Sexual abuse isn't limited to the overt, physical aggression of domestic rape; it can be more subtle, insidious, and difficult to detect.
Many women don’t realize they’re victims of sexual abuse because they haven’t experienced the extreme level of spousal assault—rape within marriage. Yes, rape can and does happen within committed relationships, and the effects are horrific and tragic. However, there are other forms of sexual abuse that are crucial to understand, and that’s why in this post I’m focusing on the sad, subtle, and insidious manipulation of sexual coercion.
Not giving consent to sexual contact isn’t limited to an overt and obvious no. Many women don’t realize they’ve been victimized because they argue, “well, eventually I did say yes” after coercion, guilt trips, and after their spouse refused to take no for an answer. However, finally agreeing to a sexual encounter simply to get him to stop verbally pressuring and guilting you isn’t true consent, nor is it an act of mutual self-giving or love.
I repeat (because this needs repeating, again and again):
"A conjugal act imposed on one’s spouse without regard to his or her condition, or
personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love, and therefore
offends the moral order in its particular application to the intimate
relationship of husband and wife."
(Pope Paul VI)
I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.