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Rape by Partners is Real Rape
"Myths keep us from doing the work we need to do based on Truth"  
~ Cassandra Thomas ~
I'll introduce myself as Rachel because that is my pen-name and makes sense.
I am a survivor of domestic violence, which included repeated sexual assault and rape. I am currently engaged in the process of writing a book on sexual violence in relationships. The purpose of this site is threefold; I created it first and chiefly as a support resource for girls and women raped by boyfriends or husbands during or after the relatiionships. Second, there are so many myths and injustices around rape by partners that it necessitates an activist flavour in some of what I've presented. Thirdly, it's to give my book a bit of a plug.
People who might find this site helpful are:
  • Survivors of rape in marriage
  • Teen survivors of rape by boyfriends
  • Women raped by live-in partners or non-live in partners
  • Women raped by men with whom they had been having affairs.
  • Women raped by men who were ex any of the above
  • Survivors who are seeking to understand their experiences many years later
  • A lovely friend of mine, raped by so-called 'friends' suggested that some of the material here validated feelings of her own. However, and whomever this site assists is great!
  • Any person who cares about a survivor, or is interested in knowing more about partner-rape and it's effects

Information about relationship rape, beyond a few excellent studies or pieces in books, is not common, yet the act of rape in relationships is.

Rape by somebody you have been sexually intimate with is often not seen as 'real' rape. Society takes the dangerously limited view that 'real' rape happens in alleyways or parks, the rapist is a lunatic stranger, and the victim must be a virgin of impeccable reputation. Such attitudes are based on the premise that having given initial consent, a woman is not free to withdraw it. 
This makes wives and girlfriends 'unrapeable', and also permits sexual violence against them to continue.It is true that there are laws in most western countries which make rape in relationships a crime, but because of underlying attitudes about what is real rape, they are often ineffective.
Sometimes women raped by partners are themselves unable to name their experiences at the hands of partners as rape. When they can call it rape, they are often aware that there will be little validation for them, and this can make finding healing resources difficult. People can also tend to make negative and wrong inferences about a woman's intelligence or character if she stayed in the relationships - such people rarely understand the dynamics of violent relationships.
But partner rape is real. It may happen once or many times. It may involve coercive pressure or battery and torture. Women are raped by men they love.
If you think you are alone, or you are somebody who believes sexual assault by partners is rare, perhaps the following statistics will be helpful.
  • In 1975, the results of an American study on many rape situations were published. Diana Russell was so appalled by her findings on rape in marriage that she decided to conduct a research project on this area alone. From the 930 interviews conducted with women from a cross section of race and class, Russell concluded that rape in marriage was the most common yet most neglected area of sexual violence (Russell, Diana E.H. 'Rape in Marriage' MacMillan Publishing Company, USA 1990)
  •  In 1994, Patricia Easteal, then Senior Criminologist at the Australian Institute of Criminology, published the results of survey on sexual assault in many settings. The respondents were survivors of numerous forms of sexual assault. Of these, 10.4% had been raped by husbands or de-factos, with a further 2.3 per cent raped by estranged husbands/defactos. 5.5 percent were raped by non-cohabiting boyfriends. (Easteal, P. 'Voices of the Survivors', Spinifex Press, North Melbourne 1994).
  • David Finkelhor & Kersti Yllo’s famous 1985 study estimated that 10 to 14 per cent of all married women have been or will be raped by their spouses .(Finkelhor, D. and Yllo, K. 'License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives', The Free Press, New York 1985)
  • In the UK, statistics disseminated by the Rape Crisis Federation yield the alarming information that the most common rapists are current and ex-husbands or partners (www.rapecrisis.co.uk/statistics.htm).
  • Figures on teenage girls in danger from boyfriends caused shock in research communities in the 1980's. Teen Dating violence, which often involves rape and sexual assault, continues to be on the rise. Approximately one in ten high school students experiences dating violence - that figure is 22% in college students (Wilson, K.J., When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse, Hunter House Inc. Publishers, California, 1997) 
  • For more figures on teen dating violence, go here
  • Other figures estimate that one in seven women is raped by a sexual intimate. For a quick but really good overview view of partner rape, see STAR Library - Marital Rape


Where partner rape is acknowledged as having happened, it is often not seen as a 'real' trauma. Yet studies indicate that women can be severely traumatized for a long time after. Their pain, and what they struggle with, often carries longer and graver implications than for women raped by strangers (Finkelhor, D.and Yllo, K., License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives, The Free Press, New York (1985); Russell, Diana E.H., Rape in Marriage, Indiana University Press, USA (1990). If you are a survivor of rape/sexual assault by an ex/partner, you probably don't need me to tell you this.

Women raped by partners often face the prosepct of ongoing contact with their rapists via school, shared children or other. Sometimes, they deeply and genuinely love the perpetrator, and struggle to come to terms with the magnitude of the betrayal. They balance this with fear of recurrence.


If you were raped by a current or past partner, you are not alone, sister. What happened to you is important and your pain is real. Whether you are still in the relationship or are some years out of it, you may find something informative and validating on this site. If you enter, you'll find information on counselling, healing, and a range of other things which could be helpful.

Please be aware that some of the site content could be very triggering if you are a survivor. Please don't be afraid to engage support. If you need help right now, please see the Emergency Contacts  listed on this site.

If any sister would like her story of sexual assault by a partner included on this site, please email it to me - I've made a page here. You're also most welcome to send me poetry or artworks depicting your journey if you like. Hints on safety, and what has helped you heal would be wonderful too!
Feel free to email me with comments and suggestions about this site and don't forget to sign my Guestbook
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Aphrodite with her Lover, Ares
The Naming of This Site
Aphrodite is the Greek Goddess of love and sexuality. 
The name of this site comes from my belief that all women have a goddess of sexuality and love within them. Being raped by somebody we love can be very damaging to the ability to express our love and sexuality in subsequent relationships. But that damage need not be permanent
Aphrodite is alive in all of us, and she can heal.

Click the banner below to go to a thriving and supportive community for survivors of sexual assault. This isn't a subsitute for professional care, but is a terrific way of getting you some extra support from other survivors. The board contains information about chat and mailing lists. *You'll have to register before you can view or post in private forums*



In Remembrance
This little picture is to commemorate the tragic killings of Mr. Peter Poulson and his grandchildren, Marilyn and Sebastian. It is a gesture I make in recognition of the pain of Ingrid Poulson, daughter and mother of the above, and of my hope for her healing. To read about this tragedy click the picture and spare a thought. If you'd like to know what is being done about domestic murder, or how you could help, see please click the Silent Witness Logo below.
Picture chosen from Misty's Graphics



� Rachel Pike 2002
All rights reserved unless otherwise stated