This blog series is focusing on five different types of abuse within relationship that should never be ignored or tolerated. Unfortunately, domestic violence is something many people have been exposed to in their lives, whether through our own trials, a friend or family member’s experience, or even through media outlets, such as movies or music. Pacific Cascade Family Law has supported a wide range of clients who have summoned the courage to walk away from their abuser with the hopes of creating a brighter and better future. This post we’ll be discussing sexual abuse within an intimate relationship or marriage.
Sexual abuse refers to undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. It can be carried out using force, or even through manipulation, coercion, threats and/or disregarding the desires of another person. Some people think that once you’re in an intimate relationship, whether it be dating or marriage, the issue of sexual abuse can no longer be applied, but this belief could not be further from the truth. Regardless of your relationship status, no partner or spouse has the right to force you to engage in any sexual act without consent.
Sexual abuse from intimate partners is far more prevalent than many people are aware of or like to acknowledge. In fact, many cases of sexual pressuring occur within relationships, and unfortunately are grossly under-reported—people who are in such a situation deserve to be justified and heard. Examples of sexual abuse in a relationship may look like the following:
- Unwelcome fondling
- Forced intercourse of any kind
- Degrading or humiliating a partner sexually and intentionally
- Sexual control, such as using fear to force a partner to comply, controlling what they wear, etc.
- Forcing a partner to watch pornography
- Disregarding feelings or preferences, such as groping in public or around company
- Being forced to engage in sexual acts with other people
Sexual abuse is often used as a means of exerting power and establishing control in a relationship, and it should not be tolerated or normalized. If you’ve experienced similar experiences, it’s important to understand that you and your body are not something to be owned or possessed, and anyone who treats you as such likely doesn’t have your best interest at heart. We understand how complicated sexual abuse within relationships can be, and that it may seem like a blurred line understanding what’s appropriate versus what’s abusive, especially when someone you love is involved. If you’re unsure, ask yourself these questions:
- Are my opinions and preferences heard and honored?
- Does my partner make me feel validated, loved and valued sexually?
- Is my partner open to compromises, or is it a one-sided relationship?
- If I say no to a sexual suggestion, will my partner respect my boundaries?
If you can’t answer yes to these questions, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. Remember that sex should be a consensual act which involves open communication and compromise—no single person should call all the shots or be in control of your body and actions. If your body is involved, your voice certainly matters.
We, as family law attorneys, can not make the decision for you to walk away from an abusive partner and begin the process of paving the path for a healthier future—this is something you must decide for yourself. We can, however, offer legal and emotional support once that decision has been made, while ensuring that your rights and your safety are advocated and fought for to the highest degree. Our attorneys are not only knowledgeable with the intricacies of family law, but they are compassionate people who love to see their clients open new doors in life to discover their better and brighter tomorrow. Call us today at (503) 227-0200 to schedule a consultation.