If you or someone you know is the victim of:

Additional resources:

Spousal Rape is Rape

Blaming the victim

Blaming the victim

It is a widely held myth that a husband can not rape his wife. A fairy tale to cover up the tremendous damage that is used by men to keep their wife under their thumb.  Many people believe that sexual intercourse without consent, in this context doesn’t constitute rape. The other aspect of the myth is that it is not as serious as stranger rape. This simply is not true. Men often declare that when they live with a woman or are married, anything sexual that they do is not rape. They could run, but not hide.

In the late 70’s, we began to discuss marital rape and all of the negative effects on a woman. We challenged the notion that a wife or intimate partner can indeed say no. The response of abusing men often was to beat the wife up and then rape, sodomize her or force her to have oral sex or sex with other men while he watched. The damage done when a woman is raped by her partner can be extremely severe. The damage can be emotional and physical.  There are husbands who will use objects to perform the rape. This can cause quite a lot of damage to internal organs and her uterus.

The emotional damage comes from the fact that this man is someone she loves and trusts and now he has used her as if she were an inanimate object. What she once gave freely, now she has taken from her in violence and pain. This damages her ability to connect with her husband and often with people in general. A woman is humiliated and ashamed. She has a hard time dealing with the fact that the man she loved has turned into a monster. Often marital rape is repeated until enough damage is done to require a trip to the Emergency Room. And a woman is expected to just do her duty and perform the sex acts he wants.

This is what many men in many cultures and religions and countries believe. The phrase that they hide behind is “She asked for it.” It is difficult for a woman to admit even to herself that her husband or intimate partner has indeed raped her. She has to get to a point where she can admit it to herself to be able to ask for protection and assistance. Some women do leave the rapist husband. They do find that people will still blame her for the way she dresses or where she goes. They want to give the man a pass. 

We worked very hard to educate the police, the justice system and women themselves to understand that only they can decide how their bodies are used. Beatings often go along with rape. It actually often happens after a severe beating. Some men are turned on by the power and control they have used on the women.

The cycle of violence

The cycle of violence

A volunteer community study of 159 women was done. Seventy seven per cent of these women were African-American. All the women were interviewed about abuse in their homes and forced sex. Almost forty five percent of the women had experienced marital rape and physical abuse. The women had similar lifestyles except for ethnicity. There were no other demographics that separated the women. However, women who have survived marital rape experienced many more health issues, many more gynecological symptoms and an increase in their risk factors for homicide.

Sexually assaulted women exhibited many more negative mental health symptoms. The number of assaults can even effect body image and depression. So let me make this perfectly clear. Having an intimate relationship with a woman does not give you the right to assault and /or rape her. You do not own your wife. She is not property that you can control and discipline. You will go to jail. You will pay for abusing and not respecting your wife.

Quote from Maya Angelou

Quote from Maya Angelou. Ladies, you are not alone. There are many of us working to save you.

Marital Rape

FBI stats are that a woman is beaten every nine seconds. This is sickening and demonstrates the continuing war against women

FBI stats are that a woman is beaten every nine seconds. This is sickening and demonstrates the continuing war against women

It used to be make love not war; now it is make love not rape

It used to be make love not war; now it is make love not rape

A wedding links two people in love and in life with trust. Many times, husbands think it means that they own their wife. She is to obey and put out. One aspect that is a big part of life in a violent home is marital rape. Marital rape is a serious form of violence that can be life-shattering for the victims. Marital rape has been illegal since 1993 in every state and DC but it is not always enforced. This is always a problem with laws that protect women. They have to be enforced to be of any good in saving women’s lives. It is part of the War on Women. 

Why is there a war on women? Because we are not considered legally equal. Thanks to the suffragettes we have the vote. Up until then, women were not allowed to vote.  It took a real fight to obtain the right to vote. Women belonged in the home and didn’t know or weren’t intelligent enough to cast a knowledgeable vote.

Stop the Violence

Stop the Violence

The violence by intimate partners is physical, mental and emotional.

The violence by intimate partners is physical, mental and emotional.

Marital rape occurs when your spouse forces you to take part in any sex act without your consent. It is an abuse of power. One spouse over another. One spouse abuses power to attempt to establish dominance and control over the other. Either spouse can be the rapist. This is a form of intimate partner violence. Research shows that it can be as equally , if not more damaging to the victim as physical violence. Spousal rape can be as traumatizing to the victim as stranger rape. Part of this is that after you perform whatever sexual acts he wants, you have to lie down beside him and sleep with him and then get up with a smiling face and make his breakfast. This is really devastating to women in abusive relationships.

Marital and Date rape

Marital and Date rape

A broad definition of marital rape (legally), includes any unwanted intercourse or penetration, vaginal, anal and oral, obtained by force, threat of force, or when the wife is unable to consent. If you have experienced rape by your spouse, you have the right to make a police report. This is important if you are planning to escape. Police reports may be entered into evidence to help you with a restraining order, or a protection from abuse order. You aren’t alone. Your local domestic violence shelter can assist you through this process. Know you are not alone and he does not own you. For more information you can call the National Sexual  Hotline at 800-656+HOPE for help at any hour of the day. You can also visit the website, the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.

Fixing the marital rape loophole

Fixing the marital rape loopholes

Use of force isn’t a prerequisite of being convicted of rape in the third degree, which means that the victim didn’t consent…to sexual intercourse with the perpetrator and such lack of consent was clearly expressed by the victims.  Many states have eliminated the loophole of being married as a defense against rape charges. It was the late 1970’s before anyone was convicted of raping his spouse in the United States. Now rape includes stranger rape and marital rape. The perpetrator will go to jail. Forced sex is not a “wifely duty”.

Marital rape statistics

Marital rape statistics

All of this twisted thinking comes from common law situations. And to add to the problem, the old common law said a husband could discipline his wife with anything as long as it wasn’t thicker than his thumb. Look at your husband’s thumb and think about what he could be allowed to use to beat you. This was what courts based their decisions on for hundreds of years. If you are abused, living in a violent home or are being raped by your husband, you do not need to live in fear. Get out. Do it for yourself and for your children. I have been writing on Domestic Violence for all of October. Please feel free to read my other blogs if you are living in fear or if you know someone who is.  I will be continuing the subject for the rest of the month. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What do we want? We want the violence to stop

What do we want? We want the violence to stop