Spousal sexual assault is a crime

To the Editor:

In the past, sexual assault was defined as forced sexual intercourse committed by a man against a woman other than his wife. In 1981, Minnesota statutes were changed to acknowledge the existence of sexual assault in marriages. A survey conducted by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in 2002 reported that 34 percent of women were victims of sexual coercion by a husband or intimate partner. This survey suggests there is still a belief that a husband has a right to sex and to use his wife’s body for this purpose. Many women may tolerate spousal sexual assault because of the emphasis on a wife’s responsibility to please her husband.

This does not have to be tolerated. Just because you are in an intimate relationship with someone does not mean that they have a right to your body. No matter what, you have the right to say no and to make decisions about your own body. You are not the property of your spouse. Spousal sexual assault does happen and it is a crime. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Wear a teal ribbon to show your support.—Karla Montag, Little Falls

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