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  • The Abolition of Marital Rape Exemption

    Over the past thirty years women have made tremendous strides in achieving equal rights. Title IX and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 are two important examples of the effects of political action. Choosing legislation that has helped women's education and employment was certainly an important consideration. It is noteworthy to point out the span of time that passed between these two weighty pieces of legislation. Even more recently, the law has stepped into the realm of women's health on one of the most controversial issues confronting society today: domestic violence shatters the lives of women and their families across the country virtually every minute of every day. The law has been reluctant to pose a strong defense for the personal rights of women, but it has moved forward in its prosecution of husbands in marital rape cases. Victims' Voices: Silent No More
    Victim Awareness
    It is difficult to understand how a government could pass family legislation for the employed, but fails to enforce strict domestic violence laws. FMLA is certainly a positive achievement for those eligible, but of more concern to many women, who suffer at hands of a loved one or spouse, is a law that defends their personal rights. Victims of domestic abuse and physical violence are susceptible to sexual assault as well. It is a common argument that wives are supposed to submit to their husband's demands for sex and it is an equally shocking suggestion that less than twenty years ago rape laws existed that actually exempted husbands from raping their wives. While marital rape laws vary in every state, there is at least one section of every state's sexual offense codes where it is a crime for a man to rape his wife.

    Copyright Molly Egan, Jason Wood; Lehigh University 1999